Cyber-attacks are reaching new unprecedented levels of impact and scale. Ransomware attacks, spearfishing and the number of detected zero days are all sharply on the rise, alongside frequent mega-hacks, exposing record breaking quantities of private data.
This will be of no surprise to IT security professionals, but what remains unknown is how to counter these unwavering trends. Certainly there are ever more sophisticated cybersecurity solutions available, but the range of threats and incidents continues to climb. This begs the question, is there something missing from most organisation's approach to cybersecurity?
To answer this question, I met with Freddy Tan, Director of Business Development from NCS' Enterprise Security Division, to better understand why these trends exist and how organisations in Singapore can change their approach to enhance their cybersecurity.
Tan explains that whilst incidents like the Yahoo hack, the Ukraine power outage and the attack by Anonymous against the Singapore Government are all significant individual attacks, there is a lot going on that organisations are not aware of. Whilst the number of cybersecurity attacks are widely suspected to be vastly under-reported, an even more telling statistic is that, according to research by NCS, 51 percent of breaches are not actually detected by the victims themselves. "Attacks are usually reported by a 3rd party, like law enforcement or a merchant bank," says Tan. "On average it takes more than 100 days for such breaches to be discovered." This means that whilst some attacks are detected sooner, others can remain undetected for months and some even years. During this time, hackers can raise their privileges, plan their attacks, cover their tracks and create backdoors, all of which makes it harder to detect their activity and increases the potential impact of their attack.
As a result, a new mind-set is needed says Tan: "It's no longer a matter of if you will be breached, it's a matter of when you will be breached. Then the question I have is that when you are breached, how soon can you discover that you have been breached?" This key question ought to be the first step towards identifying a range of security shortcomings related to detection time, resilience and response, however according to Tan, many organisations have not yet adopted this mind-set. This has negative knock-on effects to the importance cybersecurity is given within an organisation, the types of cybersecurity precautions which are implemented and overall spending.
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