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Cyber attacks, and their sophistication levels, are on the rise.

Cyber attacks, and their sophistication levels, are on the rise.

Discover the true extent of your cyber security exposure, and develop the right strategy for protecting your data and your reputation.

Australia saw a staggering 997 data breaches reported in 2019, with a 17% increase in the second half of the year. Globally, almost 30% of organisations are likely to suffer at least one breach over the next 24 months [1].

But to focus purely on the increased number of breaches is to misunderstand the true nature of the problem. The real issue is the rising sophistication and efficacy of the attacks themselves.

How are data breaches occurring?

Almost one-third of the breaches in the second half of 2019 were linked to compromised login credentials, with phishing attacks blamed for more than 15% of these breaches. Malicious or criminal attacks were noted in 64% of breaches, while human error was blamed in 32% of all incidents [1].

This means that workable security policies and protocols, which adhere to your industry’s regulatory and compliance guidelines, need to be used to guide everyday behaviour. This also requires the active participation and education of your employees.

Where are cyber security threats coming from?

Cyber security threats now have many different entry points – via compromised cloud applications, social media applications, outdated devices, file sharing applications, SMS, personal email, our mobile and wearable devices, and our wireless activities generally. The scope for potential attack has become ubiquitous.

The risk doesn’t stop there.

A recent blog from the East Coast Polytechnic Institute explains: “The cyber attackers are now employing smarter ways like MIM (Man in the Middle) attacks to eavesdrop on data, Spying Software and Google Glass to keep track of fingerprint movements on touch screens, memory-scraping malware on POS systems along with bespoke attacks to steal specific data.”

Essentially, a business-led approach is required, which applies the right security policy and protocol to each layer of software and hardware used throughout your business.

Organisations must stay ahead or risk falling victim.

As early as 2018, Business Insider [2] was reporting that while artificial intelligence (AI) was powering the most innovative user experience systems, including digital assistants like Siri and Alexa, it was also transforming the capabilities of attackers to mimic human behaviour and communicate in a believable way.

Malicious software that can replicate a user’s writing style in a phishing attack is very difficult to identify and defend against. Similarly, if an attacker uses AI to create self-healing code, the software could detect defences against it and actively respond to them, neutralising their efficacy.

The smarter the malicious software becomes, the more difficult it is to shut down.

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is becoming critically important because it ensures a speedy and targeted response to not only cyber attacks once they’ve occurred, but also preventative actions on the alert of suspicious activities being detected.

Even with the alarming regularity and sophistication of cyber attacks, many mid-size businesses still don’t have an adequate or active cyber security strategy in place. Many have no strategy at all.

Having the appropriate level of Cyber Security Insurance is important, but what’s truly essential is having an end-to-end strategy that manages, monitors and protects the flow of data.

As a first step, we strongly recommend engaging with a security specialist to run a security review of your business so you can understand your risk exposure.

Assess your risk profile and take charge.

Download the 6-Point Security Checklist and review the six core aspects of cyber security that can significantly reduce your exposure to risk.

What’s covered:

Security Awareness Training
Data Classification
Multi-Factor Authentication
Monitoring
Antivirus
Patching

[1] CSO Australia: More breaches than ever occurring at Australian companies. March 2020

[2] Business Insider Australia: Stephen Hawking warned that machines are getting smarter than ever and dismissing it could be our worst mistake. October 2018


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