Cyber security is not a growing concern, but a constant one if you care about preserving your business in cyberspace. Cyber attacks cannot be considered isolated events anymore – they are now long-term campaigns by attackers who are honing their skills and using a sophisticated combination of social engineering and technical skills to infiltrate your IT network. Not only that, cyber thievery has been made into an entire industry with its own economy which is why cyber security cannot be planned and executed in isolation from other processes in the company. To protect your business, you need to have a detailed and elaborate cyber security strategy – one that is covering all the bases: all the vulnerabilities, all the types of attacks and all the relevant defence measures. You can read more about who needs a cyber security strategy and why in one of our previous blog posts, but for now let’s see what is driving the cyber security economy and making doing business difficult for you.
1) Cyber attackers’ end goal is always money
During the cyber security’s humble beginnings, the goal of those who wanted to do harm was simply to gain street cred and bragging rights with those in the same waters. Taking down a renowned website or server in those days was akin to discovering North Pole or climbing Mount Everest. But, as more and more hackers entered the picture, it became about more than just getting to say you did something impossible and instead turned into cashing in an exclusive skill set. Moreover, the days of lone wolves is long gone with people gathering into organized groups and professionalizing cyber thievery. Cyber criminals no longer steal our money by coming into our establishments with machine guns and “politely asking” for protection money, but by taking over entire computer systems and locking them down until we pay up or stealing information they can sell somewhere else. (Take a look at our infographics to learn about ransomware and other types of malware.)
Along with that kind of regulated group structure comes the expansion of their abilities so much so that cyber security professionals have to constantly find new foolproof ways of protecting company assets from threat actors. This requires investments into not only equipments and software, but also in human expertise to oversee the technology and processes.
2) All types of devices are in danger
With the number of cyber attacks constantly on the rise, so is the number of attack types and their level of sophistication. At one point, black-hat hackers exploited only vulnerabilities in operating systems, creating new viruses and worms to infect a single PC device. After that, they focused on infecting entire IT systems. But now, with the explosion of mobile devices, cloud-based systems and IoT, they can penetrate and cripple a whole network – professional or personal. An increased number of entry points automatically lowers the level of security of a network – giving cyber criminals more opportunities to gain access to the data stored and accessible from each device in the network. That also means the stakes are significantly higher – what is a high-risk asset to a cyber security officer spells high-reward to a criminal.
Furthermore, as an industry in constant development, cyber security is of great interest to the financial sector and a promising investment opportunity. With rapid changes in the nature and ever increasing number of cyber attacks, the domination on the field definitely does not lie with large corporations. New IPOs and start-ups have a lot of space to grow and claim their spot under the sun.
3) The Internet of Things has its pros and cons
The Internet of Things, much like Artificial Intelligence, is slowly but surely finding its own place in our everyday lives – personal as much as professional. Yes, they are already making our lives easier, even saving them. However, devices such as TV set-top boxes and music devices, refrigerators and stoves, A/C units and doorbells are all now connected to the Internet and can be exploited by cyber criminals without you even noticing it. Sounds unlikely? Not so much if you have in mind that the manufacturers aren’t particularly focused on cyber security – they equip their products with little to no security features.
But that doesn’t mean they cannot be protected. The next big step in the cyber security industry development will be to find a cohesive way of protecting the Internet of Things from those who wish to exploit it. With as big of a goal as this is, constant innovation is not welcome, but expected – and innovation requires continuous investment. Large investments in an ever-growing system – in both size and complexity – by the bad guys must be outmatched by the good ones if they want to take the victory.
4) Machine learning contributes to cyber security
As with cyber crime starting out with skilled individuals who just wanted to push limits, but later on getting organized and acquiring financial gain for their skills, so has the cyber security sector seen a line of development, too. It has gone from being 100% executed by humans, with a constant decline in human involvement, to now only 0.2% of the work being done by humans. Machines have been given the task of protecting not only themselves and others like them, but entire IT systems, because they possess more fast-learning and adaptive skills than humans.
A large variety of hardware, software and service features needs to be employed to make sure all bases are covered and with new threats arising daily, they must also be upgraded just as often. That is where you leave the machines to it – let them learn and adapt with human supervision, but little direct involvement. In any case, how much time do you think would take a man or woman to spot every individual cyber threat and fend off every cyber attack?
To that effect, you should trust Awontis to keep you safe. We have over 275 clients who are more than satisfied with our services. On more than 1500 websites we actively monitor, nearly 55.000 security threats were successfully prevented using our solution. The websites under our protection are watched 24/7 for threats and updates, allowing the businesses they represent to thrive. Finally, the already compromised websites are fixed by being thoroughly cleaned of malicious content and protected from future threats.