“Fighting the cybersecurity battle”

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The way organisations are connected and digitised is unprecedented. The risks that come along are in many cases unknown or not adequately addressed.

In the cyber age, anyone in any industry needs to realise that cyberattacks and cybercrime are serious threats today. Worse, one must also accept that prevention is not the cornerstone of your cyberdefense anymore. Detection and adequate and timely response are the only options we have left to survive. This message is difficult to get across, let alone to comprehend, it will require awareness, a change of culture on any level of the organisation. You’ll need to prepare for the unknown. Today perpetrators steal data, tomorrow they might only change and manipulate it.

The attackers of tomorrow rely on the same techniques as the defenders of tomorrow. AI (Artificial Intelligence) will become a defense and an offense tool. Allowing perpetrators to impersonate trusted copy, the writing style or even impersonate a trusted users’ voice. It will help attackers to blend into the background, not creating the current noise so that all alarm bells remain silent at a pace we haven’t seen yet today.

Basics of protecting businesses from cyberattacks

Collaboration is key

The level of interconnectivity is pivotal to implement collaborative work. Nowadays, technologies that are gaining ground such as IoT or Cloud technologies call for even greater interconnection. To enable secure collaboration, users and/or systems require to have been granted access. But failure to appropriately provision, de-provision and monitor both user and system accounts and their authorisations poses a great opportunity for attackers to make entries and move laterally in our networks. Adopting Identity and Access Management Systems is a step businesses are taking more and more, but when they are improperly managed, woes are considerably higher. The adoption and strict adherence to simple information security principles such as “Least Privilege” and “Need to Know” is a necessary movement when playing the game of cybersecurity chess.

Business, don’t be a hero

No organisation is self-sufficient enough to win and thrive in the current cyberwarfare. On the contrary, every business wants to be actively involved and engaged with peers to share cybersecurity ideas, news on the field, trends and best practices on ways to protect, respond and recover from cyberincidents when they occur.

“Cyber” community engagement can be achieved through seminars, conferences, mutual-aid agreements, and engagements with incident response teams or law enforcement and so on. However, don’t over-share. It only takes one security glitch to start an information leak allowing users with malicious intent or criminals to achieve their goals.

Don’t leave sensitive data or information unprotected, either in the workplace or even at home.
Koen Maris

Koen Maris,  Cybersecurity Leader,  PwC Luxembourg

Don’t leave sensitive data or information unprotected, either in the workplace or even at home, and think twice before unveiling apparently innocuous information on social media, website or even via phone in a public space.

Cyberattackers can collate and analyse personal information shared on social media to understand our behaviours and get personal information. They can create convincing lures to assault us using not only personal channels but also the professional ones.

Compliance is not security

When pursuing new projects, looking for increasing the customer base or gaining stakeholders’ trust, most businesses find themselves in a race to comply with all standards and regulations out there.

Undeniably, it is fundamental to ensure your business is compliant with key information security standards and frameworks such as NIST, ISO 27001, ISF and COBIT, for example. However, be mindful that compliance is not security. Take the time to understand your business and its ecosystem, and identify your competencies, assets and potential risks.

Build a better business ecosystem for better cybersecurity

Identifying core competencies and capabilities is paramount for businesses to cope with cybersecurity challenges. Precisely because of it, outsourcing some functions provide business the opportunity to focus on their core activities and improve efficiency.

More than half of all cyberincidents that businesses have reported, were flaws in providers or collaborators’ infrastructure.
Koen Maris

Koen Maris,  Cybersecurity Leader,  PwC Luxembourg

When outsourcing, there’s a crucial detail to be considered. More than half of all cyberincidents that businesses have reported, were flaws in providers or collaborators’ infrastructure. This highlights the importance of owning one’s risks, and closely monitor existing business partners’ functions. Similarly, it’s important to keep a close eye on what approach to monitoring outsourcers or partners have.

No such thing as zero risk

There is no such thing as zero risk in any environment. However, there is the zero trust concept. Businesses can adopt it to eliminate certain default trust that exists between security perimeters. Taking into account the lack of clarity in security perimeters, this concept establishes the requirements to verify anything before access is granted, including “trusted” external parties.