Nothing is more difficult than making predictions. Instead of trowing out wild ideas what might be coming, will be making educated guesses based on what has happened during the last 12 months and several years before that.
The past year has seen a rapid increase in the adoption of up-and-coming technologies. Everyday items are getting
smarter and more connected. Companies are saving millions with new technologies and cities are racing to
implement smart solutions. 5G promises to bring wireless high speed broadband to everywhere. On the other hand those solutions add new kinds of vulnerabilities. Competing in today’s digital marketplace requires that organizations are cyber-savvy. 2020 is when cybersecurity gets even weirder, so get ready.
Here are some trends and predictions for cyber security in 2020:
Cyber Attacks: Cyberattacks grow in volume and complexity.Many countries that are going to emerge as major threats in the 2020s. Nation-state backed cyber groups have been responsible for major incidents over the last decade. And now more countries want the same power. Cyberattacks range from targeting your database to steal information that can be sold on the dark web, to hijacking unused CPU cycles on your devices to mine for cryptocurrencies, or trying to infect vulnerable systems so they can be used later as part of a botnet.
IoT security: IoT security is still getting worse until it starts to get better. IoT security is an extremely hot topic right now and will be hot for many years to come. Industrial IoT risk has been discussed a lot. Physics dictates local application deployment, because the control rate of most industrial systems is 10 milliseconds or below. Smart Building Security Awareness Grows. The risks of the IoT in financial services are great. An explosion in IoT devices significantly raises the threat level. Gartner predicted that the world will see nearly 21 billion IoT devices by next year and it would be nice if all of them would be secure, but many of them unfortunately are not secure. Hackers are continually looking for ways to exploit device vulnerabilities. From smart TV’s, IP cameras, and smart elevators, to hospital infusion pumps and industrial PLC controllers, IoT and OT (Operational Technology) devices are inherently vulnerable and easy to hack. Why? Because IoT security is complicated and security should consider and integrated with IoT deployments. Gartner Says Worldwide IoT Security Spending Will Reach $1.9 Billion in 2019, and will raise to $ 3.1 billion in 2021, making it one of the fastest growing segments in cybersecurity industry. IoT landscape is complex, and so are the security solutions. These tackle the different challenges of IoT- device hardening, encryption, discovery, data protection, malware and anomaly detection, policy enforcement and more. You might have to do a little work with your internet of things devices to stay secure. A failure by many IoT device manufacturers to follow cryptographic best practices is leaving a high proportion of the devices vulnerable to attack. One in every 172 active RSA certificates are vulnerable to attack. It is a good idea to build a separate network segments for IoT devices so that they are isolated from the normal office network. FBI recommends that you keep your IoT devices on a separate network.
IoT privacy: Silicon Valley Is Listening to Your Most Intimate Moments. The world’s biggest companies got millions of people to let temps analyze some very sensitive recordings made by your “smart” speakers and smart phones. A quarter of Americans have bought “smart speaker” devices such as the Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod. Consulting firm Juniper Research Ltd. estimates that by 2023 the global annual market for smart speakers will reach $11 billion, and there will be about 7.4 billion voice-controlled devices in the wild. That’s about one for every person on Earth. The question is, then what? Having microphones that listen all the time is concerning. Also some attackers are terrifying homeowners and making them feel violated in their own homes.
Medical systems security: Cyberattacks on Medical Devices Are on the Rise—and Manufacturers Must Respond. Attacks on networked medical devices, and the data they collect and transmit, can be costly. Patient safety is a critical concern, especially with devices such as defibrillators and insulin pumps that could cause patient harm or death if they malfunction. It’s shocking that a few years after WannaCry and NotPetya, the healthcare industry is still not prepared to deal with ransomware attacks. Many hospitals and healthcare networks that have been hit by ransomware over the past few months.
Surveillance cameras: Surveillance cameras are capturing what we do on the streets, at airports, in stores, and in much of our public space. China’s Orwellian video surveillance gets a bad rap but the US isn’t far behind as US has nearly the same ratio of security cameras to citizens as China.And the numbers are growing all over the world. One billion surveillance cameras will be deployed globally by 2021, according to data compiled by IHS Markit. Russia is building one of the world’s largest facial recognition networks and it may even be bigger than China’s 200 million camera system. China’s installed base is expected to rise to over 560 million cameras by 2021, representing the largest share of surveillance devices installed globally, with the US rising to around 85 million cameras. Now US, like China, has about one surveillance camera for every four people (in 2018 China had 350 million cameras and USA 70 million). Surveillance cameras are getting better, smaller and cheaper and can be installed almost anywhere. It would be very easy to sneak another device onto a hotel’s Wi-Fi network, stream that video over the internet to the computer.
Facial recognition: Private companies and governments worldwide are already experimenting with facial recognition technology. Facial recognition software is touted as making us safer. But mass surveillance has downsides of major proportions. Massive errors found in facial recognition tech. Facial recognition systems can produce wildly inaccurate results, especially for non-whites. Russia is building one of the world’s largest facial recognition networks. Individuals, lawmakers, developers – and everyone in between – should be aware of the rise of facial recognition, and the risks it poses to rights to privacy, freedom, democracy and non-discrimination.
Shut off Internet: Worrying worldwide trend employed by various governments: preventing people from communicating on the web and accessing information. Amid widespread demonstrations over different issues many countries have started cutting Internet connections from people. Some countries, namely China, architected their internet infrastructure from the start with government control in mind. Russia is aiming to this direction. Iran, India, Russia. For better or worse, an internet blackout limits the government’s ability to conduct digital surveillance on citizens.
Security First: Implementing Cyber Best Practices Requires a Security-First Approach. Competing in today’s digital marketplace requires that organizations be cyber-savvy. The best defense is to start with a security-driven development and networking strategy that builds a hardened digital presence from the ground up. This not only ensures that your online services and web applications are protected from compromise, but also enables security to automatically evolve and adapt right alongside the development of your digital presence, rather than it having to be constantly rigged and retrofitted to adapt to digital innovation.
Zero Trust Network Access: Many of the most damaging breaches have been the result of users gaining access to unauthorized levels of network resources and devices. Zero Trust is an enforceable, identity-driven access policy that includes seamless and secure two-factor/OTP authentication across the organization. Zero Trust Network Access ensures that all users and devices are identified, profiled, and provided appropriate network access. It also ensures that new devices are automatically assigned to appropriate network segments based on things like device profiles and owners. When combined with Network Access Control (NAC), organizations can also discover, identify, grant appropriate access, and monitor devices, thereby enhancing your access and segmentation strategy.
Anti-virus software: Only Half of Malware Caught by Signature AV. The percentage of malware that successfully bypassed signature-based antivirus scanners at companies’ network gateways has increased significantly, either by scrambling
code known as “packing” using basic encryption techniques or by the automatic creation of code variants. It seems that new approaches like machine learning and behavioral detection are necessary to catch threats. Meanwhile, network attacks have risen, especially against older vulnerabilities.
Ransomware attacks: Ransomware will remain a major threat in the coming year, as the criminal business model continues to flourish. That’s a move that security professionals have long condemned, warning that paying the ransom in a ransomware attack could end up causing more turmoil for victims – as well as inspire other cybercriminals to launch ransomware attacks. Microsoft never encourage a ransomware victim to pay. What to do with this is question. How much does a large-scale ransomware attack cost, as opposed to just hiring an adequate number of skilled IT personnel, and having disaster recovery plans in place? There is no complete security solution that could stop all attacks, but you should have decent protection. It would seem prudent to have adequate staff and offline BACKUPS to deal with this kind of situation, so decent recovery would be possible. Having no backup system is the gamble many companies and public entities seem to be playing. Good backups helps to recover from ransom attacks. There are new tactics coming to use in ransomware. A new Snatch ransomware strain that will reboot computers it infects into Safe Mode to disable any resident security solutions. Another new tactic by ransomware developers is to release a victim’s data if they do not pay the ransom – they will publish data that they steal to a competitor if the ransom is not paid.
Public sector: Public Sector Security Is Lagging. The state of cybersecurity and resilience in the public sector needs an
urgent boost in many countries. U.S. citizens rely on state governments and local municipalities to provide a host of services everything from access to public records, law enforcement protection, education and welfare to voting and election services. Cybercriminals have been targeting state and local governments with ransomware tools, which infect an organization’s computer networks and lock up critical files.
Regulation: We will see further legal regulations in the area of cyber security and data protection. The implementation of the GDPR and the IT Security Act have already ensured that the behaviour of companies has changed significantly. The drastic fines are having an effect. However, the GDPR is not the end of the story. The ePrivacy Regulation, the forthcoming reform of the IT Security Act and the European CyberSecurity Act will introduce further requirements, with the aim of improving digital security.
Consumer confidence: Winning consumer confidence is crucial to the development of new digital services. In a PwC study, consumers are prepared to share personal information if it is of sufficient value to them. On the other hand, consumer confidence also needs to be earned that you keep the information safe.
API security: APIs now account for 40% of the attack surface for all web-enabled apps. It’s a good time to pay attention to API security, since some recent high-profile breaches have involved API vulnerabilities. OWASP, the Open Web Application Security Project known for its top 10 list of web application vulnerabilities, published the release candidate version of its API Security Top 10 list at the end of September 2019. Also it’s almost 2020 and some sysadmins are still leaving Docker admin ports exposed on the internet.
Skills gap: Security teams are already grappling with serious challenges due to the growing cybersecurity skills gap, are being tasked to secure an ever-expanding network footprint. Security teams are often left to secure virtual and cloud environments, the implementation of SaaS services, DevOps projects, the growing adoption of IoT, mobile workers, and an expanding array of personal connected devices after they have already been implemented. They often do not have enough people and enough knowledge on those new technologies to do their work well. The cybersecurity unemployment rate is zero, with over 1 million jobs currently unfilled, a number that is expected to climb to 3.5 million by 2021. 145% Growth is Needed to Meet Global Demand.
Think Like Your Adversary: Cybersecurity leaders need to access the potential vulnerabilities (from the mindset of the adversary) and devise effective defensive countermeasures unique to their company’s needs. Programmers Should Think like Hackers. Security must be taken into account in all programming steps.
Third party security: Most Companies Don’t Properly Manage Third-Party Cyber Risk. It’s been established that good cybersecurity requires not just an internal assessment of an organization’s own security practices, but also a close look at the security of the partners that businesses rely upon in today’s modern, interconnected world. Developing a Third-Party Cyber Risk Management (TPCRM) strategy is becoming more common with every news headline regarding a major breach that stemmed from a company’s relationship with a third-party.
Privacy and surveillance: Fears Grow on Digital Surveillance. Americans are increasingly fearful of monitoring of their online and offline activities, both by governments and private companies. More than 60 percent of US adults believe it is impossible to go about daily life without having personal information collected by companies or the government. Google and Facebook help connect the world and provide crucial services to billions. But their system can also be used for surveillance. Amnesty International says Facebook and Google’s omnipresent surveillance is inherently incompatible with the right to privacy and is a danger to human rights. The claim is that the companies’ surveillance-based business model is inherently incompatible with the right to privacy and poses a threat to a range of other rights including freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of thought, and the right to equality and non-discrimination. Amnesty International has called for a radical transformation of the tech giants’ core business model and said that Google and Facebook should be forced to abandon what it calls their surveillance-based business model because it is “predicated on human rights abuse.”
5G: Forecasting that 2020 will be “the year of 5G” no longer qualifies as a bold prediction. Billions of dollars’ worth of 5G rollouts are scheduled for the coming year, which will bring the emergent technology to countries around the world. The arrival of 5G will fuel an explosion of never-before-seen IoT machines, introducing uncharted vulnerabilities and opening the door for cyber-criminals to compromise our increasingly intertwined cities. Claims that 5G offers “better security” for IoT may not ring true.
5G security: The new 5G mobile networks will be the backbone of future digitalized operations. Therefore, it is also important to ensure the security and immunity of 5G networks.The Council of the European Union has warned member states that the introduction of 5G networks poses increased security risks while also bringing economic and infrastructure benefits. ENISA, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity has published a ThreatLandscape for 5G Networks, assessing the threats related to the fifth generation of mobile telecommunications networks (5G). Organised cybercrime, rogue insiders and nation-state-backed hackers are among the groups that could soon be targeting 5G networks. Claims that 5G offers “better security” for IoT may not ring true – with the technology remaining vulnerable to SIM-jacking attacks within private Industry 4.0-style deployments. 5G SIM-swap attacks could be even worse for industrial IoT than now. Criminals can convince telcos to port a victim’s number to a new SIM card controlled by the criminal. Trust your hardware or operator? Pah, you oughta trust nobody. Do not put all your security and identification to this SIM card.
DNS Over HTTPS (DoH): DoH encrypted DNS queries are already set to arrive in Chrome and Firefox web browsers. Microsoft Will Bring DNS Over HTTPS (DoH) to Windows 10 in an attempt to keep user traffic as private as possible. DoH support in Windows means encrypted DNS queries. Microsoft says that DoH doesn’t require DNS centralization if adoption is broad among operating systems and Internet service providers alike.
Firewall configuration: Now, more than ever, it is important to automate firewall processes to prevent misconfigurations and data breaches. Gartner has warned that “50% of enterprises will unknowingly and mistakenly have exposed some IaaS storage services, network segments, applications or APIs directly to the public internet, up from 25% at YE18.”. This is a human problem, not a firewall problem.
Bot attacks: Bots are being used to take over user accounts, perform DDoS attacks, abuse APIs, scrape unique content and pricing information and more. Organizations are Failing to Deal With Rising Bot Attacks.
Network security: Networks are continually growing in complexity and the cyberattack surface is constantly expanding. The network perimeter of today is elastic, expanding and contracting with the demands of both users and the business. In a rush to adopt digital business practices, many of these new network expansion projects are often being implemented ad hoc by individual lines of business. Routers sit at the edge of the network and see everything and they can be utilized to Making the Network the First Line of Defense. A critical step in building a stronger security posture and more robust data protection strategy is a 24×7 facility whose mission is to monitor, detect, investigate and resolve active threats. Cybercriminals only need to be successful once in finding a way to access the network – but the security team needs to monitor everything on the network and be right all the time to ensure security. Today’s core network is continually adapting to the introduction of new devices, applications, and workflows, along with shifting network configurations to support business requirements, requiring the use of advanced, intent-based segmentation.
Security-Driven Networking: Security-Driven Networking is a new, strategic approach to security that enables the seamless expansion of network environments and services without ever compromising on security. Essentially, it begins by crafting a comprehensive security policy that covers the entire organization. It outlines the protocols, enforcement and inspection technologies, policies, and protections required to be in place before any new network environment or solution is even placed on the drawing board. It requires the selection and full integration of security tools that not only work together to share and correlate intelligence and coordinate a unified response to threats, but that also work seamlessly across the widest variety of environments possible.
Critical infrastructure: Determined threat actors have, for some time, been extending their toolsets beyond Windows, and even beyond PC systems. In recent years, we have seen a number of high-profile attacks on critical infrastructure facilities and these have typically been aligned to wider geo-political objectives. Expect targeted attacks on critical infrastructure facilities to increase. APT33 has shifted targeting to industrial control systems software. We need to be worried about Cyber-Physical Security of the Power Grid. To protect this infrastructure you need to prioritize strategic risks that affect critical infrastructure: Concern yourself with the most important hacks, Understand the critical pieces of your infrastructure and Know your inter-dependencies.
Payment security: Payment security backslides for second straight year in 2019. Verizon’s 2019 Payment Security Report found that full compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) fell to36.7% globally, down from 52.5% in 2018. At the same time EU’s PSD2 (Payments Services Directive) lays down regulatory requirements for companies that provide payment services, including the use of personal data by new fintech companies that are not part of the established banking community. Security of online, including mobile, payments is a key aspect of the legislation. Nevertheless, as banks will be required to open their infrastructure and data to third parties. Although SSLv3 has been considered obsolete and insecure for a long time, a large number of web servers still support its use.
Election security: Nowadays, no elections can be held any longer without debate on influencing voters through online services. There are on-going accusations of Russian interference in US elections and fears about a possible reboot of this in the run-up to the 2020 elections. U.S. military cyber experts are plotting strategy in a fight against potential Russian and other cyberattacks ahead of the 2020 American and Montenegrin elections. As the 2020 Presidential election looms closer in the United
States, a key focus will be on securing election infrastructure to prevent tampering. Most of the largest US voting districts are still vulnerable to email spoofing. Also disinformation campaigns for political purposes are deeply rooted in cybercriminal endeavors. It’s quite possible that we will see changes to legislation and policy, as governments look to define more clearly what is and what isn’t allowed. Hacking is considered to be the biggest tech threats to 2020 elections in USA. Legislators are working on new laws, but it is not going to be enough in an era when technology is turning out entirely new attack surfaces.
False Flags: The use of false flags has become an important element in the playbook of several APT groups. This can be used to try to deflect attention away from those responsible for the attack or what is really happening.
Common attack tools: Cyber actors continually use commodity malware, scripts, publicly available security tools or administrator software during their attacks and for lateral movement, making attribution increasingly difficult.
Vulnerability disclosure: Most “white hat” cyber engineers seem to be driven by a sense of social responsibility best expressed as, “If you find something, say something.” Across the industry, the ethos is to share information quickly, whether the problem is a newly discovered exploit or an evolving cyber threat. The goal is to impel the affected vendor—hardware or software—to take quick action and produce a fix. There are good and bad ways to make vulnerabilities known. A premature “full disclosure” of a previously unknown issue can unleash the forces of evil, and the “black hats” often move faster than vendors or enterprise IT teams. The preferred path is a “responsible” or “coordinated” disclosure that happens behind the scenes. Public announcements occur after a specified period of time—typically 90 or 120 days. But things don’t work this way always.
Ransomware: Cybercriminals have become more targeted in their use of ransomware. It is inevitable that the cybercriminals will also attempt to diversify their attacks to include other types of devices besides PCs or servers. There is a Ransomware ‘Crisis’ in US Schools and in many cities in USA.
Supply chain: Use of supply chains will continue to be one of the most difficult delivery methods to address. It is likely that attackers will continue to expand this method through manipulated software containers, for example, and abuse of packages and libraries. Medium-sized companies are being targeted even more heavily by cyber criminals. They are often the weakest link in supply chains that include large corporations. There is the growth of counterfeit electronics.
Mobile: The main storage for our digital lives has moved from the PC to mobiles over last 10 years. Several countries have started demanding their own software (maybe in some cases also malware) to be installed to all smart phones. Putin signs law making Russian apps mandatory on smartphones, computers.
Android: Today 80% of Android apps are encrypting traffic by default. To ensure apps are safe, apps targeting Android 9 (API level 28) or higher automatically have a policy set by default that prevents unencrypted traffic for every domain. The heterogeneity of the Android versions will continue to be a problem in the coming year.
DDoS attacks: DNS amplification attacks continue to dominate distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, while mobile devices make up a larger share of traffic. The number of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks rose 86% in the third quarter compared to a year ago. DNS amplification attacks accounted for 45% of the attacks, while HTTP
floods and TCP SYN attacks accounted for 14%. Mobile Devices Account for 41% of DDoS Attack Traffic.
Business security: Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) increasingly recognize that a reactive security posture is no longer sufficient for protecting their networks. Breaches will happen. Companies should treat cyberattacks “as a matter of when” and not “whether.” Inside threads are still a big issue as Employees are one of your biggest assets, but human beings are the weakest link in the security chain. Data leaks help attackers to craft more convincing social engineering attacks. Plan proper incident management because Quick, reliable, multichannel communication is a vital part of any incident management solution. Cybercriminals often choose very small companies as their targets because small businesses rarely spend significant money on security systems. Medium-sized companies are being targeted even more heavily by cyber criminals. They are often the weakest link in supply chains that include large corporations.
Cyber insurance: Cyber Has Emerged as a Risk That is Not Specifically Covered by Other Insurance Policies. Since business is now urged to take a risk management approach to cyber security, it is natural and inevitable that cyber insurance should be considered as part of the mix. Cyber insurance is set to grow.
New encryption: The problem with encrypted data is that you must decrypt it in order to work with it. There is a powerful solution to this scenario: homomorphic encryption. Homomorphic encryption makes it possible to analyze or manipulate encrypted data without revealing the data to anyone. Just like many other populr forms of encryption, homomorphic encryption uses a public key to encrypt the data. There are three main types of homomorphic encryption: partially homomorphic encryption (keeps sensitive data secure by only allowing select mathematical functions to be performed on encrypted data); somewhat homomorphic encryption (supports limited operations that can be performed only a set number of times); fully homomorphic encryption (this is the gold standard of homomorphic encryption that keeps information secure and accessible). Cryptographers have known of the concept of homomorphic encryption since 1978 but Gentry established the first homomorphic encryption scheme in 2009.The biggest barrier to widescale adoption of homomorphic encryption is that it is still very slow. Duality, a security startup co-founded by the creator of homomorphic encryption, raises $16M.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): The buzzword for 2019 that we have all heard a thousand times was Artificial Intelligence, AI. The term AI is often interchanged with machine learning. There is a lot of research to examine AI applications on cyber security. As cyberattacks grow in volume and complexity, hopefully artificial intelligence (AI) is helping under-resourced security operations analysts stay ahead of threats. Cybersecurity tools currently use this data aggregation and pattern analysis in the field of heuristic modeling: THE TRUE FUNCTION OF AI WILL BE TO DETERMINE WITH A LONG ARC OF TIME AND DATA, WHAT “NORMAL” LOOKS LIKE FOR A USER. AI can act as an advisor to analysts, helping them quickly identify and connect the dots between threats. Finnish cyber security company F-Secure is making research on AI agents and on that Mikko Hyppönen says that AI should not used to try to imitate humans and that artificial intelligence-based attacks are expected in the near future. Another Finnish cyber security company Nixu says that Artificial intelligence is going to revolutionize cyber security. According to Orlando Scott-Cowley from Amazon Web Services machine learning is the new normal in cyber security. Advanced Machine Learning layers are to be integrated into the latest Windows cybersecurity products. Leaders in artificial intelligence warn that progress is slowing, big challenges remain, and simply throwing more computers at a problem isn’t sustainable.
2020 problems: Has your business prepared for the ‘2020 problem’? Software updates for Windows 7 will end on January 14, 2020. As of Jan. 14, 2020, Windows 7 and Server 2008 technical support and software updates will no longer be available from Windows Update. There will no longer be updates for Office 2010. Some business users can buy extended security update support with extra money for some time. Python will stop supporting Python version 2 on January 1, 2020. Beginning on January 1, 2020, un-patched Splunk platform instances will be unable to recognize timestamps from events where the date contains a two-digit year. December 2019 Patch Tuesday was the last time Microsoft ever offered security updates for devices running Windows 10 Mobile.
Crypto wars continue: A decades-old debate: Government officials have long argued that encryption makes criminal investigations too hard. Governments all over the world say that Encrypted communication is a huge issue for law enforcement and the balance between the privacy of citizens and effective policing of criminal activity is top of mind for governments, technology companies, citizens and privacy organisations all over the world. The international police organization Interpol plans to condemn the spread of strong encryption. Top law enforcement officials in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, the larger group will cite difficulties in catching child sexual predators as grounds for companies opening up user communications to authorities wielding court warrants. Congress warns tech companies: Take action on encryption, or we will. US lawmakers are poised to “impose our will” if tech companies don’t weaken encryption so police can access data.
Do not weaken encryption: Companies, they say, should build in special access that law enforcement could use with a court’s permission. Technologists say creating these back doors would weaken digital security for everyone. Unfortunately, every privacy protection mechanism is subject to abuse by the morally challenged. That’s just a truth that must be accepted and overcome. Invading the privacy of the masses in order to catch criminals is unacceptable. Remember three things: One, that strong encryption is necessary for personal and national security. Two, that weakening encryption does more harm than good. And three, law enforcement has other avenues for criminal investigation than eavesdropping on communications and stored devices. If back-doors are added to encryption, they will be abused. If You Think Encryption Back Doors Won’t Be Abused, You May Be a Member of Congress. Bad encryption can have business consequences. Apple and Facebook told the committee that back doors would introduce massive privacy and security threats and would drive users to devices from overseas. In Australia 40% of firms say they have lost sales say they have lost sales or other commercial opportunities as a result of the encryption law being in place.
Scaring people: Beware the Four Horsemen of the Information Apocalypse: terrorists, drug dealers, kidnappers, and child pornographers. Seems like you can scare any public into allowing the government to do anything with those four. Which particular horseman is in vogue depends on time and circumstance.
2FA: The second authentication factor might be a minor inconvenience, but it provides a major security boost. With past years riddled with security breaches, it is high time we evaluated the way we secure our online presence. Two factors are much better than one, but can still be hacked. Attacks that phish 2FA to access email accounts cost $100-$400; such attacks can be prevented with physical security keys. Also some physical security keys can be hacked as they turn to be less secure that what they were told to be in the advertisements.
Myth of sophisticated hacker in news: It’s the latest lexical stretch for an adjective that’s widely used in reports of cybersecurity incidents — and widely loathed by researchers as a result. If everything is sophisticated, nothing is sophisticated.
New security models: Google moved from perimeter-based to cloud-native security. Google’s architecture is the inspiration and template for what’s widely known as “cloud-native” today—using microservices and containers to enable workloads to be split into smaller, more manageable units for maintenance and discovery. Google’s cloud-native architecture was developed prioritizing security as part of every evolution.
Hacktivists: Hacktivists seek to obtain private information about large companies in order to embarrass or expose the company’s controversial business practices. Many companies are a treasure trove for personal information, whether they realize it or not. Experian is predicting that the emerging cannabis industry will experience an increase in data breaches and cybersecurity threats in 2020.
RCS messaging: RCS, expanded as Rich Communications Services, is a protocol that aims to replace SMS.RCS messaging has rolled out to Android users in the US. The update brings a lot of new features like chat, send hi-res videos and photos and create group chat. One criticism of RCS is that it doesn’t provide end-to-end encryption. RCS could be also better in many other security aspects. Researchers have discovered that the RCS protocol exposes most users to several cyber attacks. These risks are said to be mitigated by implementing the protocol with the security perspective in mind. The standard itself allows for poor security implementation, but GSMA advises its members to deploy rcs with the most secure settings possible.
Data breaches: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online all the time. During the first six months of 2019, more than 4 billion records were exposed by data breaches. That’s a shocking statistic that’s made even more so when you realize that passwords were included in droves. On December 4, a security researcher discovered a treasure trove of more than a billion plain-text passwords in an unsecured online database. Many businesses wrongly assume they are too small to be on the radar of the threat actors. The truth is that it is all about the data, and small businesses often have less well-guarded data stores. All organizations are exposed to security breaches: from large multinationals to SMEs and public administrations. A common thread is unsecured cloud-based databases that left the sensitive information wide open for anyone to access online.
Phishing: Phishing remains 1 of the most pervasive online threats. Phishing emails are still managing to catch everyone out. Phishing e-mails which are used to steal credentials usually depend on user clicking a link which leads to a phishing website that looks like login page for some valid service. Google Chrome now offers better protection against it as safe Browsing displays warning messages to users ahead of visiting dangerous websites and before downloading harmful applications. New advanced ways to phish are taken to use.With dynamite phishing, the cyber criminals read the email communication from a system already infected with an information stealer. The infected user’s correspondents then receive malicious emails that quote the last “real” email between the two parties and look like a legitimate response from the infected user. Attacks that phish 2FA to access email accounts cost $100-$400; such attacks can be prevented with physical security keys.
Windows: Microsoft Doesn’t Back Up the Windows Registry Anymore. It’s still possible to perform Windows Registry backups, but the option is disabled by default. It’s time to disconnect RDP from the internet as brute-force attacks and BlueKeep exploits usurp convenience of direct RDP connection. Microsoft is ready to push a full-screen warning to Windows 7 users
who are still running the OS after January 14.
Linux: Support for 32 bit i386 architecture will be dropped by many Linux distributions. It turns out that there are essentially no upstream development resources dedicated to x86_32 Linux. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was badly broken.
Drones: Turkey is getting military drones armed with machine guns. Drone hacking happens. There is now Dronesploit – Metasploit for drones. Metasploit-style CLI framework tailored for tinkering with everybody’s favourite unmanned flying objects.
World market war: China tells government offices to remove all foreign computer equipment. China has ordered the replacement of all foreign PC hardware and operating systems in state offices over the next three years. This will mean that China to ditch all Windows PCs by 2022.China has already some of their own Linux distros like Kylin and Deepin. Many western countries are more or less banning Huawei teleocm equipment.
Cloud security: Traditional security tools and methodologies are ill-suited to protect cloud native’s developer-driven and infrastructure-agnostic multicloud patterns. The vision as laid out by these renown analysts is straightforward. The legacy “data center as the center of the universe” network and network security architecture are obsolete and has become an inhibitor to the needs of digital business. They describe the underpinning shift to cloud infrastructure, a digital transformation that has been underway for ten years. They also point out that the corporate network cannot protect end users who consume cloud applications from any location and any device without the contorting, expensive, backhaul of traffic through the corporate data center. Gartner coins a new term for the future of security and networks, SASE (pronounced sassy), Secure Access Service Edge, which is not anything really new. SASE promises to create a ubiquitous, resilient, and agile secure network service—globally. Most of the stolen data incidents in the cloud are related to simple human errors rather than concerted attacks. Expect that through 2020, 95% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault. A common thread is unsecured cloud-based databases that left the sensitive information wide open for anyone to access online. Also it’s almost 2020 and some sysadmins are still leaving Docker admin ports exposed on the internet.
Autocracy as a service: Now Any Government Can Buy China’s Tools for Censoring the Internet. “Autocracy as a service” lets countries buy or rent the technology and expertise they need, as they need it. China offers a full-stack of options up and down the layers of the internet, including policies and laws, communications service providers with full internet.
Trackers: Trackers are hiding in nearly every corner of today’s Internet, which is to say nearly every corner of modern life. The average web page shares data with dozens of third-parties. The average mobile app does the same, and many apps collect highly sensitive information like location and call records even when they’re not in use. Tracking also reaches into the physical world.
Geopolitics: US-China Tech Divide Could Cause Havoc. It is possible that world’s next major conflict can start in cyberspace. USA has ordered to ban certain hardware from China (Huawei and ZTE). China orders ban on US computers and software. Chinese government to replace foreign hardware and software within three years. Who needs who more?
International cyber politics: Lack of international standards for proper behavior in cyberspace prevents the United States and allies from policing adversaries as they wish to. US can’t ‘enforce standards that don’t exist’. We have international norms in the maritime; we don’t have those in cyber. It makes it difficult to enforce standard that don’t exist, and to therefore hold nations accountable for nefarious behavior. NATO did confirm in 2017 that it could invoke Article 5 of its charter should one or more member nations find themselves under a serious cyberattack that threatens critical military and civilian infrastructure.
Tomi Engdahl says:
Tomorrow’s Power Grid Will Be Autonomous
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The Most Dangerous People on the Internet in 2020
This year saw plenty of destructive hacking and disinformation campaigns—but amid a pandemic and a historic election, the consequences have never been graver.
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I am sick to death of warfare rhetoric over used in 2020.
If you leave a door open and someone walks into your house, you should already know karate. If not, lock the damn door.
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Banning Government Use of Face Recognition Technology: 2020 Year in Review
If there was any question about the gravity of problems with police use of face surveillance technology, 2020 wasted no time in proving them dangerously real. Thankfully, from Oregon to Massachusetts, local lawmakers responded by banning their local governments’ use.
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2020: The year that cybersecurity went from reactive to proactive
The idea of asking users to electronically prove their current health status to travel or leave their homes would have been unthinkable 12 months ago. Last year, many were preparing to travel overseas over the holiday period. It was ransomware that dominated the headlines after it forced the foreign exchange company Travelex to take all its systems offline.
Several months later and the arrival of COVID-19 also unleashed a cyber pandemic on unsuspecting users as remote working at scale became the norm.
An 800% surge in cyberattacks quickly followed with 4,000 attacks a day.
Within just a few months, Zoom was valued at more than the top seven airlines combined.
The move from reactive to proactive cybersecurity
Zoom’s success in a short space of time uncovered a wide range of security holes that allowed ‘zoombombing‘ to become a thing for a few weeks. Security patches followed, and uninvited guests were once again locked out of virtual meeting rooms. Further high profile attacks on sites such as Twitter quickly highlighted the need to adjust to a more proactive than reactive cybersecurity strategy.
Security teams were beginning to tire of firefighting and being one step behind cybercriminals.
Expecting the unexpected
A year of unpredictability should have taught enterprises to expect the unexpected. Traditionally, organizations have made the mistake of trusting anything by default that is already inside the network and only distrusting anything outside. Zero trust approaches are now bolstering cyber defences both in and out of the office.
By no longer automatically trusting any website, email, or application, teams can isolate systems and prevent attacks from spreading across user accounts, devices, and the network. AI, ML, and predictive analytics are also increasingly being used to find patterns and structure in data to detect fraud and vulnerabilities across the entire infrastructure.
Cybersecurity will always involve a battle between attackers and defenders. But the react-and-defend approach is no longer cutting it.
Tech-savvy criminals are turning to encrypted messaging services to communicate with each other.
Cybersecurity is often likened to a never-ending game of cat and mouse. When attempting to evade interception, one of the few things that attackers shared in common was a virtual private network (VPN) called Safe-Inet.
The dangers of criminalizing VPNs and encrypted communication
The taking down of VPNs used for illegal activities such as card skimming, ransomware, phishing, or account hijacking can only be a great thing. But there is a common misconception that people only use a VPN if they have something to hide or are doing something illegal. VPNs also play a critical role in protecting online privacy and data security.
Many countries do not have the luxury of accessing information or freedom of speech and are faced with mass surveillance.
The protection of private and corporate communication is leading to the creation of many new encrypted services too. Opening a back door for law enforcement agencies is likely to introduce more problems than it solves. Many will see it as an excuse to remove essential privacy tools for the law-abiding.
We need to exercise caution and be mindful of the positive aspects of encryption and VPNs for citizens of the world. But the fact we are migrating away from the traditional reactive approach to cybersecurity is something we should celebrate rather than fear. It’s no longer good enough to build up bigger walls and wait for an attack. In 2021 and beyond, the best defence against cybercriminals will be a good offense.
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The threats arising from the massive SolarWinds hack
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SolarWinds cybersecurity expert warned management in 2017 about risk of ‘catastrophic’ breach – as it’s revealed cost-saving move to Eastern Europe could have exposed firm to major Russian hack
SolarWinds cybersecurity expert Ian Thornton-Trump warned the company to improve its internal security to prevent a ‘catastrophic’ episode in 2017
When his recommendations were ignored, he left the firm a month later
US officials say Russian hackers were behind the massive attack that affected more than 250 federal agencies and businesses
The hack is believed to have started as early as October 2019
Employees say SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson cut common security practices to save costs and his approach almost tripled SolarWinds’ annual profit margins
Some engineering offices were moved to Eastern Europe, where the Orion software, which was compromised by the hackers, was partially developed
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Highly Evasive Attacker Leverages SolarWinds Supply Chain to Compromise Multiple Global Victims With SUNBURST Backdoor
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SolarWinds: The more we learn, the worse it looks
While you’ve been distracted by the holidays, coronavirus, and politics, the more we learn about the SolarWinds security fiasco, the worse it looks.
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Healthcare Industry Sees 45% Surge in Cyber Attacks Since November 20
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The Drovorub Mystery: Malware NSA Warned About Can’t Be Found
A piece of malware linked by U.S. intelligence agencies to hackers believed to be backed by the Russian government remains a mystery to the private sector, which apparently hasn’t found a single sample of the malware, and one researcher went as far as suggesting that it may be a false flag set up by the United States itself.
In August 2020, the NSA and the FBI released a joint cybersecurity advisory detailing a piece of malware they named Drovorub. According to the agencies, Drovorub was designed to target Linux systems as part of cyber espionage operations conducted by Russia’s General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) 85th Main Special Service Center (GTsSS) military unit 26165, which has been linked to attacks conducted by the threat actor tracked as APT 28, Fancy Bear, Sednit and Strontium.
The 45-page report released by the NSA and FBI describes Drovorub as a “Linux malware toolset” that consists of an implant with a kernel module rootkit, a file transfer and port forwarding tool, and a command and control (C&C) server.
“When deployed on a victim machine, the Drovorub implant (client) provides the capability for direct communications with actor-controlled C2 infrastructure; file download and upload capabilities; execution of arbitrary commands as ‘root’; and port forwarding of network traffic to other hosts on the network,” the agencies wrote in their advisory.
The advisory shares information on how Drovorub works, how it can be detected, and how organizations can protect their systems against attacks involving the malware.
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What is your Linux server hardware decommissioning process?
The equipment decommissioning process is often an arguable point in companies. What’s your process?