World Cup A Target For Cybercriminals

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Editor’s Note: Below is an article written by Ammar Hindi, Managing Director Asia Pacific on Security and cybercriminals.   

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With the world cup season on its way, everyone is glued to their electronic broadcast devices looking for the latest news coming out of Brazil and the fate of their national sides and favorite players. The cybercriminals knows this, and you can bet that they will capitalize on this opportunity to snag the unwary into doing something that would compromise their internet security. Although some of us are getting little wiser to the threat, there are some individuals that are still susceptible to the cybercriminal attacks and have a tendency to click on links or open attachments sent via email without taking any steps to verify the origin of the mail or the validity of the link or attachment. In addressing the problem, organization need to take the extra mile to educate and also implement internal programs to ensure users know how to recognize and cease to click on potential malware.

A certain major sporting event gets underway this month with the eyes of the world glued to their televisions, smartphones, tablets and laptops looking for the latest news coming out of Brazil and the fate of their national sides and favourite players.

The cybercriminal gangs know this as well, and you can bet that they will be doing all they possibly can to snag the unwary into doing something that would compromise their internet security.

It is true that we are all getting a little wiser to the threat. Most people are not likely to click on a link in an email to a cuddly kitten site sent by a stranger, but if the email suggests a key player in the national side is set to miss the rest of the tournament and click for an update, we might just do that.

Unfortunately, the truth remains that we as individuals are the weakest link in the battle against cyber criminals. Many people continue to click on links or open attachments sent via email without taking any steps to verify the origin of the email or the validity of the link or attachment.

And, we know it only takes one click to for an attacker to establish a foothold in the target’s systems. The 2013 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report finds that sending just three emails per phishing campaign gives the attacker a 50 percent chance of getting one click. With six emails the success rate goes up to 80 percent and at 10 it is virtually guaranteed.

So, with the world watching the news and matches in Brazil this coming few weeks, what chance does the telcos and businesses have in protecting the networks we use day to day. After all, we all know that work time or not, employees will be watching for the latest news and analysis of the matches and games taking place. And no matter what corporate policy says, you can be sure most will be using their corporate devices to access that information.

We know that security as a people problem is not going away anytime soon, and the advent of the Internet of Everything is going to make this even more of a problem. Not only will users be able to inadvertently expose their systems to malware from their laptops and tablets, they will also be able to click on links from their smartwatches, cars, etc.

In order to address this growing concern, we need to move beyond securing devices and data to addressing the people and process aspects of this problem via education. Organizations must recognize this gap in their security and implement internal programs to ensure users know how to recognize and cease to click on potential malware. They must also understand when and how to inform the organization of any suspicious occurrences so future attempts can be minimized and/or blocked. Raising awareness and offering simple suggestions such as hovering over a link without clicking to view the intended URL, or not opening attachments you didn’t request, can go a long way in the fight against cyber attacks.

Even with the best of education, malware will still make its way onto the network. So organizations need security solutions that couple visibility and control to help protect against these inevitable attacks.

After all you can’t protect what you can’t see. So you need comprehensive visibility into the devices, users, applications and systems that connect to your network day in and day out with the right context. Security solutions that have contextual awareness can see and intelligently correlate extensive amounts of event data related to IT environments.

In the same way the attackers are continually learning as they hone their skills to increase the chances of success, we as defenders need to do the same. Education is an essential component of any well-rounded security strategy but it needs to be combined with visibility and control. That way we can all enjoy the football and at the same time help minimize cyber attacks and protect our networks.