Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Cyber criminals have plagued enterprise networks ever since the internet was in existence, and for varying purposes, whether it be for personal gain or for the sheer sake of infamy, yet often with no definite objective or motivations. While the internet can be utilized for cross-network collaborations among various platforms, it is also lays the groundwork for a wide range of complications.

In 1989, the undeliberate invention of a self-procreating virus widely known as the Morris worm spawned a massive outbreak of denial-of-service (DoS) attacks that were the first of its kind, giving rise to a new breed of viruses that spread through phishing and mass-emailers from untrusted sources (Chen and Robert, 2004). Subsequent episodes that earned greater notoriety like the data breach of credit card details involving major retail companies TJJX and Target began to alter the landscape of cyber security, especially because such assaults became more targeted and sophisticated. Additionally, they drew implications not just on the organizations but customers who had to be requited.

These monumental incidents thus served as lessons of the past and ushered in a progression of responses to advance the cause of security under the eye of the public. Nevertheless, large-scale security breaches continued to occur in recent years; ransomware attacks on control systems via WannaCry and NotPetya affected multi-national companies around the world with devasting outcomes that amounted to millions of dollars, swaying organizations around the world to prioritize cyber security at the top of their business agenda (Branquinho, 2018).

The transition from the early days of computing to present day has seen the development of cyber-crime into a borderless phenomenon that has dramatically grown in terms of scope and reach, to a point where cyber security ought to be a prerequisite from the outset.

As more and more business operations become digitally-reliant, there is evidently a higher potential attack surface for a lot of corporations. This is due to the unprecedented abundance of assets and informational data that now spans across multiple devices and ubiquitous cloud-based networks. The notion of currency, as a result, has veered so that valuable information is more prized than tangible money. Thereupon, security devices like anti-virus technology and firewall prove no longer useful against intricate web-based exploitations and brute force attacks that birthed from the incessant evolution of cyber-crime.

Prime targets of data theft—namely companies who depend on consumer data as a commodity—are consequently compelled to start looking into more effective ways of archiving, storing and protecting data that are worth of consumers’ trust (King and Raja, 2012). Concurrently, a privacy regulation known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be strictly enforced across the European Union as well as other countries outside the union in an effort to improve data security and privacy guidelines among organizations who gather sensitive personal information relating to health, finances and geographic locations (Smouter, 2018). Such a move holds organizations responsible for any violation of privacy and inevitably pressures them to comply with the new regulations by putting more thought into their system barricades and potential access points that put them at risk of cyber security threats.

The expansive nature of cyber security also means that it is no longer restricted to the IT security department but all aspects of business operations, which includes staff members of every department. While manpower is the greatest asset of any organization, it can also serve as the weakest link that gravitates targeted criminal activity. Some may argue that weaknesses may vary between organizations, but the biggest vulnerabilities within the information security chain tend to be human themselves who have been entrusted with highly confidential data (Kraemer, Carayon and Clem, 2009). Contributing factors like employee misbehaviour, human negligence and poor implementation of policies are just few of the many reasons why employees fall prey to threats like spear phishing threads, which then open up opportunities for intruder infiltration. As soon as a lapse has been discovered, a point of entry for exploitation often presents itself to hackers and hacktivists alike. Finding the right balance between usability functions and safety demands a comprehensive human integration into an organization’s cyber security system (Boyce et al., 2011). Through practical mitigation strategies and multi-layered cyber security training, employees will condone a better understanding of security requirements, and this subsequently limits the susceptibility of perpetration from both inside and outside the company.

The forefront of today’s cyber security services are more committed towards seeking a better understanding of the network demands that trail developing markets. Beyond the mere collection of data, security administration now involves executing a closer real-time analysis of security data with greater accuracy—this essentially equates to providing more valuable and intelligent insight in order to mitigate as much compromises as possible. Recent open-distributed architectures like software defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are able to secure and manage data access more comprehensively than before by centralizing all operations seamlessly to meet industry standards without compromising on safety. (Sezer et al., 2013). Others rely on more state-of-the-art solutions such as Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology for more efficient means of resource management that can inherently boost the visibility of cyber hazards and ward off any impending danger (Holler, 2014). With the evolving paradigm of communication technologies comes a greater dependence on such robust cyber security solutions in order to keep malicious activity at bay.

The advent of digital advancements forms the very heart of the global monumental shift into a technology-driven business landscape strongly built on disruptive models, high inter-connectivity and rising mobility. With increasingly sophisticated methods of production and consumer interaction, there has never been a more crucial time for organizations to stay agile on top of cyber security trends. The stark reality is that the consequences that come out of every wave of cyber-crime is even more detrimental than its predecessor. Cyber-crime damages have been predicted to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021 (Morgan, 2017) and given the high risks that constantly abound market conditions, traditional security wouldn’t seem to cut it anymore. Overriding traditional defence systems is critical to match up with the complexities of social engineering and tactical cyber breaches that are ever maturing. While the bigger challenge comes down to attaining a future-proof solution that is capable of maintaining a lasting safeguard of networks, the very real threat of malicious activity persists because a lot of business fail to establish the core groundwork of security tools and infrastructure (2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, 2018). To avoid considerable repercussions on performance and brand reputation, businesses of today have to adopt a proactive yet evolutionary approach with regards to cyber security in the face of an even wider spectrum of hazardous and intricate crimes.