Risk
1/11/2017
12:00 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

IoT, Foreign Actors, Insider Threats Shape 2017 Risk Management

A new report aims to inform risk management decisions for 2017 by identifying potential security threats and their anticipated effect on businesses.

A new year means new and evolving security threats are shaping businesses' risk management strategies. In 2017, corporate security concerns will come from insider threats, hostile nation-states, and the growth of new technologies connected to the Internet of Things.

These ideas stem from Flashpoint's first "Business Risk Intelligence -- Decision Report," which identifies threats and vulnerabilities shaping risk management in 2017. Experts highlight concerns that could influence security decisions and put problems in the context of the geopolitical and cyber threat climate.

The report lists trends and indicators that shaped management strategies in 2016 and expands on potential risks to watch for this year. Threats from last year poised to increase include foreign actors, disruptive hackers, cybercriminals, hacktivists, and jihadi cyber actors.

Hostile nation-states are an increasing threat to Western countries, explains Jon Condra, Flashpoint's director of east Asian research. We'll see their greater willingness to use cyber means to reach their goals.

"They don't discriminate with regards to the type of organizations they target," he says. "They perceive them as targets of opportunity. Russia, for example, has sophisticated capabilities. There's not a lot [targets] can do to stop that type of activity."

The threat of financially motivated cybercriminals will also escalate. Businesses should be especially wary.

"There was a shift towards targeting organizations, especially within the cybercrime community" says Condra of 2016 threats. "Attackers are targeting large organizations instead of their customers in order to monetize stolen data."

This trend is poised to escalate in 2017. As more people understand how data can be monetized for a variety of reasons, security pros should be on alert for insider threats.

"We've seen a number of people look for insiders at certain institutions," he explains, emphasizing how it's tough for businesses to identify, and react to, malicious insiders. "It's the biggest threat to almost any organization." 

There are several reasons why employees go rogue, Condra continues. They may be disaffected with their work or desire supplementary income. As insider cases become more publicized, and potential gains increase, workers will be tempted to become sources for threat actors.

Not all insider threats are intentional, says Rocco Grillo, global leader of the cyber resilience practice at Stroz Friedberg. Some employees are unaware they're doing anything wrong.

"You'll have employees who may not be aware, doing things by accident," he explains. "Time and time again, we continue to see employee awareness be the downfall."

Employee education should be part of businesses' risk management practices, especially as attacks like spearphishing grow craftier and more targeted.

"Make sure [they] know the sender, make sure they know the types of information they're accessing, especially on the corporate network," he says. Further, employee controls should be in place, and action needs to be taken for workers who aren't compliant with them.

Awareness is important, but businesses can do more. Grillo recommends continuous testing and monitoring, and cites a growing trend of mature companies building their own penetration testing capabilities. Some have also begun conducting "executive security assessments" to ensure safety of authority figures whose credentials are in high demand among cybercriminals.

As for external threats, he thinks data integrity attacks will rise in 2017. As more companies rely on social media and IoT for rapid information, there is a greater risk of false reports influencing key decisions. For example, fake data on a company's financial stability could harm stocks or M&A potential.

Both Condra and Grillo list IoT growth as influential for businesses' risk management practices. The demand for convenience is increasing the speed-to-market for IoT products, which were developed to drive efficiency for organizations but lack embedded security measures.

"With IoT, your average home will have dozens of devices hooked up to the network that you don't know much about," says Condra. "From a privacy and cyberattack perspective, it's a major concern for most organizations. Now you're increasing the attack space, or number of devices, that can be involved in a given attack."

As companies embrace new technologies, they need to also consider the "what if" factor, Grillo explains. This means putting recovery measures in place to respond in the event of an attack.

Related Content:

Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.