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Challenges to Cyber Security in 2015 – Know What We are Up Against

Challenges to Cyber Security in 2015 – Know What We are Up Against

 

Considering the evidences from the past, in the retail sector even the robust players like Home Depot, Target, Sony, Staples and number of banks were victims to high-profile breaches. While we are referring to large organisations or reputed brands, it’s a misconception that small firms will always be safe and that the cyber criminals would spare them. As a matter of fact, since small businesses don’t invest much in securing their online stores/websites, they often are easy targets.

With only a couple of days left for 2015, entrepreneurs are getting ready to deal with new cyber attacks that may bring down their ventures in future. With planning on new strategies to compete the market, one of the major concerns for firms is strengthening the safety level to battle any possible attacks in the New Year. “The enhancing technology will create good opportunities for the hackers to infiltrate the business and consumer data”, according to technology expert Karl Volkman, Chief Technology Officer at SRV Network Inc.

The news of Sony hack in November 2014 is still fresh among the industries that lead to exposure of valuable data of upcoming movies and employee’s pay. The intruders easily gained access to the massive documents including the master lists of passwords – was labelled with the name like ‘Master_Password_List’ and information was in the form of plain text that wasn’t encrypted or protected with other applications. Protecting the documents with passwords would have saved Sony but it was neglected due to the assumption that there will be more elaborate measures to keep them safe.

Considering various safety infractions, injections and vulnerabilities, businesses are openly sharing their experiences and solutions to cybercrimes on common forums or platforms, encouraging other firms to join in and express their views on it. This will not only bridge the competitors but will help to search resources to thwart the increasing and sophisticated networks of the skilled cyber thieves. One of the examples of this trend is the formation of cyber security organization, Soltra, as a joint venture between two financial services to create a software program that shares information about threats between more than 100 banks. On basis of the threats and vulnerabilities that are listed till date, MTvScan – Malware Trojan Vulnerabilities scanner a website scanning tool for websites was introduced. Some of its basics functions includes scanning websites for vulnerabilities, cross-site scripting attacks, sql injections and other types of online threats.

As it’s time to close down the 2014’s chapter, one needs to take a look at the predictions that some experts in the Industry have listed –

  • » Evolution of Smarter Malware – With emerging technology the malware is multiplying faster than our defensive implementation process. According to McAfee Labs there will be an increase in the non-Windows malware attacks due to the vulnerability of Shellshock. Malware creators have turned out to be so talented that they are able to manipulate the subtle user actions as well as detect the malware location by defining the specific standards of environment.
  • » New Mobile Attacks – With the intensifying use of new applications on mobiles, the attacks will continue to grow. Intruders will be impotent to develop the malware generation kits as well as malware source codes for mobiles. But apps from untrusted sites will be the easiest source for malware to enter the mobile.
  • » Ransomware Campaigns will Speed up these Attacks – The ongoing ransomware campaigns will accelerate these type of attacks instead of reducing. In a ransomware attack, the computer gets locked displaying a fake notice from any government agency demanding a particular amount of money that is to be paid in Bitcoin or via the PayPal to release the system.
  • » The Internet of Things – The idea of Internet of Things (IoT), connected and networked devices is slowly trending in the consumer market. Technology enhancement have given rise to gadgets like cars, coffee machines and Google’s smart Nest thermostat but these gadgets prove to be unfortunate when connected to the internet – they create a vulnerable environment for attacks. In 2015, the IoT will magnify but it will increase cyber attacks levied against the products.
  • Email Threats to Swell in 2015 – You must have received phishing emails about winning a lottery or fake requests from PayPal to check the transactions. If you would have clicked on one of them, it would have taken you to some bad site leaving your system with virus. These email phishing campaigns will continue to run in 2015 so, be aware of them.

These were few predictions related to cyber safety in 2015. Now let’s see the ways to secure your web server from the cyber attacks –

Take an inventory of your web based system – You almost know about the recognizable ones but you need to dig for those which are unrecognized. As you know that now-a-days there is built-in Web-server in the networked system, ensure that you check on the stuff like Ethernet switches, networked cameras and copiers. Simple port scanning of network segments, searching for common Web server ports, will allow identification of the Web servers on the network. This discovery tool is found in many Web shielding scanners today.

Encrypt and Authenticate – Web servers differ depending upon the type of businesses. Allocating different servers for each specified task is a good idea as it will enable access to web server and email server from outside your business, converting them to public servers. Private servers can be defined for file or database servers that contain confidential data. By allocating private servers, you can encrypt all the login sessions and install access control making IM (instant messaging) more secure. This will help to render messages that are unreadable to hackers or anyone who intercepts during transmission.

Perform a source code analysis on a custom-written software – Source code analysis involves examining the actual codes written by the developers. This can be done by using the automatic static tools Fortify 360, DevInspect and Klocwork.

Strengthen the operating system – Each server consists of different operating systems and so is vulnerable to cyber breaches. By default secure configuration isn’t found in most of the box operating systems so it’s essential that you strengthen security for the operating system used over the servers. Regularly upgrading the OS and removing unnecessary tools and utilities, enables to fight the new vulnerabilities in the system(s).

Remember to test and re-test – Testing your web security only once in a while isn’t going to safeguard your web server. Since cyber flaws are constantly being exploited, the applications related to the web servers are becoming complex and therefore, testing them again and again needs to be practiced by the risk mitigation teams in all organizations. Don’t forget Web systems are the major part of the life cycle of your business and so, no exceptions in their preservation.

While moving towards 2015 cyber protection will become more critical issue. So, if you discover vulnerability in your devices or servers don’t avoid it. You need to take action immediately. It’s difficult to adopt any new practice in business quickly but undoubtedly it’s significant too. Though the cyber professionals are developing new ideas to damage your system’s safety, you need to gear up and remain cautious. Once you implement these precautionary methods, you will be able to control the security breaches and run your business smoothly.

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