IBM helps or­gan­i­sa­tions across SEE to stay on the right side of IT se­cu­rity

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When it comes to cy­ber­crime, rather than be­ing pop­u­lar tar­gets, coun­tries from the South­east Europe (SEE) re­gion are more known as a hot bed of highly-skilled hack­ers. How­ever, IBM re­searchers have re­cently dis­cov­ered newly re­con­fig­ured mal­wares specif­i­cally tar­get­ing more than 20 new banks in Bulgaria and Ro­ma­nia. What has changed in the world of cy­ber se­cu­rity?

Cy­ber at­tacks are spi­ral­ing and to­day the world of cy­ber se­cu­rity is ex­pand­ing into a world of cy­ber in­se­cu­rity with fraud and cy­ber­crime on the rise with threats that are more di­verse than ever, and at­tacks be­com­ing more per­sonal and much more so­phis­ti­cated. Ex­plo­sion of data is com­pli­cat­ing the threat land­scape - 90% of the world's data has been cre­ated in the last years, yet less than 1% of that data is be­ing an­a­lysed. IT In­fra­struc­ture is im­ma­ture - ac­cord­ing to IDC, or­gan­i­sa­tions across SEE still use less-ef­fec­tive and ob­so­lete IT in­fra­struc­tures which makes them vul­ner­a­ble to cy­ber at­tacks. At the same time spend­ing on mo­bile de­vices is grow­ing, and reach­ing al­most a third from the to­tal IT mar­ket in SEE in 2014. With the spread of mo­bile apps that may not have se­cu­rity by de­sign, the BYOD (Bring your own de­vice) trend more of­ten may mean BYOV (Bring your own virus) at work or at home. Fur­ther­more, the reg­u­la­tory frame­work is un­der­de­vel­oped.

How does the mar­ket re­act?

In or­der to cope with the emerg­ing threats and mit­i­gate risks, SEE or­ga­ni­za­tions are in­creas­ing their in­vest­ments in IT se­cu­rity. Ac­cord­ing to IDC, over­all spend­ing on se­cu­rity so­lu­tions is ex­pected to in­crease by 47% be­tween 2014 and 2019, which is more than the world­wide av­er­age of 31%.

Clearly we can see this on the mar­ket: dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions – from gov­ern­ments and fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to small busi­nesses or in­di­vid­u­als - are heav­ily in­vest­ing into se­cur­ing their net­works, yet the num­ber of at­tacks is ris­ing and so is their scale and the dam­age they cause.

One of the key rea­sons for that is that the ma­jor­ity of se­cu­rity in­vest­ments in SEE are ex­pected to be di­rected to­ward ba­sic se­cu­rity so­lu­tions only.

What does this mean for or­gan­i­sa­tions and gov­ern­ments in SEE?

It means that we have all reached a tip­ping point and we need to take a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to IT se­cu­rity.

Given to­day's threat land­scape, the ques­tion for al­most ev­ery or­ga­ni­za­tion is not whether a se­cu­rity breach will hap­pen, but when. Even worse – com­pa­nies are not al­ways aware that they have been at­tacked and it may take time un­til they de­tect the hack. So, ex­ist­ing per­cep­tion that 90% net­work se­cu­rity is “OK” is no longer suf­fi­cient.

How should SEE or­gan­i­sa­tions deal with the new re­al­i­ties of cy­ber in­se­cu­rity?

To­day fight­ing cy­ber at­tacks should be­gin with an ob­ses­sive vig­i­lance and far be­fore the at­tack can hap­pen. Proac­tive de­fense strate­gies should cover the en­tire or­gan­i­sa­tion: its IT plat­form, in­clud­ing in­fra­struc­ture, ap­pli­ca­tions, cloud en­vi­ron­ments, mo­bile de­vices; em­ploy­ees and their con­stant train­ing; and the phys­i­cal as­sets of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

What is the best pro­tec­tion to­day?

Our best de­fense to­day is to re­vamp our ap­proach to se­cu­rity, and move towards a uni­fied an­a­lyt­ics and in­tel­li­gence-driven col­lab­o­ra­tive fight against cy­ber­crime.

De­vel­op­ing and ex­e­cut­ing a com­pre­hen­sive long term cy­ber-se­cu­rity strat­egy has to be at the top of any CxO agenda now. This is a must.

How can IBM help?

Over the past few years, IBM has reaf­firmed its po­si­tion as a se­cu­rity so­lu­tions provider through a se­ries of ac­qui­si­tions that have broad­ened our se­cu­rity port­fo­lio. Now we of­fer com­pre­hen­sive, in­te­grated, mul­ti­layer so­lu­tions con­sol­i­dated un­der a sin­gle busi­ness unit fo­cus­ing on se­cu­rity and threat in­tel­li­gence. Our se­cu­rity port­fo­lio is based on a frame­work com­pris­ing hard­ware, soft­ware, and ser­vices de­signed to help or­ga­ni­za­tions de­tect, pri­or­i­tize, re­spond to, and pre­vent se­cu­rity breaches.

Can you point to some best prac­tices from the re­gion, i.e. how or­gan­i­sa­tions can ben­e­fit from this ap­proach.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions across SEE use IBM Se­cu­rity so­lu­tions to proac­tively pro­tect their net­works and their clients data from cy­ber crime.

For ex­am­ple, United Bul­gar­ian Bank, Za­gre­backa Banka and Split­ska Banka in Croa­tia. BRD-Groupe So­ci­ete Gen­erale in Ro­ma­nia, So­ci­ete Gen­erale Banka Ser­bia are all fo­cus­ing on fraud preven­tion by us­ing IBM Se­cu­rity Trus­teer to pro­tect web ap­pli­ca­tions, com­put­ers, and mo­bile de­vices against ad­vanced mal­ware and phish­ing at­tacks. Slove­nian Zavod za zdravstveno zavarovanje Slovenije — the Health In­sur­ance In­sti­tute of Slove­nia, for ex­am­ple is us­ing IBM QRadar to im­prove the speed of solv­ing net­work prob­lems and to deal with fire­wall is­sues by clos­ing the gap be­tween net­work and se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions.

Michael Paier, Gen­eral Man­ager South­east Europe

By 2020 the num­ber of things con­nected to In­ter­net in South­east Europe (SEE) will ex­ceed its population more than four times. Over 7 mil­lion smart me­ters will be de­ployed across the re­gion. Se­cu­rity has never been more im­por­tant...

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