10 cy­ber se­cu­rity is­sues in 2014


Palo Alto Net­works has re­leased pre­dic­tions for cy­ber se­cu­rity, the threat land­scape, fire­wall and mo­bile se­cu­rity for 2014. They in­clude:

1. Se­cur­ing the mo­bile de­vice will be in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked to se­cur­ing the net­work

Mega­trends like BYOD and the rise of the mo­bile work­force are pro­vid­ing fer­tile ground for cy­ber crim­i­nals and na­tion states look­ing to cap­i­talise on de­vices op­er­at­ing over un­pro­tected net­works. In 2014, threat in­tel­li­gence gained within the en­ter­prise net­work will of­fer new de­fence ca­pa­bil­i­ties for mo­bile de­vices op­er­at­ing out­side pro­tected net­works. In­tel­li­gence gained by mo­bile de­vices will of­fer new sig­na­ture ca­pa­bil­i­ties to fur­ther strengthen en­ter­prise net­works.

2. Cloud will get a se­cu­rity


In­no­va­tions in net­work vir­tu­al­i­sa­tion are en­abling au­to­ma­tion and trans­par­ent net­work in­ser­tion of next-gen­er­a­tion se­cu­rity ser­vices into the cloud. Se­cu­rity has re­mained one of the great­est bar­ri­ers pre­vent­ing cloud com­put­ing from reach­ing its full po­ten­tial. In 2014 next-gen­er­a­tion net­work se­cu­rity and net­work vir­tu­al­i­sa­tion will come to­gether to form a new par­a­digm for cloud se­cu­rity.

3. De­tec­tion times will de­crease

En­ter­prise se­cu­rity has un­der­gone a mas­sive trans­for­ma­tion since the in­tro­duc­tion of the Next-Gen­er­a­tion Fire­wall (NGFW). This has long since moved from an emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy to one that’s uni­ver­sally de­ployed. Newer, ad­vanced se­cu­rity ser­vices are let­ting en­ter­prises gain new ad­van­tages in de­tect­ing un­known threats and gather that in­for­ma­tion into a threat in­tel­li­gence cloud that’s de­vel­op­ing an im­pres­sively high IQ. The net re­sult will be a mea­sur­able re­duc­tion in the time it takes to de­tect a breach.

4. There will be a height­ened need for bet­ter


The new era of net­work se­cu­rity is based on au­to­mated pro­cesses and build­ing as much in­tel­li­gence as pos­si­ble into net­work se­cu­rity soft­ware. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant in in­dus­tries such as gov­ern­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and health care, in which there are staffing short­ages. Lim­ited staff need max­i­mum re­sources in­clud­ing se­cu­rity tools that give them the most vis­i­bil­ity into their net­work traf­fic and don’t sac­ri­fice busi­ness pro­duc­tiv­ity.

5. Se­cu­rity will meet re­li­a­bil­ity as at­tacks tar­get

con­trol sys­tems

Com­pa­nies may be able to ap­ply tight net­work se­cu­rity to data cen­tres and the in­for­ma­tion they man­age. But if they’re not do­ing the same for cer­tain data cen­tre sup­port sys­tems such as HVAC, cool­ing and other au­to­mated sys­tems that help power, clean and main­tain a data cen­tre, they’re leav­ing the whole data cen­tre vul­ner­a­ble. Th­ese types of at­tacks, in which smart hack­ers tar­get the weak­est parts of a data cen­tre sup­port in­fra­struc­ture, will con­tinue.

6. De­mand for cy­ber se­cu­rity and in­ci­dent re­sponse skills will in­crease

As more ad­vanced threats have be­come com­mon­place, the de­mands on ex­ist­ing IR teams have be­gun to out­strip ca­pac­ity, es­pe­cially in en­ter­prises and gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties. A re­cent sur­vey by the Ponemon In­sti­tute found that only 26 per cent of se­cu­rity pro­fes­sion­als felt they had the se­cu­rity ex­per­tise needed to keep up with ad­vanced threats. Com­puter sci­ence pro­grammes will con­tinue to adapt to this trend with more fo­cused train­ing in cy­ber se­cu­rity dis­ci­plines.

7. Ad­vanced at­tack­ers will move

to mo­bile de­vices

A wave of crime ware and fraud has al­ready be­gun to tar­get mo­bile de­vices, which are ripe tar­gets for new mal­ware and a log­i­cal place for new threat vec­tors. Mo­bile plat­forms will be uniquely lev­er­aged by ad­vanced per­sis­tent threats (APTs) thanks to the abil­ity to use GPS lo­ca­tion to pin­point in­di­vid­ual tar­gets and use cel­lu­lar con­nec­tiv­ity to keep com­mand and con­trol away from en­ter­prise se­cu­rity mea­sures.

8. Fi­nan­cially mo­ti­vated mal­ware will make a


The fo­cus of en­ter­prise se­cu­rity will again be on the at­tacks where money changes hands. Bank­ing and fraud bot­nets will con­tinue to be some of the most com­mon types of mal­ware. To do so, they will at­tempt to imi­tate, con­tract with or even in­fil­trate crim­i­nal­ly­fo­cused hack­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions to pro­vide cover for their op­er­a­tions.

9. Or­gan­i­sa­tions will ex­ert more con­trol over re­mote

ac­cess tools

The rev­e­la­tions of how com­monly re­mote ac­cess tools such as RDP, SSH and TeamViewer are used to at­tack net­works will force or­gan­i­sa­tions to ex­ert greater con­trol over th­ese tools. Browser plug­ins such as Re­mote Desk­top and uProxy for Google Chrome will make th­ese tools more ac­ces­si­ble and in­crease the chal­lenge of con­trol­ling their use on the cor­po­rate net­work. User pri­vacy is crit­i­cally im­por­tant, but users also need to un­der­stand that th­ese ap­pli­ca­tions can jeop­ar­dise the busi­ness.The chal­lenge will be how or­gan­i­sa­tions can best im­ple­ment con­trols with­out lim­it­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity.

10. Cy­ber lock­ers and cloud-based file shar­ing will

con­tinue to grow, de­spite the risks

As of this year, Palo Alto Net­works is track­ing more than 100 vari­ants, and ac­cord­ing to its re­search an av­er­age of 13 of th­ese ap­pli­ca­tions are found on net­works it anal­y­ses. In many cases, there is no busi­ness use case for this many vari­ants. While there is busi­ness value for some of th­ese ap­pli­ca­tions they do present busi­ness and se­cu­rity risks if they’re used too ca­su­ally.

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