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Category Archives: Cyber Security

Why 2021 could be the best year yet for Cybersecurity for your business

Yes, you have heard it right. After all the bad news that we heard in 2020 ending with the SolarWinds episode in December, it is now time to set things moving in the right direction. Five things went wrong in 2020:

  • Significant distraction and disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic induced changes at the workplace
  • Cybersecurity was not given enough attention from a resourcing perspective globally
  • Tech teams were not imaginative enough to figure out what could be attacked
  • Employees were not sensitized enough on the need to remain cyber aware
  • 600 percent rise in stolen data appearing online as per Subex’s threat research team

The New Year gives us a chance to fix and improve our cybersecurity posture. Last week we told you about 5 cost-effective and easy ways to do that. Beyond these measures, this is also the right time to look at revamping your cybersecurity priorities and paying attention to the right areas. Subex’s threat research team has found that the volume of cyberattacks has reduced in the last 10 days but is expected to pick up as we approach February 2021.

February has traditionally seen the launch of new malware and new methods of cyberattacks by hackers. So, it is not advisable to wait till then to build cyber resilience. A discussion with our experts will help you reach there faster.

Subex has been protecting cyberspace for a while now. Our IoT and OT cybersecurity solutions along with SOC services and a cyber deception solution can go a long way in protecting your business.
All our customers stayed safe in 2020 and were able to focus on their business priorities.  You can learn more about them here, here, and here.

Don’t let the hackers gain an upper hand.

Nat will be glad to help in case you wish to learn more. You can drop her a line: natalie.smith@subex.com.

2020, a wake-up call for cybersecurity

Less than 15 days to go before the year ends but hackers are yet to take a break.

This week we heard how alleged state-backed hackers managed to use network management software updates to smuggle malware into the networks of government and corporate clients who downloaded the updates from an IT infrastructure management platform. The malware in this case can be used to conduct espionage on a grand scale.

According to Cybersecurity Ventures in 2021 there will be a cyberattack every 11 seconds. Also, according to them, by the measure of GDP, cybercrime will cost us enough to create the third-largest (virtual) economy in the world at USD 6.1 trillion.  Hackers have engineered and re-engineered malware across domains and industries and have created a huge war chest to invest in improving the quality of cyberattacks in the near future.

Using domain fronting, hackers can trick servers into allowing malware-laden traffic on scales that have never been seen before. Here are the five things hackers got right this year:

  • They exploited the confusion caused by the pandemic well and created new opportunities
  • Ransomware R&D cycles were considerably shrunk which is why we saw a flood of ransomware in the last 6 months
  • They attacked in waves with each wave bringing more complexity and stealth in the mode of attacks
  • Use of new and more legitimate intermediaries to steal data: at least one site was found to ask users to share their credentials to check if they have been breached or not. The problem. The site was found to be operated by a company with a questionable background
  • Phishing attacks became more sophisticated: from asking recipients to register for a vaccine to enforcing a government mandate, we saw it all this year

Hackers can shift focus easily, moving from one target to another. Unfortunately, you cannot move from one grade of cyber defense posture to another to outwit them that fast. Unless your cyber resilience posture is agile enough. Matching steps with hackers will help you prevent cyberattacks while staying a step ahead of them can help deter cyberattacks.

Subex has been helping our customers do just that across industries. As a leading IoT and OT cybersecurity vendor, we are today defending some of the toughest and hardest to secure installations in the world.

And here is the proof of value delivered by Subex: this is how we are securing a telco a smart city project and North America’s leading manufacturer.

Our customers stayed safe while their counterparts turned victims throughout 2020.

You can visit us here to know more about our offerings or drop us a line to natalie.smith@subex.com to continue this conversation.

What the SolarWinds episode has taught us so far

Unless you have been on a digital detox vacation, you must have heard of the SolarWinds breach. Just to refresh your memory, multiple US government agencies were compromised by pushing a trojanized update. Post installation, this update allowed the hacker to conduct multi-level reconnaissance, modify user privileges, move laterally into other critical environments and compromise the data.

The scope and scale of this breach has ‘shaken cyber defenders and governments alike. It is now time to focus on the takeaways from this incident.

  • Cyber supply chain awareness: a dual-purpose risk assesment should be conducted to assess the state of security emanating from third-party solutions and evaluating the implications of such risks
  • Finding the right cybersecurity models: such models and frameworks should be able to uncover security gaps and prioritize them. Businesses should work towards constantly reviewing these models while keeping their risk appetite to the lowest level possible
  • There is no ‘business as usual’ for cybersecurity: in 2021, the new normal will be about being cyber risk aware at all times. Cybersecurity teams will have to overwork their imaginations to identify new sources of vulnerabilities
  • Developer access management: the backdoor introduced by the hacker must have been in a file not often accessed by developers (a developers account must have also been compromised). If developer access was managed diligently and reviewed to check for anomalies, the breach would have been discovered earlier.
  • Trust is dangerous: as many such episodes before have shown, trust should not be be implicit, explicit or stated with caution. Instead trust should be established on a session to session, device to session and connection to connection and time basis. No entity should be allowed to transact for long durations from a position of trust no matter the level of privilege. Zero trust should be the way forward

Subex has been working to secure businesses in all livable continents for over two decades now. Our offerings use a blend of tactics to introduce layered security including discovery of rogue and compromised assets.

As of today, we are securing some of the toughest and hard to secure OT and IOT-based deployments globally. We can help you improve your cybersecurity posture to secure your assets.

In just under 45 minutes, we can tell you how our solution can keep such episodes of grief at bay.

Get in touch with natalie.smith@subex.com  to learn more

Cybersecurity challenges and trends that will mark 2021

As 2021 emerges on the horizon, here are the top trends that our threat researchers feel will define the New Year.

Ransomware propagation: the first quarter of 2021 will provide some respite to cybersecurity teams battling ransomware. Already we are seeing signs of a slowdown as malware developers are investing more time in developing new ransomware. This respite is however temporary as new and stronger ransomware and variants will start emerging from April.

Attack fatigue: nation state actors have shown signs of fatigue setting in. After ruthlessly targeting vulnerable sectors such as healthcare and manufacturing during the pandemic, many hackers have retreated to the comfort of their basements. This trend is expected to continue till the end of Jan 2021.

Manufacturing, retail and healthcare on the radar: attacks on these sectors will intensify.

Media and entertainment (M&E) industry will be most impacted sector in 2021. This is based on the trends we are currently seeing especially the activity in the malware forums we are tracking.

Deep fake videos will be weaponized with greater intensity as part of multi-stage phishing campaigns

Botnet farms to increase: as 5G rollout gathers pace, more IoT devices will be added some of which will not have the bare minimal levels of security in place.

Industrial control systems to bear the brunt of sophisticated attacks. Industrial espionage at a large scale will hit energy, power, oil, gas and manufacturing companies

Data stored on public cloud will be the target of cloud jacking in a more organized manner

Subex is here to help
We will be glad to help you address your security challenges in the New Year. At Subex, we have a robust and evolved IoT and OT security solution backed by consulting and SoC services tailored to your unique cybersecurity needs.

Subex is today securing the business of its customers around the world. Our suite of solutions bring features such as cyber deception, device discovery, threat detection and deflection and prevention of lateral movement of threats. These are essential to keep your business safe and protected.

You can visit us here to know more about our offerings or drop us a line to natalie.smith@subex.com to continue this conversation.

What’s next for healthcare cybersecurity in 2021?

What’s next for healthcare cybersecurity in 2021?

The year 2020 saw the highest increase in cyberattacks registered by a single sector ever. The health-care industry in the second quarter of the year saw a 63 percent rise (from the previous quarter) in sophisticated attacks while Q3 saw a 39 percent increase. Put together, this has set the warning bells ringing across CERT teams and cybersecurity vendors trying hard to stop these cyberattacks from derailing the ongoing fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The mode of attack
In over 79 percent of the attacks, healthcare service providers were kept away from critical data including patient records, device calibration information and administrative documentation. Such data was held to ransom to put psychological stress on these healthcare institutions (many of whom had frontline Covid-19 healthcare workers) to pay off steep ransom to free their data. This cycle has repeated innumerable times this year.

The hackers also exposed several weaknesses in the way healthcare institutions approach cybersecurity:

  • Use of unpatched and outdated software that is well past its prime as well as untested collaborative platforms
  • Less than secure data storage practices
  • Lax attention to cybersecurity
  • Lack of a proactive and complete outlook towards cybersecurity
  • Lack of employee sensitization on cybersecurity threats

As many as 42 percent of healthcare institutions we spoke to this year had experienced some form of breach due to a cyberattack. Majority of them (71 percent) paid the ransom quietly and got their data back. The others did not respond to questions on what happened after the cyber-attack citing confidentiality reasons.

“Hackers view healthcare institutions as easy targets for a cyberattack because of prevailing practices and pre-existing vulnerabilities that have been around for years, if not decades. This is also one of the sectors where the time taken to monetize a cyberattack is the shortest. Together these two factors have contributed immensely in turning healthcare into one of the most vulnerable sectors out there. In many ways, the cybersecurity journey of many healthcare providers is just starting,” said Kiran Zachariah, VP Digital Security at Subex.       

Looking ahead
The volume of cyberattacks is not expected to decrease in 2021. But we are expecting healthcare service providers to mount a strong challenge to hackers and to move away from being easy targets for malware developers and other adversarial entities. We are expecting attacks on R&D institutions to rise significantly as hackers shift their attention to the results Covid-19 vaccines are getting from real-world trials. Such attention will extend to other areas witnessing frenzied R&D efforts.

Healthcare institutions need to ramp up their cybersecurity efforts and increase the distance between them and hackers. Wasting hackers’ machinations through deception and by deploying solutions that detect and contain attacks early is one option to consider.

Subex is here to help
Subex Secure is a suite of solutions that includes Subex Secure Edgetech, Subex Secure Threat Intelligence and Subex Secure Security Operations Center services. Our OT and IoT security solution Subex Secure is agentless, non-intrusive, and built for discovery, detection, mitigation, and protection. It can passively and actively discover devices and their vulnerabilities and contain threats and prevent lateral movement through rapid digital detention. It can be deployed to scale and in a staggered and proactively flags threats and vulnerabilities through a 3-step filter process.

We can help you improve your cybersecurity posture so that you can focus your energy and attention towards fighting Covid-19 and other healthcare challenges out there. Connect with natalie.smith@subex.com to learn more.

Securing IoT and OT: are you committing this cardinal mistake?

According to a report in the Tech Republic, companies have been relaxing their cybersecurity controls during the pandemic. While this is an obviously and patently a wrong move, research by Subex has revealed an embedded reason behind the emergence of such practices.

When companies began asking employees to work from home. Cybersecurity team suddenly had to deal with an explosion of threat surfaces. Some small and medium businesses also started using untested communication and collaboration applications that compounded the security problem. With teams being distracted, hackers found it easier to slip deceptive emails through and thus began a long chain of breaches. Some of them continue to this day.

Cybersecurity Threats

Businesses often fear that security solutions could end up slowing them down. The perceived lack of digital empathy in systems and processes designed to improve cybersecurity gives businesses the impression that productivity and efficiency need to be sacrificed to secure their businesses. Even small hurdles such as a small lag in getting data are turning to be significant barriers for increasing the level of cybersecurity or enforcing it more stringently.

Digital empathy, therefore, needs to underpin the development of security tools so that such perceptions are addressed.

Is this true for your business as well?

Defense-in-depth with digital empathy
Subex Secure is a mature solution that is built with digital empathy at its core. While we offer the highest levels of IoT and OT cybersecurity, we also ensure that your employees never have to turn a function off or degrade the overall cybersecurity posture to gain efficiency. Here is a testament to this statement. Subex Secure, works for you and with you

Connect with sai.kunchapu@subex.com to learn how you can address the most potent threats and vulnerabilities and become more cyber resilient.

Read our latest threat landscape report to learn about cyber threats you need to know about.

 

Cyber resilience through deception

Organizations are leaving no stone unturned in their effort to improve their cybersecurity posture. Be it SIEM, EDR, deep network analysis, behavioral analytics and more. Yet, there is no respite from bad actors operating with impunity. Cyber peace of mind is still elusive.

Security through deception

Hackers move very fast. They run scans to easily scan, determine what is exploitable, and step back before you figure out their game. It is unlikely that you will be able to match pace with their speed. So, you need cybersecurity solutions that cannot be detected and can deceive these hackers.

IOT Cyber Threats

Department of Homeland Security and NIST frameworks now mandate deception technology. MITRE has introduced the Shield knowledge base, to encourage active defense and adversary engagement approaches. Deception, tech makes it harder for attackers to find their targets and wastes their efforts while slowing down attacks. A simple example of deception is planting fake and deceptive resources embedded with stealthy capabilities abilities such as setting up a beacon in a file. When a hacker opens or copies that file an alert is triggered.

When you organize a distributed deception strategy, attackers will be forced to encounter and engage deceptions realistic enough even on systems with low-risk. Their actions then trigger positive alerts that are 100 percent genuine giving cybersecurity teams enough time to stop them. Thus, deception is a proactive defense strategy that avoids the traditional wait and watch game.

Deceive to defeat
Such an approach to cybersecurity is a must if you want to tie-down bad actors and present a strong sense of cyber deterrence to them as part of a holistic cybersecurity strategy. By using distributed deception, you can keep your cyber adversaries chasing worthless cyber mirages while your security team takes them down. Your digital crown jewels are neatly stashed away safe from harm.

 

Defense-in-depth with layered digital deception
Subex Secure Cyber Deception is a mature solution that is built with layered digital randomness to confuse your adversaries. It works to deceive at multiple levels including networks, assets, data and people. Thus, it keeps hackers chasing a series of endless loops of perceived valuable assets while you identify and eliminate them.

Contact sai.kunchapu@subex.com to learn more about this offering

Read our latest threat landscape report to learn about cyber threats you need to know about.

Cyberattacks: who will be next?

With more employees locked on to their screens for longer periods, this is indeed a great time for hackers to target their victims and monetize cyberattacks faster. This is why hackers have now diversified their attacks:

  • On the one end, they are attacking big enterprises such as large corporations, financial institutions, and healthcare research firms involved in Covid-19 vaccine research
  • On the other, they are targeting small businesses

American cold storage giant Americold was hit with a cyberattack on November 16 that led them to shut down their computer systems to prevent the spread of the attack. What about small businesses?

According to a recent report, nearly 60 percent of small businesses run the risk of shut down due to damages associated with a cyber attack.

In many cases, it takes a while before the full impact of the cyberattack is determined.

2021 Cybersecurity for Business

Hackers are also diversifying the malware used in cyberattacks. Subex’s research has found a significant increase in the detection of malware belonging to crypto mining, ransomware, and predatory categories.

As holidays and year-end approaches, hackers will get even more active.

There’s a lot you can do to secure your business starting from making it tough for hackers to cause a breach all the way to outright deterring them. We are at hand to help you achieve this goal. Today, Subex is securing some of the toughest to secure businesses and critical infrastructure across 3 continents.

Nat will be glad to help in case you wish to learn more. You can drop her a line: natalie.smith@subex.com.

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A big basket of cyberthreats

In the last few weeks, there have been a few major cyber attacks on Indian companies. The most notable one was that of a start-up whose customer data was released on the Dark Web because they refused to pay ransom to the hacker group behind the breach. The data belonging to over 2 crore customers was up for sale for USD 40,000.

Are Indian companies that vulnerable to cyberattacks? The answer is yes. A combination of poor cybersecurity posture, lack of employee sensitivity, attention from state-backed hacker groups located in countries with adversarial intent, and sheer apathy towards embracing basic cybersecurity hygiene practices have started to hurt.

Cyber Threats for all Business

Subex’s research has found that in many cases, an increased cybersecurity budget denoted money spent in putting systems back online after a breach. Our researchers were among the first ones to call out attention to the cyber threat posed by the ongoing pandemic to businesses.

We were also the first cybersecurity vendor to identify and call out the persistent threat from 3 groups based in a neighboring country that were targeting us.

Subex understands the landscape, threats, the actors, malware involved, and ways to defeat the machinations of these actors. This is why our solutions are fully geared to improve your cybersecurity posture and degrade the potency of online threats.

Contact sai.kunchapu@subex.com to learn more about how Subex can keep such threats at bay for your institution.

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Maritime cybersecurity: defending the shipping industry against cyber pirates

Cybercriminals and malware that threaten to break maritime operational reliability, damage key systems, and delay cargo delivery carry more risks than what we can fathom. Infected systems can compromise navigation or propulsion, threatening ship safety itself as well as the marine environment. Even a medium-sized breach caused by a cyberattack can cripple an operator by imposing a prohibitive recovery cost.

The fact that the four largest carriers in the world have all been attacked in just the last three years underscores the vulnerability of the shipping industry as a whole. Onshore, shipping companies are just as vulnerable as their counterparts having maritime vessels. The decentralized shipping and logistics setup associated with shipping companies that often have a network of subsidiaries and agents most of whom have access to a broad range of information on the company’s servers and in some cases in vessels expands the attack surface available for hackers

cybersurcity threats for shipping

The UN shipping agency IMO itself came under attack a month ago. While the nature of malware and cyberattacks are changing, the cybersecurity posture adopted by shipping agencies and offshore companies connected with the Shipping Lanes of Commerce (SLOC) and the extended supply chains that run across oceans or involve a maritime component is not robust enough.

There are several reasons for this. Since the shipping industry was relatively isolated from onshore cyberattacks till a few years ago, the industry didn’t feel the need to evolve and deploy cyber resilience practices. The emergence of state-backed hacker groups or Advanced Persistent Threat Groups has changed the situation. These groups are working hard to targeted shipping companies associated with critical areas of the national economy in several countries.

Combating cyber risks
Addressing these risks begins with knowing your vulnerabilities and being prepared for a constant increase in cyber threats that are omnipresent and potent. The cyber pirates lurking in the depths and anonymity afforded by cyberspace are already targeting shipping companies and stealing their data and demanding ransom. Unlike the real world where navies and maritime defense forces defend SLOCs, oil tankers, and commercial vessels, the onus of asset cybersecurity lies squarely on the shipping company.

To deal with these rising threats, your business needs to be protected at various levels. Your cyber posture and cyber resilience strategy need to be deep and pro-active to not just defend but also to deter cybercriminals. You need to act to defend and convey trust to your stakeholders to ensure that your cargo moves from port to port in a secure manner while your vessel is adequately protected in cyberspace.

Only a cybersecurity partner with deep expertise and solutions can help you in that endeavor. We at Subex are already working with global shipping companies to secure their assets. We can help you uncover and address threats while staying cyber resilient.

Proof of Value – get in touch with Natalie.smith@subex.com to book a no-obligation consulting slot, right away. If you mail us over the next 24 hours you can avail a special package designed for your business. Let’s fight this menace together.

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