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As a network TAP provider, Garland anchor's security solutions for so many organizations across all public and private sectors. I like to think that working with IT’s top security professionals has given Garland and myself unique insight into the evolving threats and technical issues that can impact IT security strategies. In this post, I’d like to share some of the key trends that InfoSec will have to address in 2017 and beyond.
In the past few years, personal identification information (PII) has become so valuable on the black market that hackers have switched tactics. Instead of focusing solely on financial targets, today they are going after the data stores they believe are more vulnerable, such as those in healthcare, HR, educational and government organizations. In 2017, no organization can consider themselves too small or uninteresting to be targeted for attack.
Financial services organization have long been the target of bad actors looking for a quick payoff. Although these organizations have worked hard to protect consumer data and funds from exploitation, hackers have found a new path to profits via the global financial transaction messaging network. Because these communications are not always monitored from end-to-end, they can been used to quietly siphon off a tremendous amount of money (the Bangladesh Bank lost $81 million to this attack vector in just hours).
Obtaining valid credentials is a critical element of almost every sophisticated corporate breach – particularly those where hackers move stealthily towards their ultimate goal. Phishing schemes have proven to be an extremely successful method for extracting a target’s personal data. In 2017, we expect these attacks to become more personalized, enticing and actionable.
Sadly, the Russian involvement in the US presidential campaign has taught the world that targeted attacks and skewed facts can significantly impact individual thinking and events on a macro scale. We anticipate more activity in 2017– ranging from subtle campaigns and fake news stories to direct attacks from fringe groups like ISIS’s Cyber Caliphate.
In 2016, experts around the world (including those at Garland) all publically called for strong protection on emerging industrial Ethernet and smart grids worldwide. Any attack on these critical could be deadly – just think about the tens of thousands of Ukrainians with no heat when their power systems were shut down last winter. If the Isis attempt to breach core systems at UK railways had been successful, who knows how many people could have been hurt.
Clearly, smart grids will remain a target for bad actors, but 2017 will see the IoT exploited in new ways. First, hackers will target corporate devices such as printers, biometric scanners, medical devices and more in order to extract the critical information that passes through them. They will also try to increase their take by focusing on infrastructure elements that aggregate data that is being transferred to the cloud.
Hackers will also ramp up their use of malware such as Mirai to misuse connected devices in order to launch a coordinated DDoS attack designed to crash communications systems and individual websites. This approach was used to launch the record-breaking attack on the Krebs on Security web property.
As consumers increase their usage of connected devices – from home security solutions and cameras to cars and kitchen appliances – manufactures will need to prevent hackers from controlling these devices or holding them for ransom.
Software defined networks (SDNs) have long been considered the future of IT as they provide centralized control over fluid resources pools – a benefit that streamlines administration and enables IT agility. Until recently, firmware limitations prevented companies cost-effectively transforming existing environments to take advantage of SDN.
In 2017, we will see a steady increase in the deployment of SDN in data centers worldwide. However, such a dramatic shift in network operations means companies need to rethink their security strategies. They need to ensure adequate protections for management systems that can be exploited to provide unfettered access to all infrastructure elements.
Because small to mid-sized businesses lack the expertise needed to keep pace with ever evolving threats, many will choose to work with managed security service providers to protect their networks and digital assets. These groups also provide the regulatory guidance companies need to ensure compliance across all workloads.
Staying ahead of these threats in 2017 will require unprecedented vigilance, technical innovation and a worldwide commitment to the sharing intelligence on attacks and how they can be stopped. At Garland, we remain committed to helping companies mitigate risk by ensuring that all security appliances see 100% of the traffic they are deployed to analyze. More importantly, we will continue to innovate network TAP technology to give InfoSec professions the flexibility and manageability needed to anchor security strategies as they adapt to meet 2017’s evolving threat landscape.
I wish everyone great success in 2017! For the intelligence on designing a strong foundation for your InfoSec technology, read our latest paper:
Want more? Get a jump on 2017 by better understanding ways to protect yourself from a cyber attack: Read the latest whitepaper on Protecting the Data: 5 Tools to Fight Today's Threats.
As the Senior Technology Consultant & Chief Editor at LoveMyTool, Tim O’Neill has over 45 years of technology experience at data/voice and video networking analysis companies, including successful senior roles in Sales, Product Design, Marketing Management, Business Development and Security.