As we have seen, in the past several years, cybersecurity attacks have risen dramatically and no company or industry is immune to the threats. Robust cybersecurity protocols are needed, and often the simplest solutions can be extremely effective when practiced diligently by everyone in an organization.
Some industries are however in dire need of a much more advanced set of security protocols to reduce their threat level. As we get further into the 21st century, these industries, and more than likely the rest of us as well, will need to invest heavenly into more advanced cybersecurity tools.
Industries at Risk
Most of the high-profile breaches in the past few years have happened in five major industries. Although everyone is at risk, hackers tend to target places where they stand the most to gain. Companies in e-commerce, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, and government institutions tend to be the most vulnerable due to both the frequency of attacks and the increased sophistication of the attacks they are facing.
One major factor for the increased need for advanced cybersecurity tools is the increased reliance on technology due to the Covid 19 pandemic. The increased shift to online and virtual worlds gave would-be hackers many more new potential targets since 2020.
Governments and businesses handling government data have always been prime targets for cyber criminals. The Russian war in Ukraine is a prime example of why more security is required. There were many documented cases of cyberwarfare targeting Ukrainian government institutions and those abroad.
Russia has been quite successful in waging cyber attacks against systems with moderately prepared security protocols, but it does need to be noted that thus far Russian attacks have failed miserably against those with more advanced security in place. Governments around the globe must take note and make proper investments into more advanced cyber security measures.
Financial institutions are also prime targets for cyber attacks. Not only do they contain sensitive information from their clients and customers that can easily be exploited, but many laws are in place that hold them responsible for breaches that occur on their systems.
For example, in 2020, Capital One was fined 80 million dollars for a breach that occurred on their system. Much like governments, financial institutions must further invest in advanced cybersecurity tools.
Healthcare institutions have always been another prime target for hackers. They contain a multitude of sensitive data on their patients that is very valuable to hackers on the dark web. The shift to online and virtual telemedicine only increased the amount of data and also the exposed points of access that are available to these criminals.
While strong passwords, two-factor authentication, anti-phishing training, and the other basics are still important, they just are not enough due to the frequency of attacks and the high value of the information on their systems. These institutions must continue to invest and improve their protocols with the latest advancements.
Online shopping had been popular for two decades prior to the pandemic, but the massive shift to e-commerce in 2020 was a boon both to the online retailers and cybercriminals alike. As damages from cybercrime rose to a whopping one trillion dollars, much of it was from stolen data on e-commerce websites. Again, the basics are still needed, but online retailers must continue to add investments to their security systems.
This may come as a surprise to some, but manufacturing companies are also highly vulnerable to cyber attacks, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The related supply chain shortages have made these companies prime targets.
Many cyber attacks have attempted to gain control of an entire supply chain by attacking a single company within the chain, exposing everyone’s data, and gaining massive amounts of leverage over the entire operation. Manufacturers are at an increased risk of attack and must also bolster their defenses.
Tools for the 21st Century
So what are these new tools that must be used to further increase the security of these systems? So far, many companies have been successful in protecting their systems and data by diligently using simple tools such as two-factor authentication and anti-phishing training. While these are still necessary and will continue to be highly effective well into the future. Companies seeking to have a robust security system in place must make investments in new tools such as Next-Gen Antivirus, Education, Threat Hunting, and Advanced Endpoint Security tools.
Next-Gen Antivirus is one of the most powerful new tools on the market. It uses Artificial Intelligence and predictive analysis to identify malicious behaviour and respond to threats.
Next-Gen Antivirus uses machine learning algorithms to detect whether a file is likely malicious, so it is not dependent on updates of known threats. It enables faster and more complete discovery of attacks and fills in the gaps left exposed by traditional antivirus software. Companies and government institutions are already making use of this new technology and must continue to make further investments in the future.
Threat hunting is a new tool that also uses machine learning and advanced analytics to actively search for threats lurking undetected on a system. It is not meant to replace traditional tools used for cyber security but meant as an additional layer of safety. Companies such as CrowdStrike have new threat-hunting tools on the market that are already being deployed by companies in vulnerable industries, and going forward will be a necessity on almost any system.
Advanced Endpoint Security
Advanced endpoint protection (AEP) also uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide more comprehensive cybersecurity protection from a variety of modern threats, such as fireless malware and script-based attacks. Again, it is important to note that these new high-tech solutions still do not replace the fundamentals of cybersecurity, but are meant as an additional layer of security for the most vulnerable systems.
The Trend Among All Quickly Growing Companies
Identity management company Beyond Identity found an interesting correlation between cybersecurity and quickly growing companies. The quickly growing companies are also the ones most likely to be taking cyber security seriously and investing in the latest high-tech tools.
Beyond Identity looked at companies growing in excess of 40% annually, and found that these companies were more likely (62%) than slower-growing organizations (48%) to be proactive toward cybersecurity threats, and also discuss the importance of security (76% to 51%) more frequently within the organization.
It’s hard to tell from the data whether the security or the rapid growth came first, but the study clearly indicates that the fastest-growing companies are taking cybersecurity seriously. In addition to being proactive and making financial investments, the fastest-growing companies are also most likely to educate their employees on cybersecurity, secure their hardware, create a security-focused work culture and invest in cybersecurity insurance.
The only cybersecurity practices used more frequently by slower growth companies, the study found, was anti-malware and firewall software and doing more frequent data backups. Clearly, the fastest-growing companies are spending more and making investments in the latest technologies to secure their systems.
Looking Towards the Future
Looking forward, it is becoming clear that companies will be forced to make more investments in advanced cyber security protection. The threat is only going to get bigger as the hackers will have more and more potential points of access due to the continued rollout of the Internet of Things (IoT) and a reliance on remote workers. In addition, malicious state actors and the prevalence of vertically integrated supply chains continue to raise the stakes.
Cyber threats are also becoming more and more advanced. Hackers many times have the same resources and training available to them as the best cyber security professionals, and due to the connectedness of the systems and the amount of data that is used by these organizations, the consequences of a beach are too severe to ignore.
As we have seen, artificial Intelligence and deep learning will continue to be used in more advanced cybersecurity tools, and are already being deployed by those who are taking cybersecurity seriously. Newer tools using behavior analytics are on the horizon as well. These sophisticated programs help determine patterns in a system and network activities to detect potential and real-time cyber threats. For example, an unusual increase in login activity from a certain user device could indicate a possible cyber security issue.
Blockchain technology is also on the horizon for the latest high-tech security programs. Every member in a blockchain is responsible for verifying the authenticity of the data added. Moreover, blockchains create a near-impenetrable network for hackers and will be commonly used in the near future to safeguard data in the cloud.
Going forward, look for the companies taking cybersecurity as the most serious and making the largest investment to be using blockchain with Artificial Intelligence to establish a robust verification system to keep potential cyber threats at bay.