Cyber Security: Lessons We Can Learn From The Pandemic And Cyberwar

Inadequate attention to the protection of corporate networks and information can lead to fatal consequences. According to statistics, more than 60% of small businesses that fall victim to hackers cease operations within six months of a successful cyberattack. Quality managed detection&response services can significantly decrease such sad statistics.

Cyber security in the conditions of war

Moreover, Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has changed the context of cyber security, as Lindy Cameron, Head of the British National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC), stated. This apt statement very successfully characterizes the situation in the field of digital security and data protection in the conditions of Russia’s hybrid war against the whole world.

While real military operations are taking place in Ukraine on a real battlefield, hostile actions by the Russian Federation are increasingly being observed in many countries, which do not represent a classic military invasion but aim to oppress and cause harm through covert operations, including cyber warfare.

It leads to the actualization of cyber security and privacy issues. What digital war is about, what events unfold in the cyber world at the state level, and how to protect yourself.

New working conditions require changes in corporate policies.

Another battlefield started about two years ago when the pandemic unfolded. COVID-19 has affected all aspects of personal and professional life and has led to changes in organizations’ approaches to security. Millions of workers now access corporate networks or cloud resources via home Wi-Fi, IT professionals troubleshoot mission-critical systems remotely, and supply chains are changing and digitizing.

A large number of employees stay at home, communicating with colleagues using teleconferencing and video conferencing software, and attacks on these services will continue to be a problem. Ransomware attacks show no signs of slowing down. Organizations now have to deal with their employees performing many work and personal tasks simultaneously from multiple devices in an environment that may not be sufficiently secure.

Organizations need to adopt formal corporate policies and procedures that employees must follow to help organizations combat common threats, such as attempts to connect a session to eavesdrop on conversations and view presentations that may contain sensitive information.

MDR providers recommend that organizations take simple actions such as checking and cleaning invitation lists, password protecting video conferences, sending passwords separately from meeting invitations, manually admitting participants by the moderator, and blocking the meeting via email.

Also, organizations should focus on education and training for all employees to prevent phishing attacks, which most often lead to internal systems or confidential data hacking.

Implementing a zero-trust security model will protect remote workers and hybrid cloud environments and reduce the risk of ransomware threats. Building zero-trust security requires that all users, both inside and outside the organization’s network, undergo authentication, authorization, and ongoing configuration and security checks before gaining or maintaining access to applications and data.

Where to start – Easy steps of information security management

The main advice is that even small companies should adopt a risk-oriented approach and implement an information security management system (ISMS), especially startups that are snowballing. It is much easier to build processes from the very beginning of an organization’s development than to urgently change processes when an incident has occurred, and intellectual property has been lost.

There are several standards (ISO27001, NIST, CSA, ISF, PCI, and others) that you can study yourself or engage third-party MDR consultants to implement. The main steps that should be given the most attention:

• Get the support of management to ensure that there are enough people to work on the project (or a trustworthy MDR service provider) and determine the budget to implement the necessary changes.

• Determine the scope of influence. For large organizations, it probably makes sense to implement an information security management system (ISMS) in only some of the most critical parts of your organization, which will significantly reduce project risk.

However, if the company has fewer than 50 employees, it will probably be easier to include the entire company in the scope. It is also necessary to create an information security policy, define a risk assessment methodology, perform a risk assessment and decide how to mitigate the identified risk areas.

• You need to be able to manage ISMS, monitor multiple performance indicators, and implement principles of continuous improvement.

• The easiest way to protect yourself and your sensitive data (especially crucial during the time of cyber war) is to install a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, is an internet service that ensures your privacy while surfing the web and protects your internet connection. That is done by tunneling and encrypting data, in particular hiding your IP address, which denies many effective schemes of hackers and information resource hunters.

Winding up

There is a perception that strategic planning is no longer practical or necessary in today’s technological environment, where the digital world is rapidly changing. However, strategy is still an essential part of defining clear company goals and how to achieve them. A clear and concise strategic security plan allows the board, management, and employees to see what is expected of them, focus their efforts in the right direction, and know when they have achieved their goals.

Furthermore, pandemics and cyber war conditions increase the necessity of taking all the important measures for business, government, and individual security. An information security strategic plan can guide an organization to mitigate, transfer, accept or avoid information risk related to people, processes, and technology.

The business benefits of creating and maintaining an effective strategic information security plan are significant and can increase competitiveness, ROI, and safety in general. It may include upholding industry standards, avoiding harmful security incidents, maintaining the business’s reputation, and maintaining commitments to shareholders, customers, partners, and suppliers.

The plan should include a list of deliverables and benchmarks for the initiatives, including assigning responsible persons or MDR providers.

Information security is a journey, not a destination. Implementing a strategic security plan is a critical success factor for organizations that truly want to maximize their ability to manage information risks.