The rate of data breaches are increasing drastically throughout the year. Cyber-attacks could cause severe disruption to a company’s business functions or operational supply chain, impact reputation, compromise customer information or result in loss of intellectual property. In the era of the digital age, we rely extensively on internet and storage devices for so many aspects of our lives that the need to be proactive and vigilant to protect against cyber threats has never been greater. To achieve security within the domain, we need to follow are increasing drastically throughout the year. Cyber-attacks could cause severe disruption to a company’s business functions or operational supply chain, impact reputation, compromise customer information or result in loss of intellectual property. In the era of the digital age, we rely extensively on internet and storage devices for so many aspects of our lives that the need to be proactive and vigilant to protect against cyber threats has never been greater. To achieve security within the domain, we need to follow good cyber hygiene – that is, making sure we are protecting and maintaining systems and devices appropriately and using cyber security best practices.
Creating clear procedures for the basic elements of cyber hygiene will ensure that best practices are applied consistently. The goal should be to keep the data contained within the network manageable, grant access only to employees as their need is dictated by their job function, and to be prepared for any potential incident with a detailed, tested, incident response plan in place well in advance of an incident or breach. According to Gartner, by 2020 as much as 60 per cent of enterprise information security budgets will be allocated to rapid detection and response approaches.
“If you have a USB port on your computer that’s not disabled, you can take any device and upload a malware” says William Hilarides, Commander of Naval Sea systems.
What do you mean by Cyber Mess?
Lack of security controls in modern information system which eventually increases the likelihood of a cyber risk or a data breach can be termed as a cyber mess.
Cyber mess can be classified into two categories focusing on technical and non-technical issues. A technical cyber mess can occur because of absence of the following:
Non-technical issue mainly concentrates on absence of employee training, security awareness, organization policies and social engineering awareness.
Chertoff, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says
“Malicious cyber activity is occurring on an unprecedented scale with extraordinary sophistication, Eighty percent of cyber attacks are preventable if we all practiced basic cyber hygiene, such as turning off your computer at night and using complex passwords”
Cyber Hygiene recommendations
The real challenge is translating complex, technical cyber data into practical information that can be easily understood by the business as well as security pros. Many variables come into play when it comes to understanding cyber risk: industry sector, infrastructure, company size, supply chain, location, your online presence, and many more factors. Cyber hygiene can include basic steps like patching vulnerable systems, mitigating known threats in application, hardening servers and network sensors.
Companies irrespective of their size must concentrate on cleaning up the cyber mess on a regular basis. The idea of performing an external penetration testing once in a year or very few times is like cleaning your house once in a year, which means that the house remains dirty almost every day of the year. Organization’s must recruit cyber security professionals and should conduct regular internal risk audits and risk assessments. Attackers are beginning to use sophisticated techniques. To tackle such issue, we have to implement defence in depth techniques at all levels. This layered security mechanism increases the security of the system as a whole. If one security mechanism is compromised or failed, other mechanisms may still provide the necessary security to protect the data.
Cyber Hygiene rules
In the enterprise, good cyber hygiene would be ensuring that individual data points, devices and your networks are protected against vulnerabilities while also ensuring that all systems are maintained, if not future proofed, by using cyber security best practices. Good cyber hygiene would also mean that security and monitoring is controlled exclusively form a centrally managed point, pushed out to outlying terminals, and not reliant upon individuals to update their systems.
Steps involved in implementing cyber hygiene:
“Cyber hygiene can help tackle a significant chunk of cyber crime, Cyber hygiene needs to be applied both at home and at work because what cyberspace is doing is breaking down the barriers between someone’s job and their personal life” says former UK Armed forces minister, Nick Harvey.
So, Lets cultivate the habit of using complex passwords, changing passwords regularly, contactless payments using tokenization, encrypting data at rest and at motion, and conducting security awareness programs for the employees.
In other words, Implementation of cyber hygiene policies and principles throughout an organization can help reduce most of the cyber threats and cyber events by eliminating the cyber mess that is spread like viruses throughout every corners of a company.corners of a company.
Edited by Pierluigi Paganini
(Security Affairs – Hackers, cyber security)