In the ongoing, constantly-escalating security arms race, what do new vulnerabilities in our networks and data-centers look like? Doros Hadjizenonos, country manager, Check Point SA offers his predictions.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s famous line resonated back in the 19th century Parisian literary circles, and it resonates today in the 21st century cyber security industry. With every new tool and technology introduced into the business IT environment, new vulnerabilities follow — ripe for cybercriminals and hackers’ hopes of making either a dishonest dollar or cause disruption, fear, uncertainty and doubts in the minds of the general public.
In this ongoing, constantly-escalating security arms race, what do new vulnerabilities in our networks and data-centers look like? Here are Check Point’s predictions for 2018.
Ransomware & Malware Multiply
Ransomware has been a cash cow for criminals, as well as a disguise for more destructive purposes; for example, Petya looked like ransomware but caused damage by locking up data. All types of users – from consumers to corporations – have fallen prey to ransomware, causing reasonable suspicion that it will continue to grow. We can expect to see large, orchestrated worldwide outbreaks along the lines of the early 2017 WannaCry attack. We can also expect to see criminals getting creative in their extortion tactics, tactics such as “if you infect two contacts, we’ll give you your data back at a lower cost.”
Overall, as operating systems beef up their security, we expect to see a decline in the use of exploits to target vulnerabilities, in favor of an increase in the use of human-error driven basic hacking techniques. However, targeted attacks using sophisticated, nation-state sponsored weaponized tools are emerging, and the rate of attack is likely continue to rise.
Utilization of server-less computing and data storage in the cloud is becoming more widely adopted in business. However, it’s worth remembering that cloud technology and the infrastructure that supports it is relatively new and evolving, and that there are still serious security concerns that provide a backdoor for hackers to access enterprise systems and spread rapidly across networks. Misconceptions about the responsibilities and level of security needed operate safely within a cloud environment are common – as are misconfigurations – which leave the door open to breaches.
During 2017, over 50% of security incidents handled by Check Point’s incident response team were cloud-related, and more than 50% of those were account takeovers of SaaS apps or hosted servers. With the increased use of cloud-based file sharing services, data leaks will continue to be a major concern for organizations moving to the cloud. This was seen most recently when a breach at consultancy firm, Deloitte enabled hackers to access confidential records of several clients.
The growing adoption of SaaS-based email such as Office 365 and Google’s G-Suite makes for attractive cybercrime targets, and we expect cybercriminals to ramp up their cloud attacks during 2018.
Mobile devices are part of the business IT fabric everywhere, yet they continue to be rarely, if ever, secured appropriately, in light of the vulnerability risk they present. We’ll continue to discover flaws in mobile operating systems that highlight the need for organizations to take a more serious approach to the protection of their mobile infrastructure and end-point devices against malware, spyware, and other cyber-attacks.
Mobile malware will continue to proliferate, especially mobile banking malware, as Malware as a Service (MaaS) keeps trending upward. MaaS allows threat actors of lower the technical barriers to launching attacks. Cryptominers also gained prominence in 2017, and we can expect to see more cryptomining malware being dropped onto mobile devices to harvest cryptocurrencies for criminals in the near future.
The majority of critical infrastructure networks were designed and built before the threat of cyberattacks. Whether the target involves telephone/mobile phone networks, electrical grids, power plants, or water treatment plants, it speaks to our good luck that there hasn’t been a large-scale, successful attack on critical infrastructure that impacts millions of people… yet. The DDoS attack against domain directory service DynDNS in 2016, which caused an internet outage affecting users of large web businesses such as Netflix and Amazon, provides a glimpse of what is possible in critical infrastructure cyberattack. An attack of this type and scale will happen, and it would not be surprising to see it happen in the next 12 months.
Internet of (Insecure) Things
As more smart devices are built into the fabric of enterprise networks, organizations will need to start using better security practices for their networks and the devices themselves.
The potential attack surface expands with the growth of IoT device usage, and attacks on compromised IoT devices will continue to grow. We will see more variations of the Mirai and BlueBorne attacks coming our way in 2018. Better security practices in IoT will be critical for preventing large-scale attacks – and may even need to be enforced by international regulation.
For every business opportunity that our hyper-connected world is creating, that same hyper-connectivity creates criminal opportunity for cyber attackers. Every environment is a potential target: enterprise networks, cloud, mobile, and IoT connected devices. Defending these networks require proactivity: pre-emptively blocking threats before they can infect and damage. By using threat intelligence to power consolidated, unified security measures, businesses can automatically protect against new and emerging types of attack, across all environments. Proactivity coupled with innovation marks the path to winning the cybersecurity arms race.
CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!
Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER
From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.
Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:
LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home
LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine, debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules, a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation.
Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.
The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft
Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now:
- Hoppy American IPA
- Golden American Pale Ale
- Full-bodied English Stout
- Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
- Dry Czech Pilsner
The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.
“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”
Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.
CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary
At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.
Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.
Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.
“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”
Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops