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Hacktivism at all-time high

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Check Point’s 2015 security report has revealed that among other issues, known and and unknown malware is on the increase, mobile devices are a company’s biggest weak-point and preventing data loss is a concern for most enterprises.

Check Point Software Technologies has issued its 2015 Security Report, the company’s third annual report revealing the major security threats that impacted organisations across the world.

The 2015 Security Report provides insight into the degree of infiltration and sophistication of new threats in the enterprise. Mobility, virtualisation and other technologies have changed the way we do business. While organisations have adopted these tools to enhance productivity, they often forget about the security implications that arise when they lack the proper security implementations. The Check Point 2015 Security Report reveals the prevalence and growth of threats on enterprise networks, through information obtained over the course of 2014. This report is based on collaborative research and in-depth analysis of over 1,300 organisations (including 39 South African organisations), over 300,000 hours of monitored network traffic, from more than 16,000 threat prevention gateways and 1 million smartphones.

Key findings include:

Known and Unknown Malware Increased Exponentially

Malware rose at alarming rates in 2014. This year’s report revealed that 106 unknown malware hit an organisation every hour: 48 times more than the 2.2 downloads per hour reported in 2013. Unknown malware will continue to threaten the enterprise in the future. Even worse than unknown malware is zero-day malware, which is effectively built from scratch to exploit software vulnerabilities, of which vendors aren’t yet even aware. Cybercriminals are also continuing to use bots to amplify and accelerate the spread of malware. 83 percent of organisations studied were infected with bots in 2014, allowing constant communication and data sharing between these bots and their command and control servers.

Mobile Devices are a Company’s Biggest Vulnerability

Mobile devices are the weak links in the security chain, providing easier direct access to more valuable organisational assets than any other intrusion point. Check Point research found that for an organisation with more than 2,000 devices on its network, there’s a 50 percent chance that there are at least 6 infected or targeted mobile devices on their network. 72 percent of IT providers agreed that their top mobile security challenge is securing corporate information, and 67 percent said their second biggest challenge is managing personal devices storing both corporate and personal data. Corporate data is at risk, and being made aware of these risks is critical to taking the proper steps to secure mobile devices.

Using Risky Applications Comes at a High Price

Corporations frequently rely on applications to help their business be more organised and streamlined. However, these applications become vulnerable points of entry for businesses. Some applications, such as file sharing, are obviously risky. The rise of ‘shadow IT’, applications that aren’t sponsored or supported by the central IT organisation has led to even riskier business. Research revealed that 96 percent of organisations studied used at least one high-risk application in 2014, a 10-point increase from the previous year. Check Point research also unveiled that 12.7 high-risk application events happen every hour. That creates many opportunities for cybercriminals to access the corporate network – that is risky business.

Data Loss is Top of Mind

Cybercriminals are not the only threat to the integrity and security of corporate data. Just as quickly as a hacker could penetrate a network, in-network actions can also easily result in data loss. Check Point found that 81 percent of the organisations analysed suffered a data loss incident, up 41 percent from 2013. Data can unknowingly leak out of any organisation for a variety of reasons, most of those tied to current and past employee actions. While most security strategies focus on protecting data from hackers coming in, it is equally important to protect data from the inside out.

“When it comes to cyber security, we can no longer segment threats on a country-by-country basis. The same threats that cripple multinational organisations in America can take down an SME in South Africa – malware does not discriminate when it comes to organisation size or territory. The Internet has made the world a very small place, and new malware can infect millions of devices all over the world in minutes,” said Doros Hadjizenonos, Country Manager of Check Point South Africa.

“Today’s cybercriminals are sophisticated and ruthless: they prey on the weaknesses in a network, approaching any security layer as an open invitation to try to hack it. In order to protect themselves against attacks, security professionals and organisations alike must understand the nature of the latest exploits and how their networks are potentially impacted. Only by arming themselves with a combination of knowledge and strong security solutions can organisations truly protect themselves against these evolving threats. By making security a critical asset to your business, you can turn security into an enabler, and in doing so, you’re able to unlock innovation and foster an environment for high performance and productivity.”

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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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