COVID-19 has brought about a significant transformation in the landscape of cybersecurity. Cybercriminals are expanding their motivations beyond financial gain, with state-sponsored groups joining forces to orchestrate cyberwarfare. These well-funded groups pose a big challenge to effective defense, despite increased investments in security.
One disturbing trend is the rapid adoption of new technologies by cybercriminals for malicious purposes. These hacking groups are early adopters of advancements like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deepfake technology. The use of deepfakes allows them to impersonate identities and spread disinformation, causing extensive disruptions. Defenders find it difficult to identify and counter these threats due to the deceptive nature of deepfakes.
Another concerning trend is the increasing number of victims paying ransoms during attacks. The percentage of organizations paying ransoms has surged from 3% to 37% in recent years. Attackers not only encrypt files and demand ransoms, but they also publicly share stolen data to pressure and shame their victims into compliance.
In order to defend against cyberattacks in the age of new technologies, enterprises need to understand their adversaries and be self-aware. Organizations should be aware of their vulnerabilities, digital presence, and industry-specific cyber threats. Recognizing their brand’s appeal to cybercriminals and understanding the nature of the attackers – whether they are state-sponsored, financially motivated, or inexperienced individuals – will help in formulating effective responses.
Technology plays a crucial role in cybersecurity defense. Cybersecurity company CYFIRMA has developed a cloud-based platform called DeCYFIR, which offers a comprehensive unified threat management solution. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning models, the platform analyzes data at scale to predict attacks. It focuses on six crucial threat pillars: attack surface discovery, vulnerability intelligence, brand intelligence, digital risk monitoring, situational awareness, and cyber intelligence.
In India, the cybersecurity landscape is facing threats from state actors such as North Korea, Russia, and China. These countries employ cyberinfrastructure, malware, and tactics to target the Indian government and businesses. Collaboration among threat actor groups, often state-sponsored, is also on the rise globally. Hacking-as-a-service has become the norm, with nation-states hiring hackers from different countries instead of launching attacks themselves.
The use of generative AI is prevalent among both cyber attackers and defenders. Attackers utilize generative AI, deepfake, facial recognition, and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) to enhance their hacking strategies, surpassing cyber defenders in technological adaptation. Malware capabilities have also evolved significantly, with hackers creating multi-behavioral malware that adapts in real-time and dynamically alters its code as it spreads, powered by AI/ML engines. However, defenders are rapidly closing the gap by employing AI and ML to correlate information, automate threat monitoring, and automate mundane tasks.
Threat intelligence has its limitations as it often turns into a generic data feed for security controls. Cybersecurity teams react to fragmented and limited information, causing alert fatigue and impeding effective security measures. Real intelligence requires personalization, threat prioritization, and attribution to hackers. CYFIRMA has transitioned from a threat intelligence tool to an external threat landscape management platform, providing organizations with a comprehensive tool that links gathered intelligence to infrastructure, digital footprint, brand, industry, technology, and geolocation.
As the cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve, organizations need to stay vigilant and adapt to the ever-changing threats. By understanding their adversaries, leveraging advanced technologies, and employing comprehensive threat management solutions, enterprises can strengthen their defense against cyberattacks, ensuring the security of their valuable assets and sensitive information.