Unknown service accounts; privileged passwords not changed in 25yrs
The insider threat to take centrestage in 2015, with greater sophistication
THE ‘Sony hack’ is not an anomaly, in that the company is being called out for poor security for behaviour that is actually very common across enterprises, according to network security specialist CyberArk.
The prevalence of poor password policies is mindboggling, CyberArk said in a statement, adding that it sees this “all the time” when it meets with prospective customers at large Global 2000 enterprises.
Unknown/ undiscovered service accounts; privileged passwords that have not been changed in as many as 25 years; and attackers exploiting privileges can go undiscovered on a network for months or even years, said the company.
Last November, Sony Pictures Entertainment publicly disclosed that it had been hacked, which saw the theft of large amounts of internal corporate data.
The insider threat is expected to take centrestage, with greater sophistication, in the security landscape in 2015 as it has proven to be the quickest way to breach networks and steal data, CyberArk said.
Rogue employees today are not alone; they may collaborate with external cybercriminals armed with sophisticated technologies.
Organisations will start to be more aware that insider threats cost more than being breached by an external attacker, and continue to invest more in behaviour indicators and classifying data and monitoring access.
The Kevin Bacon effect of remote access
The ‘six degrees’ that separate attackers from your IP/ data often include a vendor with access to your systems or other remote access, CyberArk warned.
Threat investigators have traced attacks to non-traditional targets such trucking companies and all types of professional services firms, from management consultants and auditors to litigation attorneys, frequently as a key step in an attack on a business partner.
CyberArk said its research shows 60% of businesses now allow third-party vendors remote access to their internal networks. Of this group, 58% of organisations have no confidence that third-party vendors are securing and monitoring privileged access to their network.
IoT in enterprises
In 2015, enterprises will start to adopt devices that communicate with each other, giving rise to the Internet of Things (IoT). According to Gartner, 4.9 billion connected things will be in use next year, an increase of 30% from 2014.
Security issues surrounding IoT will also gain traction due to the fact that these devices are not inherently secure, which could potentially lead to device hacks or data leakages.
Organisations will increasingly be concerned with who manages and operates these devices, and the technology approaches to managing the security and risk of IoT.
More severe banking threats
Malware targeting the banking industry is expected to be more advanced in 2015. Other than the usual phishing and social engineering attacks, banking malware used by cybercriminals are expected to be stealthier, being able to hide on networks, targeting privileged accounts.
They will also have capabilities such as being able to steal users’ credentials, along with harvesting data to send back to command-and-control systems used by cybercriminals.
This will prompt enterprises to invest in safeguarding and restricting access to data on networks, CyberArk said.
Cybercriminals target healthcare
The healthcare industry will be a key target of cyber-attackers in 2015. A report by BitSight Technologies has already found that the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry ranks the lowest in terms of security performance, compared with the finance, utility and retail sectors.
Such data has a longer shelf life and are therefore more valuable than users’ financial data which are likely to change over time.
CyberArk said it expects to see campaigns targeting patients’ records in the healthcare industry. With the IoT gaining traction among organisations, there could potentially be security breaches of medical devices such as pacemakers.
Data protection laws in full force
While legal frameworks have started to be firmer, 2015 will see more rapid developments surrounding data protection law. This will put added pressure on organisations in the region to secure the data of customers.
This includes coming up to internal data protection strategies such as having privileged and restricted access to more sensitive customer data.
Social media, tools as a threat frontier
Social media, along with collaborative and social tools such as Google Docs, have gained traction in recent years and the trend is expected to continue into 2015.
However, social media and tools are set to be the next threat vector for enterprises. Many organisations have corporate social media pages but do not have the same vigilance level when it comes to security as they do with sensitive corporate data.
Social media accounts are effectively poster children for the vulnerabilities associated with shared privileged accounts, CyberArk said.
Hackers and malicious insiders will target the passwords for these accounts, which are easy to crack and are shared among teams.
Cloud adoption drives privileged account security
Organisations have turned to cloud computing and mobile devices to stay competitive as well as increase the productivity of employees in recent years.
As the use of cloud continues to grow in enterprises in the year ahead, SaaS, PaaS and IaaS (Software- Platform- and Infrastructure-as-a-Service) will lead to an explosion of privileged accounts due to the presence of third-party vendors on internal networks.
Organisations will look to enhance security of privileged accounts with more capabilities such as context-aware access controls and automatic credential management.
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