This is the first installment of a four part series over the next two weeks on The Industrialization of Hacking.
The evolving trends of mobility, cloud computing, and the Internet of Everything (IoE) present unparalleled opportunities for businesses, consumers, and hackers alike. Modern networks go beyond traditional walls and include datacenters, endpoints, virtual, mobile, and the cloud. These networks and their components constantly evolve and spawn new attack vectors including: mobile devices, web-enabled and mobile applications, hypervisors, social media, browsers, smart appliances, and even vehicles.
At the same time, cyber attacks are increasingly sophisticated and discrete, driven by financial or political gain. In this rapidly changing threat landscape, security professionals face an era driven by new breed of highly motivated and well-armed adversaries or, put another way, the Industrialization of Hacking. Less sophisticated attacks of years past, like Blaster or Slammer, have grown in sophistication, leading to today’s advanced malware, spam and cyber attacks. In the past, simple exploitation to deface a web site or a destructive worm might have been the norm. However, today’s motivated attackers are disciplined and use systematic techniques that leverage advanced malware, spam, phishing and other cyberattacks with strategic intent and goals. The Industrialization of Hacking has created a faster, more effective, and efficient criminal economy that is profiting every day from attacks to our IT infrastructure.
Federal agencies and private monitoring companies agree that cyber attacks today are more frequent and more destructive. It’s no longer a matter of if these attacks will happen, but when and for how long. Cisco reports stopping an average of 320 million cyber attacks each day. Or more than 3,700 attacks every second. Cisco also finds that 75 percent of all attacks take only minutes to begin data exfiltration but take much longer to detect. More than half of all attacks persist for months—even years—before they are discovered. And it can take weeks or months for a security breach to be fully contained and remediated.
In the period before a successful attack is discovered, a targeted organization can hemorrhage precious intellectual property, state secrets, and sensitive customer and employee information, putting its reputation, resources, and valuation at risk. In 2014, the average cost of an organizational data breach was US$3.5 million, according to the Ponemon Institute. And that doesn’t include the professional costs to the defenders whose heads are on the proverbial chopping block.
In the second installment of The Industrialization of Hacking I’ll share insights on The Cybersecurity Arms Race.