Cyber-attacks have gone beyond Financial Services and Banking Sectors

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Oct 18, 2017, 1:19 pm IST
Updated Oct 18, 2017, 1:19 pm IST
Digitisation has not only revolutionised business models but also resulted in crime probing slowly into the cyber world.
Technological advancement has driven most services to route the digital way in order to engage and access a wider base of consumers across various geographies.
 Technological advancement has driven most services to route the digital way in order to engage and access a wider base of consumers across various geographies.

Cyber-attacks have had a history of targeting information and computer networks inhabiting the cyberspace and hampering an individual’s ability to access the same. It has resulted in many dramatic cyber-attacks over time and has exposed sensitive information capable of damaging critical infrastructure and computer systems of leading brands and organizations in the confines of the cyberspace.

 Digitisation has not only revolutionised business models but also resulted in crime probing slowly into the cyber world that relatively has proven to have more hazardous impacts that man could have anticipated up until a few years back. Technological advancement has driven most services to route the digital way in order to engage and access a wider base of consumers across various geographies. Real world problems now can be addressed from data churned in the cloud to provide real-time solutions.

Government’s support and drive for a Digital India has seen support from more business going online. In a growing economy, when a cyber crime has become more frequent in nature, targeting computer systems with vulnerabilities lacking the appropriate security software is a reality we are faced with; and from what world’s recent browser history suggests, this has been irrespective of any particular industry. We reached out to Tenable Network Security’s Country Manager (India & SAARC), Manoj Taskar and he had a lot to say in this regard.

It’s not just finance

Contrary to what it may seem to be the current news around you in India and the world right now, it’s not safe to assume that these attacks are restricted to the financial services and banking sector.

Though there is no dispute that a considerable amount of organizations suffering a security breach hail from these very sectors, reports and incidents mapped over time have shown that an equal amount of peril has been caused to the healthcare and the automotive industries among others as well. A myriad of different industries are being subject to such attacks each and every day, and every case is unique revealing different possibilities of cybercrime that are pretty shocking and dangerous.

Healthcare

According to various studies, it has emerged that approximately 75 per cent of major healthcare providers in the United States have experienced or faced malware attacks and infections that are capable of destroying a considerable amount of data or money. The very recent WannaCry ransomware attack is a stark example that exhibited how a significant number of major hospitals in the UK were affected and several lives were put at risk just by making their information that was on the cloud, inaccessible to the hospital staff. Any such information or sensitive data that has been stored in the cloud could be tampered with or shared and sold if the hackers can make their way to it.

As the hackers are getting more ingenious in their efforts with every passing day, an increasing number of individuals and industries are falling prey to them and becoming vulnerable to these attacks. By creating this fear they are driving consumers, governments and organisations to pay heavy ransoms preferably in bitcoins to decrypt critical information that they have been able to hack and source.

Private and Public Sector

Truth be told, Ransomware has eclipsed the other forms of cyber crimes in 2017. The growing sophistication within the cybercrime communities is enabling cybercrime services, where the profit margin is the biggest driver. As such, public, retail or private institutions are being indiscriminately targeted. India suffered probably very little of the Wannacry onslaught, as it was more spread across 150 countries, swamping machines with ransomware threats with at least over 48,000 attacks in India according to a Quickheal report.

Be it Petya or the recent Equifax data breach, what most astounding has been the expanse of the attack has been more spread out than the effect, still substantial and consistently growing. For example, according to a to a recent study, the number of German companies targeted by cyber-attacks in the past three years has tripled compared with the three years to 2015, with the figure is growing steadily.

Patching Cyber Vulnerabilities

Impacts of cyber-attacks can vary and incidents have shown how it can also turn out to be rather costly and disruptive affair. The energy sector, for example, has seen experts pointing out a trend of small and focused attacks on energy and utility companies costing them a loss of close to 13 million dollars’ worth of business every year and damage to substantial infrastructure. The time calls for a proactive standing ground against organized cyber crimes who find it easier to target vulnerable attacks be it for intelligence, ransom or radical data manipulation.

There has been a lot of talk about scripting laws on data protection and privacy as an aftermath to Supreme Court elevating right to privacy to a fundamental right. Security vulnerabilities and lack of modernized infrastructure can loom concerns over the protection of sensitive financial and private data. Take the Equifax data breach for example, that pilfered data including social security and credit card numbers of more than 143 million US citizens, leaving them exposed.

Proactive push towards new age security solutions

Institutions and organisations across the globe are steadily working towards creating safety mechanisms that could ascertain the security of their valuable data and infrastructure. Undoubtedly the threat of cybercrime has been starkly high on the global banking and financial services industry, however, it has been nothing short of a myth that these attacks could not creep into or affect different industries. The proof of the same is vividly visible through the tectonic increase in the number of such cases over the past few years. Understanding the nature of the attack and being digitally mindful is the need of the hour.

Companies in India, thus, need to be proactive to ensure foster efficiency and efficacy in cyber security management. The vision of becoming digital economy can be fulfilled when security is a high priority on the management agenda, building clearly defined security roadmaps to have a more structured implementation, top-down right from the C-suite executives. More importantly, adoption of intelligent and adaptive, a new age security solution is the key for government efforts to be successful.





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