10th Jan 2021 / 360PRWire / Let’s face it; we live in a digital world. Our work lives, personal lives, and finances have all begun gravitating toward the world of the internet, mobile computing, and electronic media. Unfortunately, this widespread phenomenon makes us more vulnerable than ever to malicious attacks, invasions of privacy, fraud, and other such unpleasantries.
That’s why cybersecurity is such a vital part of a secure and well-ordered digital world. Cybersecurity keeps us safe from hackers, cyber criminals, and other agents of fraud. As quoted by Simplilearn.com
However, LogPoint says:
“…just like you protect your home by locking your door when you leave, you should protect your network and computer with cyber security.”
As per them Cyber security refers to protecting systems connected to the internet from threats in cyberspace. It involves protecting software, data, and hardware and helps prevent cyber-criminals from gaining access to devices or the networks.
Cybersecurity risk assessments help organizations understand, control, and mitigate all forms of cyber risk. It is a critical component of risk management strategy and data protection efforts.
Risk assessments are nothing new and whether you like it or not, if you work in information security, you are in the risk management business. As organizations rely more on information technology and information systems to do business, the digital risk landscape expands, exposing ecosystems to new critical vulnerabilities.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a Cybersecurity Framework to provide a base for risk assessment practices.
What is Cyber Risk?
Cyber risk is the likelihood of suffering negative disruptions to sensitive data, finances, or business operations online. Most commonly, cyber risks are associated with events that could result in a data breach.
Cyber risks are sometimes referred to as security threats.
Examples of cyber risks include:
Though commonly used interchangeably, cyber risks and vulnerabilities are not the same. A vulnerability is a weakness that results in unauthorized network access when exploited, and a cyber risk is the probability of a vulnerability being exploited.
Cyber risks are categorized from zero, low, medium, to high-risks. The three factors that impact vulnerability assessments are:
What is the threat?
How vulnerable is the system?
What is the reputational or financial damage if breached or made unavailable?
Using this simple methodology, a high-level calculation of cyber risk in an IT infrastructure can be developed:
Threat risk = Threat x Vulnerability x Information Value
Imagine you were to assess the risk associated with a cyber attack compromising a particular operating system. This operating system has a known backdoor in version 1.7 of its software that is easily exploitable via physical means and stores information of high value on it. If your office has no physical security, your risk would be high.
However, if you have good IT staff who can identify vulnerabilities and they update the operating system to version 1.8, your vulnerability is low, even though the information value is still high because the backdoor was patched in version 1.8.
A few things to keep in mind is there are very few things with zero risk to a business process or information system, and risk implies uncertainty. If something is guaranteed to happen, it’s not a risk. It’s part of general business operations.
What is a Cyber Risk Assessment?
Cyber risk assessments are defined by NIST as risk assessments are used to identify, estimate, and prioritize risk to organizational operations, organizational assets, individuals, other organizations, and the Nation, resulting from the operation and use of information systems.
The primary purpose of a cyber risk assessment is to keep stakeholders informed and support proper responses to identified risks. They also provide an executive summary to help executives and directors make informed decisions about security.
The information security risk assessment process is concerned with answering the following questions:
What are our organization’s most important information technology assets?
What data breach would have a major impact on our business whether from malware, cyber attack or human error? Think customer information.
Can all threat sources be identified?
What is the level of the potential impact of each identified threat?
What are the internal and external vulnerabilities?
What is the impact if those vulnerabilities are exploited?
What is the likelihood of exploitation?
What cyber attacks, cyber threats, or security incidents could impact affect the ability of the business to function?
What is the level of risk my organization is comfortable taking?
If you can answer those questions, you will be able to make a determination of what to protect. This means you can develop IT security controls and data security strategies for risk remediation. Before you can do that though, you need to answer the following questions:
What is the risk I am reducing?
Is this the highest priority security risk?
Am I reducing the risk in the most cost-effective way?
This will help you understand the information value of the data you are trying to protect and allow you to better understand your information risk management process in the scope of protecting business needs.
Why Perform a Cyber Risk Assessment?
There are a number of reasons you want to perform a cyber risk assessment and a few reasons you need to. Let’s walk through them:
Reduction of Long-Term Costs
identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities, then working on mitigating them has the potential to prevent or reduce security incidents which saves your organization money and/or reputational damage in the long-term
Provides a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Template for Future Assessments
Cyber risk assessments aren’t one of the processes, you need to continually update them, doing a good first turn will ensure repeatable processes even with staff turnover
Better Organizational Knowledge
Knowing organizational vulnerabilities gives you a clear idea of where your organization needs to improve
Avoid Data Breaches
Data breaches can have a huge financial and reputational impact on any organization
Avoid Regulatory Issue
Customer data that is stolen because you failed to comply with HIPAA, PCI DSS or APRA CPS 234
Avoid Application Downtime
Internal or customer-facing systems need to be available and functioning for staff and customers to do their jobs
Theft of trade secrets, code, or other key information assets could mean you lose business to competitors
Beyond that, cyber risk assessments are integral to information risk management and any organization’s wider risk management Strategy.
However, team 360prwire says:
“…team360prwire has collaborated on various projects like 360PRLaw, 360PRLive, 360PRGuest etc we think that Cyber Security should also include disaster recovery or business continuity planning.
Which outlines how the organization will recover from any cyber attacks in the future as well as preventative methods, such as educating employees
The importance of cyber security – Why is it important?
The importance of cyber security comes down to the desire to keep information, data, and devices private and safe. In today’s world, people store vast quantities of data on computers and other internet-connected devices. Much of which is sensitive, such as passwords or financial data.
If a cybercriminal was to gain access to this data, they could cause a range of problems. They could share sensitive information, use passwords to steal funds, or even change data so that it benefits them in some way.
Companies need cyber security to keep their data, finances, and intellectual property safe. Individuals need it for similar reasons, although intellectual property is less of a factor, and there is a higher risk of losing important files, such as family photos. In the case of public services or governmental organizations, cyber security helps ensure that the community can continue to rely on their services. For example, if a cyber attack targeted a power plant, it could cause a city-wide blackout. If it targeted a bank, it could steal from hundreds of thousands of people.
Examples of Damages to Companies Affected by Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches
The amount of cyber attacks and data breaches in recent years is staggering and it’s easy to produce a laundry list of companies who are household names that have been affected.
Here are just a few examples. For the complete list, see our biggest data breaches post.
The Equifax cybercrime identity theft event affected approximately 145.5 million U.S. consumers along with 400,000-44 million British residents and 19,000 Canadian residents. Equifax shares dropped 13% in early trading the day after the breach and numerous lawsuits were filed against Equifax as a result of the breach. Not to mention the reputational damage that Equifax suffered. On July 22 2019, Equifax agreed to a settlement with the FTC which included a $300 million fund for victim compensation, $175m for states and territories in the agreement and $100 million in fines.
Between February and March 2014, eBay was the victim of a breach of encrypted passwords, which resulted in asking all of its 145 million users to reset their password. Attackers used a small set of employee credentials to access this trove of user data. The stolen information included encrypted passwords and other personal information, including names, e-mail addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth. The breach was disclosed in May 2014, after a month-long investigation by eBay.
Adult Friend Finder
In October 2016, hackers collected 20 years of data on six databases that included names, email addresses and passwords for The FriendFinder Network. The FriendFinder Network includes websites like Adult Friend Finder, Penthouse.com, Cams.com, iCams.com and Stripshow.com. Most of the passwords were protected only by the weak SHA-1 hashing algorithm, which meant that 99% of them had been cracked by the time LeakedSource.com published its analysis of the entire data set on November 14.
Yahoo disclosed that a breach in August 2013 by a group of hackers had compromised 1 billion accounts. In this instance, security questions and answers were also compromised, increasing the risk of identity theft. The breach was first reported by Yahoo on December 14, 2016, and forced all affected users to change passwords and to reenter any unencrypted security questions and answers to make them encrypted in the future. However, by October of 2017, Yahoo changed the estimate to 3 billion user accounts. An investigation revealed that users’ passwords in clear text, payment card data and bank information were not stolen. Nonetheless, this remains one of the largest data breaches of this type in history.
While these are a few examples of high-profile data breaches, it’s important to remember that there are even more that never made it to the front page.
Benefits of cyber security
By implementing security, businesses and individuals can protect themselves against the full range of cyber security threats outlined below, as well as the numerous others that exist.
With cyber security, companies do not have to worry about unauthorized users accessing their network or data. It helps them protect both their end users and their employees.
Even in those rare cases that security does not prevent an attack or breach, it improves the recovery time afterward. In addition companies will often notice that customers and developers are more confident in products that have strong cyber security solutions in place.
Types of cyber security threats
There are dozens of types of cyber security threats, but the following are some of the most common ones:
A DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service Attack is when cybercriminals overwhelm a network or its servers by sending too much traffic. This prevents the network from handling valid requests and makes the entire system unusable. It can completely stop organizations
This malicious software can include computer viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, worms, and any other program or file that can harm the computer. Malware is commonly spread by downloads that seem legitimate or attachments in emails.
Within the category of malware, there are several types of cyber security threats:
- Adware is advertising software that spreads malware.
- Botnets are numerous computers infected with malware that form a network. Cybercriminals use them to perform online tasks without the permission of the devices’ owners.
- Ransomware will lock data and files and threaten to leave the files locked or delete them unless the victim sends payment.
- Spyware records the actions of a user, such as gathering credit card information.
- Trojans are malware but disguised to appear as legitimate software. After being uploaded, they collect data or cause damage
- Viruses are self-replicating. They attach themselves to a file, then spread through the computer’s system.
This type of attack involves the cybercriminal intercepting conversations or data transmissions between multiple people. An example would be a cyber attack using an unsecured Wi-Fi network to intercept the data that the victim sends from their computer to the network.
This type of cyber security threat involves sending fake emails from seemingly legitimate sources to get information such as credit card details or passwords.
This type of attack tricks users to break security procedures by using human interactions. Cybercriminals commonly combine social engineering attacks with others, such as phishing, to increase the chances of the victim clicking on a link or downloading a file.
SQL stands for Structured Query Language. A SQL injection aims to perform actions on data in a database and potentially steal it. It involves inserting malicious code via SQL statements, taking advantage of data-driven applications’ vulnerabilities.
Challenges of cyber security
It is always evolving
Perhaps the biggest challenge of cyber security is the continuous growth in technology, which presents cybercriminals with an ever-growing list of potential opportunities to try to exploit. To make this even more challenging, cybercriminals constantly develop new methods of conducting cyber attacks.
The result is cyber security software and experts constantly create new solutions to close potential vulnerabilities only for cybercriminals to continuously discover other ways to conduct an attack. As such, cyber security is always evolving.
It tends to be incredibly challenging for organizations to stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving nature of cyber security, and it can be costly as well. It requires constant attention to the security field as well as regular updates.
The Amount of Data
Another major challenge of cyber security is the quantity of data that most organizations have. The more data, the more attractive a target a company becomes. Especially when that data is sensitive information. Not only does this put the people whose data is stored by the organization at risk of having their information stolen, but it also puts the organization itself at risk of lawsuits if that information is obtained because of negligence.
The need for training and education
Yet another challenge is the fact that it is impossible to rely solely on cyber security software or other solutions; user education is also essential. Employees at a company need to understand what actions are risky. Such as opening links from unknown emails or accidentally bringing malware on their smartphones. This requires time off their normal tasks for training and the company to budget for that training.
Not enough cyber security professionals
On top of all the other challenges, there is currently a shortage in the field of cyber security. Some estimates indicate that there are as many as two million cyber security jobs around the world that are not filled. This challenge is somewhat overcome by machine learning and other technological advances, but it is still an obstacle.
Cyber Insurance as a cyber security solution
Managing cyber security internally can be incredibly overwhelming and a constant uphill battle. An Insurance company that offers a 360° cyber security solution with proactive, cybersecurity monitoring with a security system in place, companies can focus on their operations like in a press release issued recently on Inter Press service (IPS News)
Two Major Cyber Security insurance companies announced their partnership.
Defy Insurance and Cowbell Cyber. A synergy of that level would be a beacon of hope, a great fit because they both focus on using technology to give businesses the protection they need to anticipate and recover from serious risks.
The partnership brings significant efficiencies to Defy’s Cyber Insurance Agents such as to prepare multiple, customized quotes in a few clicks, alongside Cowbell Factors to identify risk deviation from the industry average and Every quote issued by Cowbell Prime can be instantaneously bound.“
“Vulnerability Management, Capacity Building Strategies, Cyber Defense Education & Training is the only way people will learn to browse the internet wisely, just like we, the Cyber Security professionals or developers do.”–
Wassy O’Dein, Defy Insurance