As we survey the threat landscape, two things are certain—targeted attacks and advanced persistent threats (APTs) are here to stay, and organizations face increased risk from advanced attacks compared to the past two years. Several existing trends will continue, and we’re seeing attackers refine their tools in ways that will drive new trends in the coming months.
People usually associate “advanced persistent threat” (APT) with malicious outsiders—nation-state or other sophisticated attackers. Generally, once an APT attacker has established an initial foothold, they conduct “low-and-slow”-style attacks involving a prolonged period of reconnaissance and lateral movement. Insider threats are usually thought of as intentional (or sometimes accidental) acts of data theft or other compromise committed by trusted users who know their way around and have legitimate, open access to sensitive assets.
It goes without saying that rigorous security controls are irreplaceable. But no matter how strong an organization’s cybersecurity defenses are, determined attackers will still get in. Whether malicious insiders or external actors, persistent attackers fly below the radar and reside for months inside a network. They’re patient, studying the infrastructure and carefully planning their attack because what they’re typically after are the crown jewels of your business: essential data volumes, intellectual property, financial transactions, or revenue-dependent business operations.
Deception can play a powerful, multifaceted role in helping financial services organizations protect their crown jewels. Our recent post, By Detecting Lateral Movements, Banks Can Get Ahead of Fraud and APTs (Aug. 21, 2017) described how deception is used to combat fraud. In this post, we’ll look at how deception can play a strategic role in defeating insider threats.
By annually tracking the cost of data breaches, Ponemon Institute has helped instill broad awareness that these costs continue to increase. As noted in our report earlier this year, Ponemon also offers some insight on steps companies can take to minimize these costs, citing the positive impact of investment in pre-established incident response teams, employee training, and enhanced encryption.
Cybersecurity is in the headlines as never before, commanding greater executive attention. As the need for cybersecurity solutions has grown, record numbers of new technologies have emerged to fill the demand. But despite growing cyber spending, budgets for most organizations are finite—and so are the human resources to support and maintain the vast range of security tools they already own. It’s therefore essential to carefully scrutinize vendor offerings before signing on the dotted line.