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Application SecurityMobile DataMobile SecuritySecurity

Growing Your Business: Millennials and M-Commerce

December 6, 2018 — by Mike O'Malley0

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Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force—a position they’ve held since 2016—and they’re involved in the majority (73%) of B2B purchasing decisions. Raised in the age of the Internet, they’re digital natives and easily adopt and adapt to new technologies. And mobile apps are their lifelines.

Why does this matter? Well, when you combine Millennials’ tech savviness with their business acumen, their clout in a digital economy comes into focus. As both decision-makers and connoisseurs of mobile technology, they can make or break you in a low-growth economy if your business model doesn’t square with their preferences.

In other words, if you’re not embracing mobile commerce, you may soon be ancient history. This generation has little-to-no use for brick-and-mortar storefronts, banks, etc., instead preferring to use apps for shopping, financial transactions and more.

Of course, making m-commerce a linchpin of your business model isn’t risk free; cybersecurity concerns are of critical importance. Increasingly, personal data protection is tied directly to consumer loyalty to a particular brand, and Millennials in particular care about how their data is used and safeguarded.

You Can’t Rush Greatness

While Millennials are renowned for an “I want it fast, and I want it now” attitude (which explains why 63% of them use their smartphone to shop every day, versus trekking to a store), the biggest mistake you can make is overlooking security in a rush to roll out a mobile strategy.

The fact is, vulnerabilities on m-commerce platforms can result in severe financial impacts; the average cost of a corporate data breach is $3.86 million. If a mobile app or mobile responsive e-commerce site is hit by an application attack, for example, short-term profit loss (which can escalate quickly) and longer-term reputation loss are serious risks. And as we move into 2019, there are several mobile security threats that we need to take seriously.

[You may also like: Are Your Applications Secure?]

Baking cybersecurity into your mobile strategy—as a core component, not an add-on—is, without question, necessary. The reason is manifold: For one thing, mobile devices (where your app primarily lives) are more susceptible to attacks. Secondly, mobile commerce websites are often implemented with a web application firewall to protect it.  Thirdly, Millennials’ reliance on m-commerce, both as B2B and B2C consumers, means you stand to lose significant business if your app or website go “down.” And finally, Millennials are security conscious.

Securing the Secure Customer Experience

So how can you help ensure your m-commerce platform, and thereby your Millennial customer base, is secure? A number of ways:

  • Guard your app’s code from the get-go. Test the code for vulnerabilities, ensure it’s easy to patch, and protect it with encryption.
  • Consider a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to secure your APIs and your website.
  • Run real-time threat analytics.
  • Be mindful of how customer data is stored and secured. (Don’t pull an Uber and store data unencrypted!)
  • Patch often. Because security threats evolve constantly, so must your security patches! Just ask Equifax about the importance of patching…

[You may also like: Growing Your Business: Security as an Expectation]

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of proactive security measures you can take, but it’s a good start. As I’ve said time and time again, in an increasingly insecure world where security and availability are the cornerstones of the digital consumer, cybersecurity should never be placed on the back burner of company priorities. Don’t wait for an attack to up your security game. At that point, trust is broken with your Millennial customer base and your business is in trouble. Be proactive. Always.

Read “Radware’s 2018 Web Application Security Report” to learn more.

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What Can We Learn About Cybersecurity from the Challenger Disaster? Everything.

December 5, 2018 — by Radware1

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Understanding the potential threats that your organization faces is an essential part of risk management in modern times. It involves forecasting and evaluating all the factors that impact risk. Processes, procedures and investments can all increase, minimize or even eliminate risk.

Another factor is the human element. Often times, within an organization, a culture exists in which reams of historical data tell one story, but management believes something entirely different. This “cognitive dissonance” can lead to an overemphasis and reliance on near-term data and/or experiences and a discounting of long-term statistical analysis.

Perhaps no better example of this exists than the space shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986, which now serves as a case study in improperly managing risk. In January of that year, the Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after launch due to the failure of a gasket (called an O-ring) in one of the rocket boosters. While the physical cause of the disaster was caused by the failure of the O-ring, the resulting Rogers Commission that investigated the accident found that NASA had failed to correctly identify “flaws in management procedures and technical design that, if corrected, might have prevented the Challenger tragedy.”

Despite strong evidence dating back to 1977 that the O-ring was a flawed design that could fail under certain conditions/temperatures, neither NASA management nor the rocket manufacturer, Morton Thiokol, responded adequately to the danger posed by the deficient joint design. Rather than redesigning the joint, they came to define the problem as an “acceptable flight risk.” Over the course of 24 preceding successful space shuttle flights, a “safety culture” was established within NASA management that downplayed the technical risks associated with flying the space shuttle despite mountains of data, and warnings about the O-ring, provided by research and development (R & D) engineers.

As American physicist Richard Feynman said regarding the disaster, “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

Truer words have never been spoken when they pertain to cybersecurity. C-suite executives need to stop evaluating and implementing cybersecurity strategies and solutions that meet minimal compliance and establish a culture of “acceptable risk” and start managing to real-world risks — risks that are supported by hard data.

Risk Management and Cybersecurity

The threat of a cyberattack on your organization is no longer a question of if, but when, and C-suite executives know it. According to C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts, 96% of executives were concerned about network vulnerabilities and security risks resulting from hybrid computing environments. Managing risk requires organizations to plan for and swiftly respond to risks and potential risks as they arise. Cybersecurity is no exception. For any organization, risks can be classified into four basic categories:

The Challenger disaster underscores all four of these risk categories. Take strategic risk as an example. Engineers from Morton Thiokol expressed concerns and presented data regarding the performance of the O-rings, both in the years prior and days leading up to the launch, and stated the launch should be delayed. NASA, under pressure to launch the already delayed mission and emboldened by the 24 preceding successful shuttle flights that led them to discount the reality of failure, pressured Morton Thiokol to supply a different recommendation. Morton Thiokol management decided to place organizational goals ahead of safety concerns that were supported by hard data. The recommendation for the launch was given, resulting in one of the most catastrophic incidents in manned space exploration. Both Morton Thiokol and NASA made strategic decisions that placed the advancements of their respective organizations over the risks that were presented.

[You may also like: The Million-Dollar Question of Cyber-Risk: Invest Now or Pay Later?]

This example of strategic risk serves as a perfect analogy for organizations implementing cybersecurity strategies and solutions. There are countless examples of high-profile cyberattacks and data breaches in which upper management was warned in advance of network vulnerabilities, yet no actions were taken to prevent an impending disaster. The infamous 2018 Panera Bread data breach is one such example. Facebook is yet another. Its platform operations manager between 2011 and 2012 warned management at the social tech giant to implement audits or enforce other mechanisms to ensure user data extracted from the social network was not misused by third-party developers and/or systems. These warnings were apparently ignored.

So why does this continually occur? The implementation of DDoS and WAF mitigation solutions often involves three key components within an organization: management, the security team/SOC and compliance. Despite reams of hard data provided by a security team that an organization is either currently vulnerable or not prepared for the newest generation of attack vectors, management will often place overemphasis on near-term security results/experiences; they feel secure in the fact that the organization has never been the victim of a successful cyberattack to date. The aforementioned Facebook story is a perfect example: They allowed history to override hard data presented by a platform manager regarding new security risks.

Underscoring this “cognitive dissonance” is the compliance team, which often seeks to evaluate DDoS mitigation solutions based solely on checkbox functionality that fulfills minimal compliance standards. Alternatively, this strategy also drives a cost-savings approach that yields short-term financial savings within an organization that often times views cybersecurity as an afterthought vis-à-vis other strategic programs, such as mobility, IoT and cloud computing.

The end result? Organizations aren’t managing real-world risks, but rather are managing “yesterday’s” risks, thereby leaving themselves vulnerable to new attack vectors, IoT botnet vulnerabilities, cybercriminals and other threats that didn’t exist weeks or even days ago.

The True Cost of a Cyberattack

To understand just how detrimental this can be to the long-term success of an organization requires grasping the true cost of a cyberattack. Sadly, these data points are often as poorly understood, or dismissed, as the aforementioned statistics regarding vulnerability. The cost of a cyberattack can be mapped by the four risk categories:

  • Strategic Risk: Cyberattacks, on average, cost more than one million USD/EUR, according to 40% of executives. Five percent estimated this cost to be more than 25 million USD/EUR.
  • Reputation Risk: Customer attrition rates can increase by as much as 30% following a cyberattack. Moreover, organizations that lose over four percent of their customers following a data breach suffer an average total cost of $5.1 million. In addition, 41% of executives reported that customers have taken legal action against their companies following a data breach. The Yahoo and Equifax data breach lawsuits are two high-profile examples.
  • Product Risk: The IP Commission estimated that counterfeit goods, pirated software and stolen trade secrets cost the U.S. economy $600 billion annually.
  • Governance Risk: “Hidden” costs associated with a data breach include increased insurance premiums, lower credit ratings and devaluation of trade names. Equifax was devalued by $4 billion by Wall Street following the announcement of its data breach.

[You may also like: Understanding the Real Cost of a Cyber-Attack and Building a Cyber-Resilient Business]

Secure the Customer Experience, Manage Risk

It’s only by identifying the new risks that an organization faces each and every day and having a plan in place to minimize them that enables its executives to build a foundation upon which their company will succeed. In the case of the space shuttle program, mounds of data that clearly demonstrated an unacceptable flight risk were pushed aside by the need to meet operational goals. What lessons can be learned from that fateful day in January of 1986 and applied to cybersecurity? To start, the disaster highlights the five key steps of managing risks.

In the case of cybersecurity, this means that the executive leadership must weigh the opinions of its network security team, compliance team and upper management and use data to identify vulnerabilities and the requirements to successfully mitigate them. In the digital age, cybersecurity must be viewed as an ongoing strategic initiative and cannot be delegated solely to compliance. Leadership must fully weigh the potential cost of a cyberattack/data breach on the organization versus the resources required to implement the right security strategies and solutions. Lastly, when properly understood, risk can actually be turned into a competitive advantage. In the case of cybersecurity, it can be used as a competitive differentiator with consumers that demand fast network performance, responsive applications and a secure customer experience. This enables companies to target and retain customers by supplying a forward-looking security solution that seamlessly protects users today and into the future.

So how are executives expected to accomplish this while facing new security threats, tight budgets, a shortfall in cybersecurity professionals and the need to safeguard increasingly diversified infrastructures? The key is creating a secure climate for the business and its customers.

To create this climate, research shows that executives must be willing to accept new technologies, be openminded to new ideologies and embrace change, according to C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts. Executives committed to staying on top of this ever-evolving threat must break down the silos that exist in the organization to assess the dimensions of the risks across the enterprise and address these exposures holistically. Next is balancing the aforementioned investment versus risk equation. All executives will face tough choices when deciding where to invest resources to propel their companies forward. C-suite executives must leverage the aforementioned data points and carefully evaluate the risks associated with security vulnerabilities and the costs of implementing effective security solutions to avoid becoming the next high-profile data breach.

According to the same report, four in 10 respondents identified increasing infrastructure complexity, digital transformation plans, integration of artificial intelligence and migration to the cloud as events that put pressure on security planning and budget allocation.

The stakes are high. Security threats can seriously impact a company’s brand reputation, resulting in customer loss, reduced operational productivity and lawsuits. C-suite executives must heed the lessons of the space shuttle Challenger disaster: Stop evaluating and implementing cybersecurity strategies and solutions that meet minimal compliance and start managing to real-world risks by trusting data, pushing aside near-term experiences/“gut instincts” and understanding the true cost of a cyberattack. Those executives who are willing to embrace technology and change and prioritize cybersecurity will be the ones to win the trust and loyalty of the 21st-century consumer.

Read the “2018 C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts” to learn more.

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ComplianceSecurity

Marriott: The Case for Cybersecurity Due Diligence During M&A

December 4, 2018 — by Mike O'Malley0

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If ever there was a perfectly packaged case study on data breaches, it’s Marriott’s recently disclosed megabreach. Last week, the hotel chain announced that its Starwood guest reservation system was hacked in 2014—two years before Marriott purchased Starwood properties, which include the St. Regis, Westin, Sheraton and W Hotels—potentially exposing the personal information of 500 million guests.

The consequences were almost immediate; on the day it announced the breach, Marriott’s stocks were down 5% in early trading and two lawsuits seeking class-action status (one for $12.5 billion in damages) were filed. And the U.S. Senate started to discuss stiffer fines and regulations for security breaches. So far, this is all par for the course.

But what makes Marriott’s breach particularly noteworthy is the obvious lack of cybersecurity due diligence conducted during the M&A process.

Never Ever Skip a Step

In September 2016, Marriott International announced that it had completed the acquisition of Starwood Resorts & Hotels Worldwide, creating the largest hotel company in the world. In its press release, Marriott specifically touted the best-in-class loyalty program that the two brands, combined, could now offer members.

What Marriott International executives didn’t realize was that hackers had gained unauthorized access to Starwood’s loyalty program since 2014, exposing guests’ private information including names, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth, credit card numbers and more.

However, if Marriott had done its homework, it might have avoided the mountain of legal fees and compliance fines it now faces. In today’s digital age, cybersecurity due diligence during any M&A process is, without question, imperative.

[You may also like: The Million-Dollar Question of Cyber-Risk: Invest Now or Pay Later?]

And it’s not just security evangelists like myself who emphasize this. The American Bar Association likewise asserts that “it is critical to understand the nature and significance of a target’s vulnerabilities, the potential scope of the damage that may occur (or that already has occurred) in the event of a breach, and the extent and effectiveness of the cyber defenses the target business has put in place to protect itself. An appropriate evaluation of these issues could, quite literally, have a major impact on the value the acquirer places on the target company and on the way it structures the deal.”

The cost of cyberattacks is simply too great to not succeed in mitigating every threat, every time. A successful cyberattack and resulting data breach obliterates trust and destroys brands.

The Only Way Forward

When one company acquires another, it doesn’t just acquire assets. It also assumes the target company’s risks. Put simply, their gaps become your gaps.

In addition, lack of cybersecurity due diligence can actually undermine the value drivers of the deal.  In Marriotts’ case, a big driver was retention of the Starwood high value travelers: the people who make up the loyalty program. Due the pain these customers will now endure—changing credit card numbers, passports, etc.—this value driver has been irrevocably damaged.

It is critical that organizations incorporate cybersecurity into every fabric of the business, from the C-level to IT. Securing digital assets can no longer by delegated solely to the IT department; it must be infused into product and service offerings, security, and perhaps most importantly, development plans and business initiatives. In the case of Marriott, its $13 billion acquisition of Starwood represented a strategic initiative that involved the board of directors, C-level executives and management—all of whom are now partially responsible for the erosion of Marriott’s brand affinity.

[You may also like: Why Cyber-Security Is Critical to The Loyalty of Your Most Valued Customers]

And as we’ve written before, when it comes to loyalty programs, security must transition from the domain of reactive disaster recovery and business continuity into the realm of proactive protection. If loyalty programs are designed to focus on your most valuable customers, why wouldn’t its security fall in line with the other mission-critical assets and infrastructure responsible for servicing these very clients?

Marriott’s Starwood breach is an unfortunate case study for why CEO and executive teams must lead the way in setting the tone when it comes to securing the customer experience. When cybersecurity is overlooked or treated as an afterthought, the potential damage goes far beyond dollars and cents. Your very reputation is at stake.

Read the “2018 C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts” to learn more.

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2019 Predictions: Will Cyber Serenity Soon Be a Thing of the Past?

November 29, 2018 — by Daniel Smith0

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In 2018 the threat landscape evolved at a breakneck pace, from predominantly DDoS and ransom attacks (in 2016 and 2017, respectively), to automated attacks. We saw sensational attacks on APIs, the ability to leverage weaponized Artificial Intelligence, and growth in side-channel and proxy-based attacks.

And by the looks of it, 2019 will be an extension of the proverbial game of whack-a-mole, with categorical alterations to the current tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs). While nobody knows exactly what the future holds, strong indicators today enable us to forecast trends in the coming year.

The public cloud will experience a massive security attack

The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 17.3 percent in 2019 to total $206.2 billion, up from $175.8 billion in 2018, according to Gartner, Inc. This means organizations are rapidly shifting content to the cloud, and with that data shift comes new vulnerabilities and threats. While cloud adoption is touted as faster, better, and easier, security is often overlooked for performance and overall cost. Organizations trust and expect their cloud providers to adequately secure information for them, but perception is not always a reality when it comes to current cloud security, and 2019 will demonstrate this.

[You may also like: Cloud vs DDoS, the Seven Layers of Complexity]

Ransom techniques will surge

Ransom, including ransomware and ransom RDoS, will give way to hijacking new embedded technologies, along with holding healthcare systems and smart cities hostage with the launch of 5G networks and devices. What does this look like? The prospects are distressing:

  • Hijacking the availability of a service—like stock trading, streaming video or music, or even 911—and demanding a ransom for the digital return of the devices or network.
  • Hijacking a device. Not only are smart home devices like thermostats and refrigerators susceptible to security lapses, but so are larger devices, like automobiles.
  • Healthcare ransom attacks pose a particularly terrifying threat. As healthcare is increasingly interwoven with cloud-based monitoring, services and IoT embedded devices responsible for administering health management (think prescriptions/urgent medications, health records, etc.) are vulnerable, putting those seeking medical care in jeopardy of having their healthcare devices that they a dependent on being targeted by malware or their devices supporting network being hijacked.

[You may also like: The Origin of Ransomware and Its Impact on Businesses]

Nation state attacks will increase

As trade and other types of “soft-based’ power conflicts increase in number and severity, nation states and other groups will seek new ways of causing widespread disruption including Internet outages at the local or regional level, service outages, supply chain attacks and application blacklisting by government in attempted power grabs. Contractors and government organizations are likely to be targeted, and other industries will stand to lose millions of dollars as indirect victims if communications systems fail and trade grinds to a halt.

More destructive DDoS attacks are on the way

Over the past several years, we’ve witnessed the development and deployment of massive IoT-based botnets, such as Mirai, Brickerbot, Reaper and Haijme, whose systems are built around thousands of compromised IoT devices.  Most of these weaponized botnets have been used in cyberattacks to knock out critical devices or services in a relatively straightforward manner.

Recently there has been a change in devices targeted by bot herders. Based on developments we are seeing in the wild, attackers are not only infiltrating resource-constrained IoT devices, they are also targeting powerful cloud-based servers. When targeted, only a handful of compromised instances are needed to create a serious threat. Since IoT malware is cross-compiled for many platforms, including x86_64, we expect to see attackers consistently altering and updating Mirai/Qbot scanners to include more cloud-based exploits going into 2019.

[You may also like: IoT Botnets on the Rise]

Cyber serenity may be a thing of the past

If the growth of the attack landscape continues to evolve into 2019 through various chaining attacks and alteration of the current TTP’s to include automated features, the best years of cybersecurity may be behind us. Let’s hope that 2019 will be the year we collectively begin to really share intelligence and aid one another in knowledge transfer; it’s critical in order to address the threat equation and come up with reasonable and achievable solutions that will abate the ominous signs before us all.

Until then, pay special attention to weaponized AI, large API attacks, proxy attacks and automated social engineering. As they target the hidden attack surface of automation, they will no doubt become very problematic moving forward.

Read the “2018 C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts” to learn more.

Download Now

Cloud SecuritySecurity

Evolving Cyberthreats: Enhance Your IT Security Mechanisms

November 28, 2018 — by Fabio Palozza0

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For years, cybersecurity professionals across the globe have been highly alarmed by threats appearing in the form of malware, including Trojans, viruses, worms, and spear phishing attacks. And this year was no different. 2018 witnessed its fair share of attacks, including some new trends: credential theft emerged as a major concern, and although ransomware remains a major player in the cyberthreat landscape, we have observed a sharp decline in insider threats.

This especially holds true for the UK and Germany, which are now under the jurisdiction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, in the U.S., insider threats are on the rise, from 72% in 2017 to an alarming 80% in 2018.

The Value of Data Backups

When WannaCry was launched in May 2017, it caused damages worth hundreds of billions of dollars, affecting 300,000 computers in 150 nations within just a few days. According to a CyberEdge Group report, 55% of organizations around the world were victimized by ransomware in 2017; nearly 87% chose not to pay the ransom and were able to retrieve their data thanks to offline data-backup systems. Among the organizations that had no option other than paying the ransom, only half could retrieve their data.

What does this teach us? That offline data backups are a practical solution to safeguard businesses against ransomware attacks. Luckily, highly efficient and practical cloud-based backup solutions have been introduced in the market, which can help businesses adopt appropriate proactive measures to maintain data security.

[You may also like: SMB Vulnerabilities – WannaCry, Adylkuzz and SambaCry]

Security Concerns Give Way to Opportunities

However, there are concerns with regards to cloud security, as well with data privacy and data confidentiality maintenance. For instance, apprehensions regarding access control, constant and efficient threat-monitoring, risk assessment, and maintenance of regulatory compliance inhibit the holistic implementation of cloud solutions.

But while these concerns act as impediments for companies, they also serve as opportunities for security vendors to step into the scene and develop richer and more effective solutions.

And, make no mistake, there is a definite need for better solutions. According to Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report, even after the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) was published, 99.9% of exploited vulnerabilities went on to be compromised for more than a year, despite the availability of patches.

Why? Despite IT security experts’ insistence on regularly monitoring and patching vulnerabilities in a timely manner, doing so has its challenges; patching involves taking systems offline, which, in turn, affects employee productivity and company revenue. Some organizations even fail to implement patching due to lack of qualified staff. Indeed, more than 83% of companies report experiencing patching challenges.

[You may also like: The Evolving Network Security Environment – Can You Protect Your Customers in a 5G Universe?]

This is all to say, today’s dearth of effective patch and vulnerability management platforms provides opportunities for vendors to explore these fields and deliver cutting-edge solutions. And with IT security budgets healthier than ever, there’s a glimmer of hope that businesses will indeed invest in these solutions.

Let’s see what 2019 brings.

Read “Radware’s 2018 Web Application Security Report” to learn more.

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Mobile SecuritySecurity

Cybersecurity for the Business Traveler: A Tale of Two Internets

November 27, 2018 — by David Hobbs0

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Many of us travel for work, and there are several factors we take into consideration when we do. Finding the best flights, hotels and transportation to fit in the guidelines of compliance is the first set of hurdles, but the second can be a bit trickier: Trusting your selected location. Most hotels do not advertise their physical security details, let alone any cybersecurity efforts.

I recently visited New Delhi, India, where I stayed at a hotel in the Diplomatic Enclave. Being extremely security conscious, I did a test on the connection from the hotel and found there was little-to-no protection on the wi-fi network. This hotel touts its appeal to elite guests, including diplomats and businessmen on official business. But if it doesn’t offer robust security on its network, how can it protect our records and personal data?  What kind of protection could I expect if a hacking group decided to target guests?

[You may also like: Protecting Sensitive Data: A Black Swan Never Truly Sits Still]

If I had to guess, most hotel guests—whether they’re traveling for business or pleasure—don’t spend much time or energy considering the security implications of their new, temporary wi-fi access. But they should.

More and more, we are seeing hacking groups target high-profile travelers. For example, the Fin7 group stole over $1 billion with aggressive hacking techniques aimed at hotels and their guests. And in 2017, an espionage group known as APT28 sought to steal password credentials from Western government and business travelers using hotel wi-fi networks.

A Tale of Two Internets

To address cybersecurity concerns—while also setting themselves apart with a competitive advantage—conference centers, hotels and other watering holes for business travelers could easily offer two connectivity options for guests:

  • Secure Internet: With this option, the hotel would provide basic levels of security monitoring, from virus connections to command and control infrastructure, and look for rogue attackers on the network. It could also alert guests to potential attacks when they log on and could make a “best effort.”
  • Wide Open Internet: In this tier, guests could access high speed internet to do as they please, without rigorous security checks in place. This is the way most hotels, convention centers and other public wi-fi networks work today.

A two-tiered approach is a win-win for both guests and hotels. If hotels offer multiple rates for wi-fi packages, business travelers may pay more to ensure their sensitive company data is protected, thereby helping to cover cybersecurity-related expenses. And guests would have the choice to decide which package best suits their security needs—a natural byproduct of which is consumer education, albeit brief, on the existence of network vulnerabilities and the need for cybersecurity. After all, guests may not have even considered the possibility of security breaches in a hotel’s wi-fi, but evaluating different Internet options would, by default, change that.

[You may also like: Protecting Sensitive Data: The Death of an SMB]

Once your average traveler is aware of the potential for security breaches during hotel stays, the sky’s the limit! Imagine a cultural shift in which hotels were encouraged to promote their cybersecurity initiatives and guests could rate them online in travel site reviews? Secure hotel wi-fi could become a standard amenity and a selling point for travelers.

I, for one, would gladly select a wi-fi option that offered malware alerts, stopped DDoS attacks and proactively looked for known attacks and vulnerabilities (while still using a VPN, of course). Wouldn’t it be better if we could surf a network more secure than the wide open Internet?

Read the “2018 C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts” to learn more.

Download Now

Mobile SecuritySecurity

Online Security Concerns Split UK Black Friday Shoppers

November 14, 2018 — by Radware1

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Shopping online on Black Friday Weekend can be a great way of getting the best deal as retailers slash prices across their range. But as security risks mount and hackers continue to target consumers’ personal data, could shoppers turn their backs on online stores and return to more traditional, secure methods?

To understand UK consumers’ attitudes to shopping online at Black Friday and how they balance security with convenience, Radware sought the opinions of 500 UK adults. The results show that an overwhelming majority—more than 70%—of UK consumers do not think companies are doing enough to protect their personal data on Black Friday. In fact, over 10% reported that they had personally been affected by a data breach.

As a result, 45% of respondents said they would not be shopping online, including 32% who said they would visit a physical store instead.

Security v. Convenience

The fear of having personal data compromised while shopping online is undeniable: 40% of UK consumers plan to change their online habits during Black Friday, including 25% who will reportedly only shop with well-known brands or will check that the website is secure before making a purchase.

These security concerns have resulted in a split approach to Black Friday shopping. 55% of the survey respondents stated that convenience, price or home delivery was worth the potential risk, while the remaining 45% preferred to avoid online shopping, including 32% who said they would visit a physical store instead. And for those aged 55 and older, more than 25% stated they would rather order by telephone.

The research shows that many consumers are aware of the risks of online shopping, and while some are willing to accept this for convenience and price, others are avoiding online shopping altogether. Organisations, especially retailers, need to invest in strong cybersecurity if they want to increase trust and attract new customers at key trading periods.

[You may also like: Consumer Sentiments About Cybersecurity and What It Means for Your Organization]

Data Culture

The research found that 12% of respondents had been the victim of a data breach, and this figure rose to 17% when including respondents who had received an alert from their bank that an attempt had been stopped.

While all age groups were affected by data breaches, those under 35 are more likely to utilize identity check websites and even the Dark Web in order to confirm whether their data has been breached.

Respondents were generally open about sharing their experiences online, with 44% saying they would tell a friend if they fell for a scam online to help them avoid the same fate. A further 16% said they would ask for help while 7% would try to solve any problems themselves. Only 3% would keep quiet out of embarrassment.

[You may also like: Millennials and Cybersecurity: Understanding the Value of Personal Data]

Connected Threats

With Internet-connected devices expected to be top-sellers this Black Friday, Radware also considered consumers’ opinions of connected devices and the threats they pose.

When asked who has responsibility for keeping connected devices secure, almost 40% responded that it was their personal responsibility. A further 20% said security was up to their Internet service provider, while 7% hold the device manufacturer responsible.

Only 3% placed responsibility with the UK Government, despite the recent creation of a voluntary Code of Practice aimed at consumer products, developed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

[You may also like: Growing Your Business: Security as an Expectation]

Opinions were again split on the risks of connected devices, with 52% saying security threats were outweighed by convenience, including 36% who said devices make their lives easier.

However, when told that unsecure devices could be used to spy or listen on owners, 25% were shocked it was even possible, 21% said they would put off using the devices, and 18% said they felt nervous in their own home.

While personal opinions vary regarding security vs. convenience, the overall sentiment is one of low trust in online retailers. At such a crucial shopping time of year, retailers must proactively convince consumers that their digital shopping experience is secure. In fact, security should be leveraged as a selling point to demonstrate that customer data safety takes priority over sales on Black Friday. Retailers that secure the customer experience and ensure customer data is safe will be the winners not only on Black Friday, but all year round.

METHODOLOGY: The survey was completed by Radware via a Google Survey conducted in November 2018 among a sample of 500 UK adults.

Read the “2018 C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts” to learn more.

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Growing Your Business: Security as an Expectation

November 7, 2018 — by Mike O'Malley0

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Who is responsible for my device and application security? This is a critical question in today’s growing threat landscape, and one without a clear answer. Despite increases in demands for mobile app and connected device security features, no key players—device manufacturers, consumers, mobile carriers or organizations that consumers do business with via devices—will take responsibility.

While this is certainly problematic, it also represents an opportunity to differentiate your business from competitors by baking security into your platform. Over 70% of C-suite executives report being greatly concerned about data privacy and 66% admit that their network is vulnerable to hacking. In light of this, security must be recognized and acknowledged beyond an add-on or premium feature; it must be treated as an integral feature for any business owner.

The True Cost of Data Insecurity

When security is included as a core component of a business, it strengthens customers’ perceptions of your company. In fact, security itself can be a key selling point that sways customers from competitors. Startups that especially integrate security as part of its foundational architecture have a competitive advantage over companies of all sizes that gloss over security or utilize it as an unsupported, unplanned add-on.

[You may also like: The Million-Dollar Question of Cyber-Risk: Invest Now or Pay Later?]

Indeed, security as an afterthought is a major, and potentially fatal, flaw during a company’s decision-making process. The average cost of a data breach is $3.9 million – an amount enough to put myriad companies in bankruptcy. But costs can be even higher. For example, Yahoo agreed to a settlement of $50 million following its 2013 data breach and had to pay an additional $37.5 million for attorney fees and expenses.  And it didn’t end there; the original $4.83 billion deal to sell Yahoo’s digital services to Verizon was also discounted by $350 million as an added penalty for decreased brand value and to amend for other potential related costs. The true cost of a data breach? Far more than the current visible numbers.

Potential Growth Areas

Instead of approaching security as an extra, optional cost, business owners would do well to view security as a core capability for revenue; the growth potential for security as an integrated core strategy is enormous. Need proof? Just look at the numerous security vulnerabilities that accompany the constant onslaught of innovative hacking threats. Commonplace attacks, like IoT botnets, mobile APIs and malware, show no evidence of going away anytime soon and companies that are prone to system vulnerabilities are at risk. Even threats from a decade ago, such as Trojan malwares, and exploitation of vulnerabilities are still utilized as attacks, either in their original form or through modifications like malware botnet Mirai.

[You may also like: Defending Against the Mirai Botnet]

This is why companies shouldn’t wait for the “perfect” security product; delaying an investment in security only increases a company’s risk factor for being attacked and potentially dooms one to a constant game of catch up—and enormous costs. Conversely, by adding new applications within a secure business framework from the start, businesses can ensure optimal protection without any extreme added costs.

The sooner a business incorporates security as a core piece of the business puzzle, the better they’ll be at protecting and mitigating threats, and capturing new revenue opportunities. 

Don’t let data seep through the cracks. Secure the customer experience now.

Read the “2018 C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts” to learn more.

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Application DeliverySecurity

Simple to Use Link Availability Solutions

November 1, 2018 — by Daniel Lakier0

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Previously, I discussed how rerouting data center host infrastructure should be part of next-generation DDoS solutions. In this blog, I will discuss how link availability solutions should also play a part. Traditional DDoS solutions offer us a measure of protection against a number of things that can disrupt service to our applications or environment. This is good, but what do we do when our mitigation solutions are downstream from the problem? In other words, what do we do if our service provider goes down either from a cyberattack or other event?

What if we had the capacity to clean the bandwidth provided by our service provider, but the service provider itself is down. How do we prepare for that eventuality? Admittedly, in first world nations with modern infrastructure, this is a less likely scenario. In third world nations with smaller carriers/ISPs and/or outdated infrastructure, it is more common. However, times are changing. The plethora of IoT devices deploying throughout the world makes this scenario more likely. While there is no silver bullet, there are several strategies to help mitigate this risk.

[You may also like: Disaster Recovery: Data Center or Host Infrastructure Reroute]

Is Border Gateway Protocol the Right Solution?

Most companies who consider a secondary provider for internet services have been setting up Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) as the service mechanism. While this can work, it may not be the right choice. BGP is a rigid protocol that takes a reasonable skill level to configure and maintain. It can often introduce complexity and some idiosyncrasies that can cause their own problems—not to mention it tends to be an either-or protocol. You cannot set all traffic to take the best route at all times. It has thresholds and not considered a load balancing protocol. All traffic configured to move in a certain route will move that way until certain thresholds are met and will only switch back once those thresholds/parameters change again. It can also introduce its own problems, including flapping, table size limitations, or cost overruns when it has been used to eliminate pay for usage links.

Any solution in this space needs to solve both the technical and economic issues associated with link availability. The technical issues are broken into two parts: people and technology. In other words, make it easy to use and configure; make it work for multiple use cases that include both inbound and outbound; and if possible eliminate the risk factors that can be associated with rigid solutions like link flapping and the associated downtime that can be caused via re-convergence. The second problem is economic.  Allow people to leverage their investments’ fully. If they pay for bandwidth they should be able to use it. Both links should be active (and load balanced if the customer wants). A common problem with BGP is that one link is fully leveraged, and therefore hits its maximum threshold, while the other link sits idle due to lack of flow control or load balancing.

For several years, organizations have looked for alternatives. The link load balancing and VXLAN marketplace have both been popular alternatives, especially as it relates to branch edge redundancy solutions. Most of these solutions have limitations with inbound network load balancing, resulting in curtailed adoption. In many data centers, especially cloud deployments, the usual flow of traffic involves out-of-network users from the outside initiating the traffic flow.  Most link load balancing solutions and VXLAN solutions are very good at load balancing outbound traffic. The key reason for the technology adoption has been two-fold: the ability to reduce cost with WAN/internet providers and the ability to reduce complexity.

The reduction in cost is focused on two main areas:

  • The ability to use less costly bandwidth (and traditionally less reliable) because the stability was compensated for by load balancing links dynamically
  • The ability to use what we were paying for a buy only the required bandwidth

The reduction in complexity comes from the ease in configuration and simplicity of being able to buy link redundancy solutions as a service.

The unique value of this solution is that you can protect yourself from upstream service outages or upstream burst attacks that trip thresholds in your environment and cause the BGP environment to transition back and forth as failover parameters are met, essentially causing port flapping. The carrier may not experience an outage, but if someone can insert enough latency into the link on a regular basis it could cause a continual outage. Purpose-built link protection and load balancing solutions not only serve an economic purpose but also protect your organization from upstream cyberattacks.

Read “Flexibility Is The Name of the Game” to learn more.

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Attack MitigationDDoS AttacksSecurity

The Delta Airlines Security Breach: A Case Study in How to Respond to a Data Breach

October 24, 2018 — by Anna Convery-Pelletier1

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Recent data breaches against Panera Bread, Delta Airlines, Sears, Saks, and Lord & Taylor highlight a lot: the need for improved web application and internet security processes, better accountability, and why cybersecurity is critical to securing the loyalty of an organization’s most valued customers.

But perhaps most importantly, it highlights how an organization should react if they do suffer a data breach and the significance of a response plan. If there was ever an example of the importance of honesty and transparency, communicating effectively with consumers after your organization has been breached is a critical one.

Take Delta Airlines as an example. In April 2018, the company announced it was informed that some of its customer’s credit card information had been compromised during online chat support provided by a third party software company called [24]7.ai. In response, Delta launched a custom webpage providing a complete overview of the breach (including a timeline and FAQ section), executed a customer communication plan that included education and mitigation best practices, and worked with partners and law enforcement to identify how/when the breach occurred.

Delta’s handling of the breach underscores some of the key best practices that organizations should act upon once they identify a data breach has occurred.

  • Communication is key to both internal (employees, partners, suppliers, etc.) and external (customers) audiences, including direct mailing to clients, an official media release/statement, and if necessary, interviews in the appropriate press
  • Be open and sincere and admit what happened and accept responsibility
  • Provide details and explain how the breach occurred
  • Mitigate. Provide solutions for impacted users, and if possible, prepare a special offer for the affected audience
  • Educate by providing best practices on how to prevent similar issues in the future
  • Invite open dialogue by involving clients, industry experts, and even the general public

All too often, consumers discover that their personal information was compromised long after the breach occurred when suspicious activity on financial accounts, e-commerce sites, etc., is noticed. This is often the result of one of two reasons. The first is because an organization doesn’t realize its sensitive data has been breached. According to various sources, it can take a company nearly 200 days to realize there’s been a data breach.[1]

The second and far too common reason is that organizations seeking to avoid the negative connotation of being a data breach victim avoid directly or immediately announcing that a breach has occurred. However, as research suggests, the consequences of such surreptitious communication tactics can be far worse than the direct impacts of a data breach.

According to the report Consumer Sentiments: Cybersecurity, Personal Data and The Impact on Customer Loyalty, the vast majority of consumers must be convinced that the security issue has been addressed and any damage has been rectified before continuing to do business with the brand.[2]

[You might also like: Consumer Sentiments About Cybersecurity and What It Means for Your Organization]

The impact on businesses is twofold. Whereby companies were once reticent about speaking publically about cybersecurity because it would cause consumers to question their business’s fragility, organizations must now embrace and communicate their ability to safeguard customer data. Forward-thinking organizations have the opportunity to use security and due diligence as a competitive differentiator to build trust and loyalty with customers in the face of an increasingly insecure world.

Per the aforementioned points, companies must clearly communicate that a breach has occurred, those likely impacted and planned remediation actions to address the issue. Organizations that don’t admit to compromised consumer records until long after the breach took place to suffer the greatest wrath from consumers.

In addition to increased customer attrition rates and lost revenue, that wrath increasingly includes lawsuits. Forty-one percent of executives report that customers have taken legal action against their companies following a data breach. Given the string of high-profile data breaches in recent years, consumers are becoming increasingly empowered by regional government regulations that are forcing the hands of organizations to act accordingly following a data breach. The best example of this is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that went into effect throughout the European Union in May 2018. Broadly speaking, the GDPR provides individuals with a right to an effective judicial remedy and/or compensation and liability, especially if the holder of the PII has not acted accordingly to the regulations.

Ultimately, an organization’s ability to successfully respond to a data breach is linked to its ability to view cybersecurity, not as an afterthought, but rather a strategic initiative that mitigates business risk across all mission-critical departments within the organization, not just IT. When an organization is breached, it’s not just impacting the CIO. It affects the CFO, CMO and the COO, in addition to the CEO.

In an increasingly insecure world where customer loyalty to a particular brand is tied directly to that brand’s ability to safeguard the customer’s data, the entire C-suite must be held responsible when a breach occurs to reaffirm the trust and loyalty of consumers and to mitigate the broader, more cataclysmic impact that could result if they don’t.

Read “Consumer Sentiments: Cybersecurity, Personal Data and The Impact on Customer Loyalty” to learn more.

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