Cybercrime takes many forms, many of which can be devastating for businesses. Computer viruses can damage software and hardware, causing some operations to slow down or cease completely. Malware attacks can release programs onto computers and servers that can cripple them. Ransomware attacks can result in denials of service or the loss of sensitive information unless money is paid to the cybercriminals. Cybercrime represents a clear and present danger to any organization. No company is truly immune from the effects of cybercrime, and it is a sobering fact that acts of cybercrime continue to rise around the world. Businesses of all sizes need to protect themselves from the threats posed by cybercrime. In this article, three main ways in which this can be achieved will be described.
Take out cyber insurance
A growing trend amongst corporations from a wide range of sectors is to take out comprehensive cyber insurance plans with a provider specializing in this insurance field. A good cyber insurance plan will include cover and financial protection from system damage that typically occurs in the wake of a cybercrime. In addition, if an act of cybercrime directly affects your customers you will have protection from any liability claims on their part. If money is extorted because of a ransomware attack or theft from online accounts, this can also be covered against. When taking out a cyber insurance plan, pay attention to exactly what is covered and what is not. A comprehensive cyber insurance policy covers all major types of cybercrime and allows the business to feel assured that elevated levels of protection and cover are in place.
One of the most powerful tools in the battle against cybercrime is having a highly educated and knowledgeable workforce who are fully aware of the methods used by cybercriminals and the impacts of a successful cyber attack on a business. Research strongly suggests that education in the methods and effects of cybercrime is at least as important as protection against these acts. In many instances, employees can prevent cybercrime from taking place through vigilance and knowledge. For example, a malicious email containing malware can be identified easily with the right level of training and education. Ideally, this cybercrime education should be delivered to staff by regular training sessions in addition to mandatory training packages provided annually and to new starters.
Strong IT infrastructure
Finally, another key weapon in the war against cybercrime is ensuring that IT systems and networks are protected against cyber attacks. Companies should ensure that their IT departments install strong firewall software within their IT networks. This is a key way in which IT professionals can identify threats and subsequently quarantine them before any damage or theft takes place. In addition, having modern and regularly updated antivirus software installed across all IT platforms and smart devices can effectively minimize the risk of virus attacks. Today, antivirus software and modern firewall systems can identify and protect against an immense range of cyber attacks.
World’s Richest Could Only Cover 22% Of 2022’s Cybercrime Costs
If the world’s richest ten people combined their net worth, they’d still be $4.7 trillion short of the annual predicted cost of cybercrime this year alone, covering just 22% of the annual damages. By 2025, if their net worth stayed the same, that percentage would fall to just 13%.
Research by IT support experts, ramsac, has uncovered that none of the top 10 richest people worldwide could cover the cost of worldwide cybercrime damage.
Elon Musk, who currently holds the highest net worth, estimated at $229.4 billion dollars, could only cover the cost of 3.82% of this year’s estimated damages.
The Costs of Cybercrime
Forecasts from Cybersecurity Ventures estimate the cost of cybercrime, which includes damage and destruction of data, lost productivity, restoration of hacked systems and reputational harm, to reach $6 trillion in 2022, soaring to an astounding $10.5 trillion by 2025.
In 2021, four in ten UK businesses suffered a cybersecurity breach or attack, with one in five going on to lose money, data or other assets as a result. The average cost of a data breach in 2021 in the US was $9.05 million dollars, the UK at $4.67 million dollars and averaging globally at $4.24 million dollars. Cybercrime damage costs can devastate a business.
The costs to businesses every year is substantial, and not just in the immediate with loss of business resources, but also in the long term with reputation management, data recovery, and increased measures of cybersecurity. Cybercrime can range from a phishing email to larger ransomware breaches, all of which cost businesses precious time to investigate, and leaves people’s data at risk.
Covering the Costs
Every year, cybercrime devastates companies and individuals, exposing passwords, putting them at risk of identity theft and further breaches. Looking to the future, as the amount and value of data increases, as well as the technology available to us, the cost of cybercrime damages increases.
While some of the world’s richest have wealth the rest of the world cannot even fathom, when you place their net worth against the annual predicted costs of cybercrime damage, it’s a mere drop in the ocean.
How much are the world’s richest people worth?
- Elon Musk – Founder and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla:
- Worth $229.4bn
- Equal to 3.82% of global cybercrime cost
- Jeff Bezos – Chairman and Founder of Amazon:
- Worth $173.8bn
- Equal to 2.90% of global cybercrime cost
- Bernard Arnault – Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton:
- Worth $161.3bn
- Equal to 2.69% of global cybercrime cost
- Bill Gates – Co-founder of Microsoft and Founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:
- Worth $131.1bn
- Equal to 2.19% of global cybercrime cost
- Warren Buffet – CEO of Berkshire Hathaway:
- Worth $118.3bn
- Equal to 1.97% of global cybercrime cost
- Larry Page – Co-founder and Board Member of Alphabet:
- Worth $113.9bn
- Equal to 1.90% of global cybercrime cost
- Sergey Brin – Co-founder and Board Member of Alphabet:
- Worth $109.8bn
- Equal to 1.83% of global cybercrime cost
- Larry Ellison – Co-Founder and CTO of Oracle:
- Worth $106.7bn
- Equal to 1.78% of global cybercrime cost
- Steve Ballmer – Ex-CEO of Microsoft and owner of Los Angeles Clippers:
- Worth $95.6bn
- Equal to 1.59% of global cybercrime cost
- Gautam Adani – Chairman and Founder of the Adani Group:
- Worth $90.5bn
- Equal to 1.51% of global cybercrime cost
10 Step Guide to Cybersecurity Essentials for Web Developers
Application development has become a faster affair than it ever was. The DevOps environment ensures that apps are developed and updated with new features at an incredible speed.
Once your web application is in production you use a bunch of metrics to analyze every minute aspect of the user journey and come up with more ideas on making the user experience better, retaining them for longer periods of time, and converting more leads. Now, amongst all of this, security takes a back seat and your web application effectively becomes a sitting duck waiting to be shot down.
It doesn’t have to be that way. With some effort, you can incorporate solid security practices in the DevOps structure without losing a lot of pace. This article helps you identify cybersecurity essentials for web developers to go alongside offensive security measures like penetration testing and vulnerability assessment.
90% of all websites are vulnerable to attacks. That means hackers can easily find a way into your systems and access admin level privileges. An attacker can steal data, stop your services, and ruin your online presence.
A security vulnerability puts a lot more at stake than just money. Getting hacked can sabotage the reputation you have built over years and strains your relationship with customers. 60% of the small and midsize businesses that experience a data breach never recover.
Before getting to the cyber security essentials for developers, let us wrap our heads around some critical vulnerabilities mentioned in the OWASP top ten.
Top 10 vulnerabilities listed by OWASP
- Broken Access Control: Access control refers to the policies set to stop unauthorized access to sensitive information. The broken access control vulnerability makes it possible for malicious actors to gain unauthorized access.
- Cryptographic Failures: Cryptography deals with cyphers or encryptions employed to protect data. A cryptographic failure is a condition where the encryptions are easily breachable.
- Injection and Cross-Site Scripting: Injection attacks occur when a malicious actor supplies unauthorized code input to your systems and an interpreter processes the malicious input as part of the command or query.
- Insecure Design: Insecure design refers to the security flaws inherent in the application created by non adherence to a security best practices.
- Security Misconfiguration: Developers and network admins often alter security controls for temporary convenience and forget to reset them. That is one of the many ways how security misconfigurations occur.
- Vulnerable and Outdated Components: A web application relies on a bunch of external components like plugins and libraries. The vulnerabilities present in such elements are just as dangerous for the application.
- Identification and Authentication Failures: The lack of identity and input validation measures exist as a critical vulnerability in a lot of web apps.
- Software and Data Integrity Failures: This type of attack targets the integrity of software and data, resulting in the manipulation or deletion of information.
- Security Logging and Monitoring Failures: When a website does not have an alert system to flag malicious activity from a certain IP, it results in the security logging and monitoring failure vulnerability.
- Server-Side Request Forgery: An attacker can use this vulnerability to connect a server to internal-only services or force the server to make HTTP requests to arbitrary external systems.
So, we have covered some of the most dangerous vulnerabilities. And now it’s time to learn how to protect a web application from these potential breaches. Just know that most of these vulnerabilities can be avoided by adhering to some cybersecurity essentials for developers.
A staggering 30% of all breaches are caused by weak passwords. And all you need to do to prevent this from happening is to make users and employees create long and complex passwords that are difficult to crack.
You need to place certain rules to ensure that the passwords being used are strong enough. You should also review the policies periodically, and make the users change their passwords once in a while.
This is hardly something you didn’t already know. You have to put up a firewall to prevent certain actors from accessing your website. You can block certain IPs, or countries. The firewall can flag malware, and notify you whenever there is a suspicious activity on your network. The real trick is ensuring that the firewall is up to date and gives your website the protection it needs. You need a strong firewall like the one by Astra Security to strengthen your defenses.
- It is important to keep regular backups of your website
Backing up your website on a regular basis ensures that you have a recent version of your original website in case your production site is hacked and damaged beyond repair. You must store the backup website securely as an offsite server.
- Protect your data in transit
Make sure you use transport layer security (TLS) to encrypt the data in flight between systems or between your device and the internet. Whether your data is in flight or at rest, it is very important to encrypt it.
- Harden your servers and applications
Unnecessary features and plugins can slow down your website and create security threats. It becomes difficult for hackers to breach a website that is lean and tight.
- Build up company wide awareness
You have to treat cybersecurity as more than just an IT issue, because it is not. A security breach affects each and every aspect of a business, hence it is important to imbibe security best practices in the organization culture. Educating employees from all the different departments on cybersecurity will pay dividends.
- Adopt two factor authentication
A two factor authentication requires the user to provide another piece of information alongside their username and password to log in. This makes it harder for the hackers to launch a social engineering attack.
- Stay on top of new security threats
With the amount of information and awareness running around cybersecurity at present it is not too hard to keep a tap on the new vulnerabilities. For instance, a vulnerability that got famous recently was the Log4J. And thanks to the quick response by security researchers around the world, most websites are now protected from it.
It is not too hard to leave a port open here or a security misconfiguration there given the pace at which web applications develop and evolve. Conducting regular vulnerability scans helps you stay updated about your organization’s security posture, and doesn’t let you be an easy target for hackers.
- Conduct Penetration Testing
Penetration testing a team of security experts who try to exploit certain vulnerabilities safely to understand how much damage those vulnerabilities can do. It gives you a true understanding of your security posture and helps you take appropriate measures to remediate the situation. Learn about the best penetration testing tools that you can use for this purpose.
Penetration testing is an offensive security measure where security experts apply hacker-like tactics to unveil vulnerabilities in your system and exploit them to an extent to gain insights about their risk and exploitability. Penetration testing is one of the most effective ways of evaluating your organization’s security posture since it simulates an actual hack.
Pentesting or penetration testing is generally divided in three categories. Black box, White box, and Gray box Penetration testing. These categories are distinguished by the amount of knowledge the pentester comes in with.
This approach emulates the hacking process very closely as the tester, not unlike a hacker, approaches the target website with very little information about its structure and assets.
In this approach, the security expert gains complete knowledge of the target system and prepares to make an in-depth analysis of the code.
Gray box penetration testing is a cross between black box and white box pentesting. In this case, the pentester comes in with partial information about the target system.
Black box pentests are very useful to test your security measures against a real-time attack, while white box and gray box pentests give you a more in-depth understanding of your security posture.
Your choice of a pentest partner may make or break your security efforts. Before you choose a penetration testing company to help you with vulnerability assessment and penetration testing, you must take care of the following factors.
- A pentest partner that lets you keep a tap on their progress is always preferable. It is just awesome if you can look at the vulnerabilities as they are discovered.
- Remediation assistance from the security experts is a major deciding factor when it comes to choosing a pentest partner.
- The pentest timeline should not be too long.
- You need to work with experienced security engineers who can guide you in reproducing the exploits.
- The pentest certificate you get should be publicly verifiable as it helps you build trust.
Being security conscious entails more than just putting up firewalls and conducting vulnerability scans. Yes, those are very important things, but there is something more that you need. In a fast paced environment it is important to look at software development from a security perspective right from the beginning.
Security has to be embedded in the process from the earliest stages of planning an application. It is the easiest to track and manage security efforts if the developers conduct the threat modeling by themselves while designing the software.
Once security awareness enters every department, it will be incredibly difficult for the hackers to breach your applications. Till then, stay safe.
4 Reasons Ransomware Is a Serious Threat to Businesses
Ransomware refers to a type of malicious virus that renders all the files and documents in your computer obsolete. The hackers gain control of all these files, and if you don’t pay ransom to him, he threatens to delete all of these files. When you are running a business, you have to keep a lot of things in mind. Not only do you have to find a way to make it work, but you also have to ensure that you keep all your intellectual information safe. If that information gets into the wrong hands, you can lose years of struggle. Now, as businesses mostly rely on computer systems, it has become so vital that you employ different techniques to keep your network secure. In this article, I am going to highlight four reasons why ransomware proves to be such a serious threat to business, and why you need to keep yourself safe.
Attacks are Getting More Sophisticated
With the internet becoming more and more widely available, people are starting to use it to their advantage. Where the internet has been a blessing for entrepreneurs and businessmen, it has also caused some serious threats to their security. Cybercriminals around the world have learned how to work together, and they are implementing different techniques to bypass the security protocols put in place. If you want services such as ransomware removal, you have to reach out to professionals so that you can protect yourself.
The Attacks Are Aimed to Steal Data
Where in the past, hackers used ransomware to encrypt files and documents, there are new variants of the virus that actually transmit the victims’ files to the hacker and wipe it from the original location. It is much worse than encryption as if you have sensitive information stored on your computer, you are going to be in a lot of trouble. Especially those businesses that depend on the intellectual property need to be very careful as their data can be used as a term for extortion.
There is No Honor Amongst Thieves
Now it might sound funny, but cybercriminals in the past adhered to some sort of code of ethics when it came to hacks. If the business that was affected by the virus paid the ransom, the criminal behind the attack used to restore the organization’s access to data. However, we have and are going to see an increased trend of criminals that just want to watch businesses crumble. Some may delete the user’s files altogether, and some may keep copies of your original files and sell your secrets to your competitors. Overall, these criminals have become so much more dangerous than they used to be.
They Are Targeting Internet of Things (IoT) devices
To data, hackers used to target companies through their computers and used to extract data from it. However, as technology has become such a huge part of how a business is run, hackers have also become accustomed to it. With the mass proliferation of IoT devices being used in organizations, it is only a matter of time that these hackers are going to find a way to get into the embedded system. Many businesses that employ IoT devices do not realize that it is such a huge security loophole. Where I wish it doesn’t happen, but there is going to come a day when this decision is going to cost them very dearly. If you want to make sure that your business is safe and remains safe in the future, you need to take immediate steps right now and acquire the services of a company that can protect you against such attacks.
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