50% of Retailers Experienced a Data Breach Last Year

Three-quarters of U.S. retailers have experienced a data breach, half in the last year, says the Thales 2018 Data Threat Report.

According to U.S. retail respondents, 75% of retailers have experienced a breach in the past compared to 52% last year, exceeding the global average. U.S retail is also more inclined to store sensitive data in the cloud as widespread digital transformation is underway, yet only 26% report implementing encryption – trailing the global average.

Year-over-year breach rate takes a turn for the worse

While last year’s report showed an encouraging decrease in breaches, this year U.S. retail data breaches more than doubled from 19% in the 2017 survey to 50%. This massive increase drove U.S. retail to be the second highest vertical polled to experience a data breach in the last year, ahead of healthcare and financial services and only slightly behind the U.S. federal government.

Digital transformation brings increased risks to data
According to the report, 95% of U.S. retail organizations will use sensitive data in an advanced technology environment (such as cloud, big data, IoT and containers) this year. More than half believe that sensitive data use is happening now in these environments without proper security in place. Each of these technology environments comes with unique security challenges. As the attack surface increases, unique data security challenges need to be addressed.

The increase in attacks against the retail sector calls into question why spending on data security isn’t more significant. Ironically, in the U.S., the traditional concerns about data security related to perceived complexity and business performance impact are now outpaced by a perceived lack of need, which was cited by 52% of respondents. Although not exactly the same globally, a lack of organizational buy-in was tied to 41% not perceiving a need for data security. The message here is that management needs a sense of urgency, and security professionals must do a better job of selling the importance of data security.

Security spending is up but not aligning with risk

The good news is that U.S. retail organizations are responding to the ever-increasing threat with 84% citing plans to increase IT security spending and 28% noting the increase would be significant. The bad news is that spending is not going to what respondents believe are the most effective defenses.

The retail sector recognizes the need for encryption to protect sensitive data. Forty-nine percent require encryption to increase cloud usage and 44% need system level encryption and access controls to expand the use of big data. More than half (52%) believe encryption (along with anti-malware tools) is needed to drive IoT adoption. This is in addition to encryption being the number one choice to satisfy compliance and data security laws such as GDPR, Korea’s PIPA and APPI in Japan.

Seemingly contradicting themselves, both U.S. and global retail ranked endpoint and mobile defenses as those that will get the largest spending increase (72% U.S.; 52% global)) even though they rank them the least effective.  A bright spot is that more organizations are recognizing the threat to cloud data and with that 49% of respondents have ranked cloud at the top of their IT security spending priorities […] Read more »

 

 

Discussions with Malik Bernard on the pathway to cyber success

 

Apex sat down with Malik Bernard, Executive Head, Cyber Governance (Cyber Security and GRC) at the City of New York to discuss the cyber journey. With over 20 years overall in the space of Cybersecurity, Enterprise IT Strategy and Design, Vendor Management coupled with IAM and DLP program implementation, he shares his experience on the pathway to cyber success.

Q: What is IT security doing to support innovation in the enterprise?

A: This is an interesting question; On its face, a simple question; but if you give it some thought, there has to be a distinction between IT Security and  how it supports Cyber. Within IT Security, one may look at Data, Hardware/Software and Artificial Intelligence. I know from performing hands on labs, working with industry leaders, and analysts, the trend is towards

  • Hardware Authentication
  • Machine Learning coupled with Behavior Analytics
  • Cloud Security or should I say, better cloud security, beyond Firewalls, Storage etc. In this space, virtualization still rules and the implementation of Virtual IPS/IDS is paramount as part of an overall Cloud security strategy.

Q: Should IT security be a business enabler?

A: Everyone and every department, should support the business through smart hiring, defined, well documented processes and procedures and with appropriate technologies.

Q: How do you stay abreast of the trends and what your peers are doing?

A: I listen to smarter people than myself. I have within my circle of whom I trust, those that are non-bias individuals who aren’t afraid to tell me no, share with me what they really think and I attend a few workshop forums yearly to challenge and stretch my knowledge.

Q: How have you searched for and found the best vendors for your organization?

A: It helps to be the SME or subject matter expert or know a few on a variety of business and tech needs. This way, you can cut through the ‘pitch’ and get to the ‘how will this help solve the challenge(s) we’re currently facing’ and how will it scale.

Q: What is the biggest challenge for a CISO today?

A: This one depends on many factors; The size of the organization; The amount of power and control trusted and given to the CISO. I would say, keeping up with the ever changing attack surface of the enterprise and ensuring that one’s defensive posture, is the ‘right size’ for their environment.

Q: What is the difference between a CISO and a CRO (Chief Risk Officer)?

A: CISOs are more focused on tech, cyber, etc. CROs are more focused on Risk, Threats etc. They both should work closely together to ensure a full 360 view of Risk and Threats across the landscape.

Q: How has the role of the CISO changed over your career?

A: I’ve actually changed and defined in my prior role, what a next generation CISO should be focused on and how to get quick wins, towards a sustainable strategy of measured success. This role simply validated what I’ve been doing in prior, non exec, C-Suite positions.

Q: What advice would you give an early stage CISO joining an enterprise organization?

A: Discern what’s real, what’s perceived and what’s noise. Find a way to cut through the ‘pitch’ and understand how x may occur and have in place, 2, 3 options at the ready to defend the organization. Finally, listen more, speak less and be curious.

 

Mr. Bernard is the Senior Executive Head of the City of New York, where he heads up the City’s Cyber Governance Tower. He was also in charge of leading the following domain areas: Software Security Assurance akin to SDLC, Cybersecurity and Awareness Training and IT Risk.

Prior to joining the City of New York, Mr. Bernard held the role of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), for a global technology company, where his and his team’s focus was on Cybersecurity (Identity Access Management, Data Leakage Prevention, Threat Management, GRC and Privacy Management.)

 

Gartner: Top Six Security and Risk Management Trends

As business leaders become increasingly conscious of the impact cybersecurity can have on business outcomes, they should harness increased support and take advantage of six emerging trends (listed below) to improve their enterprise’s resilience and elevate their own standing, according to Gartner, Inc.

  1. Senior business executives are finally becoming aware that cybersecurity has a significant impact on the ability to achieve business goals and protect corporate reputation. “Business leaders and senior stakeholders at last appreciate security as much more than just tactical, technical stuff done by overly serious, unsmiling types in the company basement,” says Peter Firstbrook, research vice president at Gartner. “Security organizations must capitalize on this trend by working closer with business leadership and clearly linking security issues with business initiatives that could be affected.”
  2. Legal and regulatory mandates on data protection practices are impacting digital business plans and demanding increased emphasis on data liabilities. “It’s no surprise that, as the value of data has increased, the number of breaches has risen too,” says Firstbrook. “In this new reality, full data management programs — not just compliance — are essential, as is fully understanding the potential liabilities involved in handling data.”
  3. Security products are rapidly exploiting cloud delivery to provide more agile solutions.“Avoid making outdated investment decisions,” advises Firstbrook. “Seek out providers that propose cloud-first services, that have solid data management and machine learning (ML) competency, and that can protect your data at least as well as you can.”
  4. Machine learning is providing value in simple tasks and elevating suspicious events for human analysis. Gartner predicts that by 2025, machine learning will be a normal part of security solutions and w3ill offset ever-increasing skills and staffing shortages. But buyer beware, says Firstbrook: “Look at how ML can address narrow and well-defined problem sets, such as classifying executable files, and be careful not to be suckered by hype. Unless a vendor can explain in clear terms how its ML implementation enables its product to outperform competitors or previous approaches, it’s very difficult to unpack marketing from good ML.”
  5. Security buying decisions are increasingly based on geopolitical factors along with traditional buying considerations. Increasing levels of cyber warfare, cyber political interference and government demands for backdoor access to software and services have resulted in new geopolitical risks in software and infrastructure buying decisions, Gartner says. “It’s vital to account for the geopolitical considerations of partners, suppliers and jurisdictions that are vital to your organization,” says Firstbrook. “Include supply chain source questions in RFIs, RFPs and contracts”  […] Read more »

 

 

65 Percent of Organizations Believe IoT Increases OT Security Risks

According to Kaspersky Labs State of Industrial Cybersecurity 2018 survey, 65% of organizations globally believe that operational technology (OT) or Industrial Control Systems (ICS) risks are more likely with the Internet of Things (IoT). Over the next year, 53% say that realizing IoT use cases and managing connected devices is a major priority.

As OT and IT converge, organizations can use IoT devices to boost the efficiency of industrial processes, but these devices and processes also present new risks and points of vulnerabilities. Industrial organizations surveyed feel unsafe, with 77% of respondents saying their organization is likely to become the target of a cybersecurity incident involving their industrial control networks.

Of the concerns related to IoT, 54% of respondents claim that the increased risks associated with connectivity and IoT integration are a major cybersecurity challenge, as well as new types of IoT security measures that need to be implemented (50%) and implementation of IoT use cases (45%).

According to Kaspersky Labs, companies relying on ICS are falling victim to conventional threats, including malware and ransomware. Almost two-thirds of companies experienced at least one conventional malware or virus attack on their ICS in the last year, 30% suffered a ransomware attack, and 27% had their ICS breached due to the errors and actions of employees.

Targeted attacks affecting the industrial sector accounted for only 16% in 2018 (down from 36% in 2017)  […] Read more »

 

 

Las Vegas Most Insecure Cyber City in US

A new study, Cybersecurity in the City: Ranking America’s Most Insecure Metros, has identified Las Vegas, Memphis and Charlotte as America’s most cyber insecure cities.

America’s Most Insecure Metros

10. Tampa – St. Petersburg
9. Orlando – Daytona Beach
8. West Palm Beach – Ft. Pierce
7. Jacksonville
6. Birmingham
5. Providence
4. Houston
3. Charlotte
2. Memphis
1. Las Vegas

America’s Least Vulnerable Metros

5. St. Louis
4. Seattle – Tacoma
3. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News
2. Greensboro – Winston Salem
1. Richmond

“The Cybersecurity in the City: Ranking America’s Most Insecure Metros report emphasizes just how expansive both the vulnerability and threat landscapes have gotten in the U.S.,” said Guy Moskowitz, founder & CEO, Coronet. “While big companies may have the budgets, personnel and resources to protect their assets reasonably well, mid-market and small businesses are mostly left to fend for themselves. This is both unfortunate and a recipe for disaster” […] Read more »

 

Why People are ‘Password Walking’

A recent study of 61 million leaked passwords from Virginia Tech and Dashlane uncovered troubling password patterns.

Dashlane researchers examined the data for patterns, illuminating simple mistakes that continue to be made by people who use passwords in daily life, which is to say—virtually everyone. The Dashlane researchers found patterns across the keyboard, from not-so-randomly chosen letters and numbers to, popular brands and bands, and even passwords created out of apparent frustration.

Dashlane researchers discovered a high frequency of passwords containing combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols that are adjacent to one another on the keyboard. This practice, known as “Password Walking,” highlights the apathetic attitude most users have towards password creation, preferring convenience over security.

When users “Password Walk” they are creating passwords that are far from secure. Most hackers are keenly aware of the human tendency to rely on convenience and can easily exploit these common passwords.

Most are familiar with versions of “Password Walking,” such as “qwerty” and “123456”, but Dashlane’s researchers uncovered several other combinations that are frequently used:

These passwords are all comprised of keys on the left-hand side of standard keyboards. This means users can simply use the pinky or ring finger on their left hand to type their entire password. However convenient this may be, saving a few seconds is not worth the loss of one’s critical financial and/or personal data due to an account hack.

TThe study said, “The prevalence of “Password Walking” is troubling and should make anyone using such passwords take another look at their password practices. Genuinely random and unique passwords are essential to password security; punching a bunch of adjacent characters will not cut it.”

Vices like Coca Cola and Skittles seep into all corners of life, even passwords, the study said. The ten most frequent brand-related passwords:

  1. myspace *experienced a major breach in 2016
  2. mustang
  3. linkedin *experienced a major breach in 2016
  4. ferrari
  5. playboy
  6. mercedes
  7. cocacola
  8. snickers
  9. corvette
  10. skittles

Unsurprisingly, said the study, pop culture references were also prevalent. It would be wise to remember that using passwords that use names or common phrases is not a safe practice.

The ten most frequent pop culture passwords:

  1. superman
  2. pokemon
  3. slipknot
  4. starwars
  5. metallica
  6. nirvana
  7. blink182
  8. spiderman
  9. greenday
  10. rockstar

Last, as the world prepares for the Champions League Final this weekend, the study suggested that fans of the game should refrain from showing love for their favorite club in their passwords […] Read more »

 

 

GDPR: Will Your Company Be Fine or Fined?

Mayday, mayday” is a standard international distress signal. With the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going live on May 25, 2018, the phrase seems particularly apt.

What is the GDPR? Weighing in at over 50,000 words, the GDPR revises a decades-old EU privacy directive that harkens back to 1995, a time when there was more postal mail than email. The GDPR restricts how organizations can collect, use and retain personal data, and provides Europeans with certain rights to halt collection, and to obtain copies, correction and, at times, destruction of their data.

How does it impact U.S. businesses? The EU seeks to apply the GDPR to all companies regardless of location if they collect personal data from individuals in the EU, such as through websites targeting EU consumers with goods or services (whether paid or unpaid), or by monitoring the behavior of people in the EU. The GDPR also applies to vendors (and corporate partners and affiliates) who end up storing, transferring, processing or using EU personal data even though another company initially collected it.

What are the Cybersecurity Requirements? Companies must implement “appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk.”  Doing so requires an organization to evaluate “the state of the art” of security; the costs of implementation; the nature, scope, context and purposes of processing the personal data; and the risks to individual rights and freedoms. Data protection must be implemented “by design and by default.”

Are there breach notification requirements? Yes. If a data breach is likely to result in “a risk” to an individual’s rights and freedoms, the company must notify the supervisory authority without undue delay and, where feasible, within 72 hours of becoming aware of it. When the breach is likely to result in a “high risk” to rights and freedoms, notifications also must be made without undue delay to the affected individuals.

Can we get ready in a few weeks? It is unlikely. The EU gave companies two years. Still, achieving compliance may be more straightforward for organizations that do not collect sensitive categories of personal data (race, ethnicity, health, sex life, sexual orientation, criminal history, trade union membership, political/religious/philosophical beliefs, genetics or biometrics) and whose activities are unlikely to result in high risks to individual rights and freedoms (such as through large-scale data processing, new technologies or systematic monitoring, profiling and automated decision-making) […] Read more »

 

 

Rethinking Identity Management in the Gig Economy

For years, the “consumerization” of IT has referred to the practice of employees conducting workplace activities on their personal smartphones and tablets, or using consumer services like Gmail or social media for work purposes. However, the “gig economy” is about to consumerize the workplace to new levels, bringing changes that will significantly impact how CSOs and CISOs protect their businesses.

When large parts of the workforce or even entire staffs are made up of independent contractors, it’s not just devices or services that are being brought onto the corporate network from outside of IT’s purview. These “permalancers” will be operating as complete outsiders to the corporate infrastructure, so to speak, which will test the boundaries of current IT-department protocols. IT will have to think beyond established bring-your-own-device (BYOD) practices; companies relying so heavily on freelancers now need to construct new “bring-your-own-identity” policies that will enable these workers to move freely and safely about the network, while keeping company infrastructure protected.

Traditional IAM Falls Short in Managing Non-Traditional Workforces

Traditional identity and access management (IAM) systems were not architected to manage a large number of workers of this type. IT is used to managing, at most, tens of thousands of employees who are known to the company – users with corporate accounts that the department can assume are trustworthy because they’re operating on closed corporate networks and behind the company firewall.

Now, these freelancers and independent contractors more often than not use their own personal accounts to access company resources, potentially from unsecure locations, such as a coffee shop’s open public WiFi connection. There is a good chance they also work for other companies – maybe even competitors – and their gig might just last a few weeks or the duration of one project.

Workers Are Starting to Look Like Customers

In other words, workers are starting to look more like consumers, in part due to this increased reliance on contracted workers. As such, CSOs and CISOs need to start addressing the security needs of these workers accordingly. Consider marketing writers using their own accounts to upload or edit documents onto shared drives, or freelance programmers checking code into the company’s source code repository. They have created their own accounts, and their identities could be established by a variety of single sign-on providers. Plus, they are authenticated against public services like OpenID and social media. Managing worker access in this environment is much more complex than it is behind the VPN and firewall where HR or IT is simply charged with filling in key profile data for company-created identities, and authenticating users against internal directory services […] Read more »