If there was ever a perfect time to understand the state of affairs in regard to global cybersecurity, it was 2020. The recent discovery of alleged Russian-based hacking of U.S. government and tech company systems provides all the more reason to gain as much insight as possible into the threat landscape. According to cybersecurity leader CrowdStrike, ransomware and attacks from nation-state-sponsored actors, who are extremely motivated, is a key concern as we move into the next year.
CrowdStrike recently released its Global Security Attitude Survey, which delivers an assessment of cybersecurity leaders’ risk perceptions and illustrates ongoing concerns across agencies and industry. Seventy-three percent of cybersecurity experts indicate that nation-state-sponsored attacks are the single biggest threat to their organizations. The recent cyberattack by Russia against multiple U.S. government agencies is an indication that this concern is valid and acutely relevant.
CrowdStrike warns that “…nation-states have a vested interest in sponsoring sophisticated and targeted cyberattacks against both public and private organizations within countries that they view as rivals or adversaries.” It is widely believed that state-sponsored attacks are far more common than most would believe. The report also states that “…it is not all that surprising to see approaching half (47%) of respondents [to the survey] citing that the exploitation of vulnerabilities caused by the [COVID-19] crisis is a key driver of malicious nation-state activity.”
The survey also sought to establish which types of attacks are most prevalent and concerning to security professionals. Of the types of attacks expected in the next year, ransomware is the attack vector causing the gravest of concerns, followed by malware and phishing attacks. Six in ten respondents in the CrowdStrike survey revealed that their organizations experienced a ransomware attack in the last year. According to CrowdStrike, “The financial rewards available to cybercriminals brazen enough to carry out a ransomware attack are too lucrative for them to forego, and as such, this attack vector is here to stay.”
With obvious state-sponsored attacks and ransomware’s rise to prominence, the cybersecurity threat landscape seems somewhat daunting. What steps can our agencies and organizations take to reduce or eliminate vectors? The 1-10-60 ideal — detecting a threat within one minute, investigating within 10 minutes, and containing it within 60 minutes — is a goal that seems worth striving to attain.
CrowdStrike’s survey also reveals that, unfortunately, nine in ten are not meeting this standard for detection and mitigation. CrowdStrike suggests that while there is an understanding that digital transformation efforts are necessary across our agencies, it is also time for security transformation to mitigate attack vectors.
The realities and risks of a remote-based workforce, the news of actual cyber-infiltration of agencies, and the prevalence of ransomware attacks all give reason for increased vigilance. The recent state-sponsored hack of multiple government agencies may serve as a catalyst for an increased focus on revamping security measures and greater overall investment in security.
Over a third of cybersecurity experts indicated that their current security tools have failed to prevent attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic, and an increased review of security measures seems particularly prudent and timely in light of ransomware’s prevalence and the likelihood of state-sponsored attacks.
For more information on the threat landscape facing today’s government agencies and how to mitigate them, click HERE to download CrowdStrike’s entire report.