RESEARCH BLOG

From ZERO-DAY attacks to mobile device threats: The five hottest trends in cyber-security

Between remote connection from home, which blurs the distinction between personal and business information, to the increasing ability of hackers to break complex systems, what are the current five major trends in cyber-security?

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The cyber-security field is one of the hottest areas today because almost every one of us reveals much information on unusually large number of platforms, while being exposed to even more amount of information, and much of this information is very sensitive.

This is true both for the private and business sector, and even more today this distinction is becoming blurred. For example, many employees connect to their work computer from home using their personal username and password.

On the other hand, hackers, especially those who have a genuine malicious intentions and are not satisfied just to prove abilities, continue to refine their hacking tactics, for example, we recently revealed that hackers developers bought popular Chrome browser plugins to install malicious code, which collects information from users.

So, what are the five major trends in cyber-security today and where the market is currently facing?

1. New concept: Digital Risk Management

A security factor to be responsible for all types of digital connections that run between a variety of devices, especially since more and more products that are used on a daily basis will be connected directly to the Internet. In addition, risk management can provide insights on the recommendations by the organization security personal in particular on how they should be applied on a large scale and examine new technologies that were not yet known.

It is estimated that in few years, one third of all organizations shall be in this position. The main reason is the large number of new technologies that will be used which will cause a drastic drop in the level of service they provide to customers, and therefore no choice but to provide a targeted response to that.

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2. Focus on end-user

Another clear emerging trend is trying to teach end users how to defend against malware as well as secure their accounts.

The reason is that in many cases, even the most secure systems are exposed because of human errors, such as use of easy and common passwords.

Another common challenge that is almost impossible to solve is the large number of users who sign up for different services with the same password. In this case solutions such as “Login with Facebook” do not help and even further endanger the user who “puts all eggs in one basket”.

However, it is necessary to note that a lot of websites and digital services have already begun to demand from users better security measures, for example, each password must contain letters and numbers and users can see what is their password’s strength.

In addition, sensitive sites like banking sites also seek identification code as an additional security layer.

On the other hand, we must not forget that hackers constantly looking for new ways to trick the users, and sometimes they use sophisticated social engineering to entice users to disclose sensitive information. Hackers exploit their intimate information from their popular social networks in order to trick certain populations (such as men who seek jobs on LinkedIn, where the user may think the hacker is a recognized member of the group despite the fact the access was obtained by fraud or impersonating to another user).

3. Meet the Hybrid-Cloud

I have already mentioned the fact that our personal information tends to mingle with the business information, and it should be noted also in the context of cloud services; Many businesses and organizations today are choosing to use public cloud integrated in private cloud. In other words, one cloud is sitting in the center of the organization or private server leased directly from another company, and the second cloud can be accessed from the Internet, so it must support access by very large number of users.

Because organizations cannot limit the access except to their own data centers, sometimes they need to integrate with the public cloud, hence a Hybrid-Cloud is created.

Hybrid-Cloud requires the organization to tighten its security measures and cooperate with third parties. One example is in case of a hacking of the public cloud. The organization security personal won’t be able to do much if they do not receive server log files from the public cloud administrator.

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4. ZERO-DAY attacks

ZERO-DAY attacks can be performed on a specific hardware or software starting from the moment they enter the market. Ironically, it is the speed which companies release patches and security updates (sometimes on the first day of the original version release) that indicates the amount of bugs that were present in the software, some of them with particularly destructive potential.

Even worse, because companies release patches, they actually expose the security failures in the previous versions, hence provide hostiles to use this to their advantage and attack users who have not updated their service or system or who are unable to do so because of old hardware in their possession, for example, some old Android devices are not able to be updated with the latest versions of Android.

The good news in this context are that the automatic updates are getting more friendly and easy to install as part of the solution.

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5. Operating systems and mobile devices increased threats

Although today most of the viruses and harmful software mainly attack PCs, we are already seeing signs of viruses and malware affecting even more sophisticated mobile users or even tablets.

Although companies such as Apple and Google are trying to protect the devices from attacks by restricting access to resources, it is the users themselves that are the ones that often break the rules, for example, by performing ROOT or Jailbreak, thus exposing themselves to increased risk.

Add to that the fact that users accessing their organization computer or network using all devices, there is no doubt that there is a need to develop a dedicated security solution for mobile operating systems, and it is possible that the mobile manufacturers will be forced at some point to help it.

 

There is no doubt that the emphasis in information security today is the preliminary preparation towards threats and dealing with challenges in neglected arenas (relatively, of course) such as mobile and various cloud services.

If these services were so far presumed as services intended primarily for private use, today we can no longer rely on users to always do the separation as might be expected of them.