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What is Red Team Assessment and how can it benefit business?

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By Eleanor Barlow, SecurityHQ

Red Team Assessment as a service used to simulate real-life attacks, to know that the right security controls are implemented and working within a business, and to highlight the security gaps that would otherwise go undetected.

A key part of Red Team Assessment is where a simulation is used to mimic the behaviour of an internal employee in the company being tested. For this, the red team will have the same devices and privileges and try to gain unauthorised access to sensitive IT systems, active directory, business sensitive application/database and to see what data is accessible. The goal of this assessment is to learn which machines, servers and data can be reached, and if an attack can be made on the machine to move laterally throughout the organisation.

Obviously, in this attack there is no malicious intent, the purpose is to highlight if someone with malicious intent could indeed infiltrate and gain access to sensitive data/company information and the people and processes involved.

The Challenges Red Team Assessment as a Service Solves

The challenge with most organisations is that the majority, around the world, are now working remotely. The issue with this is that businesses do not know how secure their corporate devices are. In a Red Team Assessment, specific users/employees are targeted, to see if security solutions can be bypassed, and controls to elevate higher privileges and create backdoors into the target’s endpoint, can be made. This provides a clear understanding of vulnerabilities and the weaknesses in a company’s infrastructure especially while teams work remotely.

What Next?

‘Security Awareness is not just for those interested in cyber security. It is a crucial element that all employees must be aware of. The issue is that few organisations have a dedicated cyber security team, which means that few are educated on the necessary processes that should be conveyed to all employees in separate departments. With this lack of awareness, systems, processes, data, and people are left vulnerable. But once employees are cyber security aware, have a checklist in place, are able to recognise cyber threats, the impact of a cyber-attack, and know the steps to prevent cyber threats from attacking and infiltrating their systems, businesses improve their security posture significantly.’ – Tips to Educate and Protect Your Staff from Security Threats

For a comprehensive view of the features and benefits available with Red Team Assessment, download the data sheet here.

Or, to speak with an expert, contact a member of our team here.

About The Author

Eleanor Barlow

Based in London, Eleanor specialises in researching and reporting on the latest in cyber security intelligence, developing trends and security insights. As a skilled Content Manager and experienced named author and ghost writer, she is responsible for SecurityHQ’s content strategy. This includes generating content for the latest articles, press releases, whitepapers, case studies, website copy, socials, newsletters, threat intelligence and more. Eleanor holds a first-class degree in English Literature, and an MA from the University of Bristol. She has strong experience writing in B2B environments, as well as for wider technology-based research projects.

About SecurityHQ

SecurityHQ is a Global MSSP, that detects, and responds to threats, instantly. As your security partner, we alert and act on threats for you. Gain access to an army of analysts that work with you, as an extension of your team, 24/7, 365 days a year. Receive tailored advice and full visibility to ensure peace of mind, with our Global Security Operation Centres. Utilize our award-winning security solutions, knowledge, people, and process capabilities, to accelerate business and reduce risk and overall security costs.





CIISec CyberEPQ qualification will kick-start cyber security careers

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The Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec) is now managing the UK’s first and only Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in cyber security. The Level 3 CyberEPQ will give anyone from 14 years old the best possible opportunity to kick-start their cyber security career and will integrate with CIISec’s broader development programmes to provide a clear pathway to progress.

Originally introduced by Qufaro in 2016, the CyberEPQ provides a starting point for anyone considering a career in cyber security. Now under CIISec’s management, and with rebranding underway, the qualification will become a more integral part of helping people to start and then progress their cyber security careers, from apprenticeship to university to full employment. It will open access to the full support of a professional body and an extensive community, ranging from students and academics at CIISec’s academic partner institutions through to established security professionals and corporate partners.

“We’re delighted to welcome the Level 3 CyberEPQ into our broader programme,” commented Amanda Finch, CEO of CIISec. “This qualification provides a springboard for individuals to start their careers, and, embedded within our development programme, it will help individuals to understand exactly what skills are needed to progress in their roles. From cyber digital investigation professionals to system architects and testers to cryptographers to risk management professionals, the variety of roles available in the industry is vast and there are opportunities out there for everyone. This qualification will play a key role in attracting a fresh pool of talent, which the industry so desperately needs to keep up with evolving cyber threats.”

The qualification is underpinned by CIISec’s skills framework, which is designed to help individuals and organisations understand precisely what skills are needed to fulfil a specific role at a specific level. Students that enrol in the CyberEPQ will also have access to CIISec’s development programme, which supports individuals and their employers at all stages of their career, from apprenticeships to junior-level associates, to full members and people at the peak of their careers.

Contact the CyberEPQ team at CIISec for further information –

The fastest growing threat

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By Atech

Did you hear about the hackers who got away from the scene of the crime? They just ransomware.

There are countless evolved versions of this joke out there. Just as the jokes are evolving, ransomware attacks are evolving, too, and they are not funny. The true cost of an attack consists of both the cost of the forensic investigation, any downtime suffered, and on top of that any costs that the business agrees to pay the threat actors. The damage can have a lasting impact on the business.

According to the UK National Cyber Security Centre, there were three times as many ransomware attacks in the first quarter of 2021 as there were in the whole of 2019. And research by PwC suggests that 61% of technology executives expect this to increase in 2022. Once again, we can largely blame this on the pandemic, and the growth in the amount of activity carried out online and in digital environments.

Ransomware typically involves infecting devices with a virus that locks files away behind unbreakable cryptography and threatens to destroy them unless a ransom is paid, usually in the form of untraceable cryptocurrency. Alternatively, the software virus may threaten to publish the data publicly, leaving the organization liable to enormous fines.

Ransomware is typically deployed through phishing attacks – where employees of an organization are tricked into providing details or clicking a link that downloads the ransomware software or malware onto a computer. However, more recently, a direct infection via USB devices by people who have physical access to machines is becoming increasingly common. Worryingly there has been an increase in these types of attacks targeting critical infrastructure, including one at a water treatment facility that briefly managed to alter the chemical operations of the facility in a way that could endanger lives. Other ransomware attacks have targeted gas pipelines and hospitals.

Education is the most effective method of tackling this threat, so read on to find out what you can do to fight this threat more effectively than ever before.

‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ for Access Control

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By Tim Boivin (pictured), Marketing Director, PortSys

Leonardo DaVinci’s philosophy in the headline has never rung so true as it does today in IT – especially when we’re talking about providing users secure access in our perimeterless world.

If your access approach is wrong, your risk of being hacked ramps up exponentially. Counterintuitively, installing more security solutions can make access less – not more – secure. Each different access solution, each port opened to the outside world, increases your attack surface.

That’s where a Zero Trust Access Control approach helps paint your own sophisticated, yet simple, security masterpiece. For instance, Total Access Control (TAC) offers single sign-on to a central portal that gives users seamless, secure access to resources they need to do their jobs – and only those resources.

With TAC, you can inspect every connection to evaluate a user’s full context – including robust endpoint inspection, credentials verification, device validation, location of the user and more – prior to granting access to any resources, local or cloud. In addition, each connection to each resource through TAC must first pass the security policies you set – and not those set by some third party such as a cloud provider – before that access is granted.

With TAC’s microsegmentation, users are granted access only to the specific resources they are authorized to access, effectively making users captive within the application resources – rather than gaining access to your entire network infrastructure. Each resource can also have its own rules for access – an advanced level of microsegmentation that allows for variable or even partial secure access to resources, based on the user’s context of access for each request.

TAC makes the lives of end users and administrators alike much simpler, so they can focus on doing their jobs instead of trying to remember what password works where for which application. Along the way, your security becomes much more sophisticated in its ability to close the gaps across your infrastructure and keep hackers out.

That’s an IT security masterpiece Leonardo DaVinci would be proud to paint.

To learn more about TAC, watch our video.

5 Minutes With… PortSys CEO Michael Oldham

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For the latest instalment of our cybersecurity executive interview series we spoke to Michael Oldham, CEO of PortSys, where he works on access control solutions across many industries, including finance, government, defense, utilities, healthcare, education, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), construction, retail, and other market segments where secure access to enterprise information is vital

Tell us about your company, products and services.

PortSys is a global Zero Trust Access Control company.  Total Access Control (TAC), our Zero Trust solution, allows organizations to consolidate their access infrastructure, make it easier for their end users, dramatically improve security, reduce costs, and empower their businesses.

What have been the biggest challenges the IT security industry has faced over the past 12 months?

Complexity, complacency and lack of funding. Over the years we’ve tackled security challenges in the same ways over and over again: a problem comes up, some smart people create a solution for that problem, and we implement it in our datacenters.  Recently these issues have exploded with cloud-based offerings of IaaS, PaaS, SaaS – Everything as a Service, essentially. And we just can’t keep up on the security front.

Complexity hasn’t been any one person’s or team’s fault; but over the last three or four decades we created a Frankenstructure – an incredibly complex infrastructure monster that we have lost control of. The more technologies we bring in, the more prohibitively expensive it gets to own them and keep them up to date. Too many products from too many different vendors, all of which don’t work together, creates a massive amount of security chaos across the enterprise, giving hackers too many cracks in your armor to exploit.

In addition, it’s not a matter of if you get hacked – it’s a matter of when. That’s why being complacent, staying with what you already have while hackers continue to evolve their tactics, is a recipe for failure. Most organizations still rely on a castle-and-moat defense, an outdated approach that wasn’t designed to protect us in today’s perimeterless world.

When hackers breach a perimeter (and don’t fool yourself, they will), it’s game over. Once inside, they can pivot and attack – stealing data, compromising accounts, installing ransomware, or just laying in wait for the right time to spring into action. Most organizations don’t see it coming.

It’s not solely the fault of IT – long-term, short-sighted budget neglect by the C-suite is often at the root of these security lapses. It’s hard to pivot from what we’ve done in the past to what we need to do for future threats without adequate financial resources. Yet IT security is still often seen as a cost center. We need to become more than just a line-item expense to successfully protect – and grow – our organizations.

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

We can have a direct impact on how our organizations operate and create a competitive advantage as well. IT security was always a boat anchor that dragged down innovation, particularly around mobility. Today we have technologies that make accessing information  – from anywhere, on any device – easier and far more secure than ever. So employees, suppliers, business partners and volunteers can be more productive than ever.

The emergence of these relatively recent innovations accelerated as practically the entire world migrated to a remote work environment during the pandemic. These security technologies possess an often hidden – or at least little understood – superpower when it comes to digital transformation. With certain solutions, using Zero Trust principles of security, we can now gain a seat at the table when the big strategic decisions are being made: we can actually empower new strategies that ensure the long-term success of our organizations by improving productivity and protecting access to the crown jewels more securely than ever.

What is the biggest priority for the IT security industry in 2022?

Cleaning up the mess of the past three or four decades. There must be a strategic imperative to consolidate the dizzying array of technologies out there, shrink our attack surface, and empower the business for the long haul. With Zero Trust, we now have the right security approach not only to protect our organizations in today’s perimeterless world, but also to reduce costs and grow the business.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2022?

First, reduce supply chain risks. The Solar Winds attack placed a harsh spotlight on the inadequate controls that are in place across our technology supply chain.

Supply chain attacks are just another method the opportunistic hackers have launched, just another way to get inside our infrastructure where protections are few or non-existent. Once inside, they will wreak havoc, so it is critically important to stop their ability to access our resources and applications, and to create segmentation within our infrastructure to prevent any lateral movement.

The other trend will be to reduce the complexity of our security infrastructure. We have to more robustly secure our proprietary information and resources, and yet be nimble in doing so. Zero Trust has been talked about for years, but confusion about what it actually is and a lack of understanding, caused by overhyped marketing, slowed adoption. That marketing haze is starting to lift as organizations gain a better understanding of how a technology like Zero Trust Access Control helps ensure long-term success.

In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?

The risks associated with multi-tenant cloud environments. It was inevitable that we would see a breach of a major cloud service that would impact many customers in a single attack, even in the security realm. The recent breaches in Okta and Microsoft cloud services are evidence of that. But  while significant, these breaches will not be the last. Over the next few years we will see more of these and IT security will rise in importance on the list of priorities by affected and concerned customers of these large multi-tenant providers. These services are incredibly tempting to criminal elements because organizations have started to put all their security assets into one cloud basket. Just imagine if they are able to get valid credentials and a convenient sign-in method to thousands of organizations, how much would that be worth? It’s too tempting of a target and it will be exploited in both the cyber and physical worlds.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the IT security sector?

How at risk most organizations are, and how many people just don’t see or  acknowledge and address those risks. They are too focused on the details to see the bigger picture.  They are too focused on just trying to keep up with all the security products they already have in place. They don’t have time to think outside of the box they’ve created.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

It’s different every day. I love talking with customers about how our technology improved their business. There are so many unique digital ecosystems out there that every day we learn of another way that we help organizations to stay more secure and more productive.

And what’s the most challenging?

Rising above the noise in the market. There are so many different marketing messages related to Zero Trust that it’s human nature to just tune everyone out. That’s why it’s so important to engage with folks on the front lines and at the decision-making level to make sure they understand which approach works best for their unique needs.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Never cheat on your taxes and always watch the money!

Succession or Stranger Things?

Stranger Things for sure! It’s more fun for me to see a bunch of people working together to fight unexpected challenges than to watch a group of people fighting with each other for their own benefit.

BlueFort’s FREE CISO event now available on-demand

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By BlueFort

Our latest virtual live CISO event last week was a success! Get access to the free recordings of our exciting sessions, discussing all the latest threats organisation’s face in a post-covid world.

Our partners’ Virtual Exhibition stands are ready to visit where you can download content and even book a meeting with one of their cybersecurity experts. The show may be over but there’s still plenty of content for you to enjoy.

Catch up on our event where F5, CyCognito and NoName answered the question “Where is my application cyber threat surface in 2022 and how do I defend it?”.

This exciting event, hosted by the vibrant Graham Cluley, also explored:

✅ What are my assets and are they secured?

✅ How can I ensure the security of my apps?

✅ How can I automate consistent cyber protection?

View the on-demand recordings 👉

How hackers get caught

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Cyber criminals are intelligent, elusive individuals, making it difficult for law enforcement to track them down. Not all hackers manage to escape retribution, however. Here, Joanne Newton, deputy head of the school of computing at Arden University, explores the traps they fall in to, and how they get caught…

Cyber criminals go to many lengths to hide their identity and cover their tracks. The use of proxy servers, VPNs and encryption can mean it is incredibly difficult to track down and bring a hacker to justice. Because of this, according to industry data only four to five percent of hackers are actually caught, but high-profile cases showcase how even the most skilled can make simple mistakes which lead to them being apprehended.

In 2016, for example the capture of Guccifer 2.0, a hacking persona who became famous for leaking data from the Democratic National Committee, was possible because the hacker failed to activate a VPN before logging on, allowing investigators to trace the IP address back directly.

There was also the high-profile case of Hector Monsegur, leader of the Lulzsec Group that hit organisations such as Playstation, Fox News and the FBI. He was caught after forgetting to use the Tor system to hide his location when accessing a chat room.

There are a number of human flaws and traits that can lead to arrest, from the need to show off and gain credit for crimes – which is more common than you might think – to the inherent ability of humans to make the most basic errors and mistakes.

In July 2019 Paige A. Thompson, a former Amazon employee, was arrested and accused of stealing personal data of millions of Capital One customers.

She was tracked down after she posted online about possessing knowledge of multiple companies and was found to have files and information on Capitol One and Amazon, as well as social security numbers and bank account details from more than 30 different organisations on multiple devices in her bedroom.

There are many types of hackers carrying a range of different risk levels, from hacktivists – who look to raise awareness of a specific issue – to full-scale cyber terrorists. Of those operating, script kiddies tend to be the least experienced, leaving them most likely to face capture. This type of hacker typically tends to rely on tools developed by other attackers to penetrate a network or system, using these tools to target easy-to-penetrate systems which are vulnerable to widely-known threats.

According to industry data, ransomware attacks almost doubled in 2021. The market for ransomware is becoming increasingly professional – with cybercriminal services-for-hire creating an environment in which ransomware is offered as a service.

There is also a diversification of approaches when it comes to extorting money – with threats to publicly release data, or inform their victims’ families about an incident, all of which adds to the danger levels and increases the risks of being caught.

Much can be learned from hackers’ previous mistakes, and organisations globally should consider how they can take real-world observations and apply them to their own business to reduce the threat level.

Knowledge bases of adversary tactics and techniques exist, which can help organisations to plan for all eventualities using real-world observations. The aim of these frameworks is to improve detection by identifying the actions the cyber-criminal may take allowing the organisation to identify gaps in defences.

Forward-thinking organisations should be using this kind of system to help develop a framework for defence developing, penetration testing and threat modelling, to ensure their businesses are as protected as they can be from these threats.

Joanne Newton is Deputy Head of the School of Computing at Arden University.

Five top tips for improving your cyber security visibility and control 

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By Leyton Jefferies, Head of Security Services, CSI

With an increasing number of high-profile security breaches splashed across the media, companies are now looking to improve their cyber security. As the world has become more digitally connected and working from home continues to be part of the way we work, there has become more opportunity for attack.

What are the threats? 

Ransomware has become increasingly sophisticated, and the number of phishing emails has risen exponentially. This has left many businesses vulnerable. The Government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey found that four in ten businesses (39%) and a quarter of charities (26%) reported having cyber security breaches or attacks in the year March 2020-21, and phishing remains the most common threat vector.

The cost of these attacks is serious too. Around 21% of businesses end up losing money, data or other assets. A third of companies’ report being negatively impacted; for example, they require new post-breach measures, have staff time diverted or suffer broader business disruption.

How have hybrid working models increased cyber risks? 

Working from home and other out of office venues is leaving corporate networks vulnerable as the protection you would normally have behind the perimeter in the office is not in place on home and external networks. To further complicate the situation, users work from several locations with multiple devices and apps.

Company devices that had never moved beyond the organisation’s walls and were kept safely behind firewalls, IDS, DMZs and set up with security solutions that kept cybercriminals from attacking them, are now outside those protected networks. These remote devices are vulnerable to cyber-attacks if existing on-site security solutions are no longer fully effective.

So, what are the key things that businesses should focus on to improve visibility and control? Here are my five top tips:

1.     Make your employees your first line of defence 

Keeping security front of mind while employees are out of the office is an essential step in protecting your organisation. Strong cybersecurity awareness training is critical to prepare an employee to be the first line of defence.

With the lines of home and workspace blurred in a hybrid working world, phishing attacks, unfortunately, are here to stay. Therefore, reducing user risk by helping to identify email scams and malware should become part of bolstering an employee’s security awareness. Organisations can ‘test’ levels of awareness by conducting a custom phishing campaign to see how easily employees can spot a phishing email and how they respond. This can then be measured over time.

Educating about password security and safe internet habits should also be a vital part of staff training.

2.     Protect the endpoint 

Where endpoints are concerned, it’s wise to take a proactive approach to limit what activities can be carried out on the device. Privileged access security is critical to protect access to data, applications and systems. This allows the organisation to keep control of its most valuable data. Each online identity can be set with special access, or specific capabilities and access can be reduced where necessary.

With the high number of endpoints connected to the network, these become easy targets for cybercriminals. Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions can be deployed that involve continuous real-time monitoring of malicious activity. The solution can disconnect endpoints and shadow IT to respond to threats by utilising rules-based automated response and analysis capabilities.

3.     Using best of breed detection and response services 

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is a combination of both technology and human expertise to provide security monitoring across an organisation’s entire IT environment. These services can rapidly respond to and eliminate threats. Taking it a step further, Extended Detection and Response (XDR) provides threat detection and incident response by collecting data across multiple security layers. For example, across email, endpoints, cloud workloads, servers and networks to provide a holistic view that allows for faster detection of threats and response times.

4.     Secure your organisation in the cloud 

Business needs are driving more organisations to the cloud than ever before. Cloud technology improves productivity, efficiency and cost savings and offers greater flexibility. But there are particular security implications to watch out for. The public cloud can limit your access control and authentication, so it’s wise to implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), manage user access and integrate compliance into daily procedures.

Next-Generation Antivirus (NGAV) takes traditional antivirus software to a new, advanced level of endpoint security protection. It’s a cloud-based response to detect and prevent malware, identify malicious activity by unknown sources, collect comprehensive data from all endpoint devices to understand better what is going on in the IT environment. It uses predictive analytics driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence and combines with threat intelligence which goes beyond known file-based malware signatures.

5.     Prevention is best 

Today’s attackers know precisely where to find gaps and weaknesses in an organisation’s security posture. Companies, therefore, need to take actions into their own hands to become better protected. And thankfully, there are many ways in which this can be achieved.

Reducing your organisation’s risk of a cyberattack is the best stance – both from a cost and reputation perspective. Re-evaluate your cyber security strategy, have the right tools and services in place and integrate with effective employee education and testing.

Leyton Jefferies, Head of Security Services, CSI

Leyton has been with CSI since 2014 and is responsible for the firm’s security proposition and go to market service strategy, vendor and partner management development and design of CSI’s security solutions portfolio.

IT security in 2022 – what you need to know

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By Jack Rosier of QMS International, one of the UK’s leading ISO certification bodies

We’re living in the age of computers, with technology playing a more important role in our lives with each passing year. With the pandemic acting as a catalyst for increasing digitalisation, 2022 is likely to see more technology usage than ever before – so businesses need to make sure they’re prepared.

Embracing technology has been great for us as a global community in many ways. For example, it has enabled people and businesses to almost seamlessly shift to remote or hybrid working models, with a plethora of collaborative software to utilise.

However, this can be a double-edged sword. The more technology organisations interact with, the more opportunities for cyber criminals to launch cyber-attacks.

At the beginning of 2021, QMS International carried out a cyber security survey among businesses and 75.7% of the respondents reported that they now felt more open to attack. Another 10% reported that they had no confidence in fending one off.

This stresses the importance of understanding what good IT security looks like and how you can protect your business, employees, clients and stakeholders from dangerous and costly cyber-attacks. If organisations and individuals are aware of best practises and show due diligence in cyber security protocol, there is minimal reason to worry.

In this article, the experts at QMS International take you through potential risks to IT security in 2022, upcoming changes that might affect businesses, and best practises to implement to ensure cyber operations are completely secure.


The Chief Executive of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, Lindy Cameron, has warned that ransomware is “the most immediate danger to UK businesses” and all organisations could be at risk of cyber-attacks through the use of ransomware.

According to an analysis of reports made to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) by CybSafe, the number of ransomware incidents in the first half of 2021 doubled compared to the number reported in the first half of 2020.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software which cyber criminals deploy on an unsuspecting person’s computer network in order to encrypt their files.

​​If a cyber-criminal is successful in doing this, it enables them to extort the victim into paying large fees to decrypt their files and make them accessible again.

Nowadays, most people tend to have their data backed up somewhere, whether it be on an external hard drive or on the Cloud. Most cyber criminals have clocked onto this and now threaten to release stolen files online. This same threat has also been used on those who have refused to pay the criminal.

Often, cyber criminals will target customer service and HR teams as they are easily reachable employees who hold information valuable to the cyber-criminal.

It’s absolutely crucial that organisations ensure they’re well equipped to prevent ransomware attacks in the coming year, and make sure all employees have a fundamental understanding of how to spot and avoid potential ransomware attacks.

Spear phishing

With the pandemic forcing people to adopt new technologies, cyber criminals have been using different methods to carry out their attacks. One method that seems to have gained popularity has been spear phishing.

Spear phishing is a type of digital communication scam that targets a specific individual or organisation. It’s designed to trick unsuspecting victims into clicking a link and willingly giving away their credentials. Unlike conventional phishing, which is a broader approach to the same goal, spear phishing is a lot more personal, and can be a lot more deceiving.

In order to prevent spear phishing attacks, organisations should create filters which flag incoming emails as either internal or external, which allows the recipient to see if somebody is trying to trick them.

Additionally, organisations should ensure employees are educated to understand what spear phishing is and how it can be prevented. This information can be simply delivered through eLearning on cyber security.

Remote or hybrid working

Over the past two years, the various lockdowns and a shift in attitudes has led to businesses adopting mass remote working or moving into hybrid working models. Now, in 2022, it’s clear to see that the movement towards remote and hybrid working is here to stay, with 85% of managers believing that having teams with remote workers will become the new norm.

However, remote working presents a number of challenges to an organisation’s cyber security. Data supplied by Darktrace to The Guardian revealed that the proportion of attacks targeting home workers rose from 12% of malicious email traffic in March 2020 to more than 60% six weeks later when the nation was in lockdown.

Risks like unsafe networks, digital file sharing, and outdated software make up part of a long list of risks that should be addressed by all organisations with remote workers.

These risks should not put off organisations from allowing employees to work remotely, but instead should encourage all businesses to ensure their cyber security policies are up to date and cover remote working responsibilities.

Training employees, carrying out risk assessments, making sure workers are using secure connections, and introducing robust information management frameworks will all help protect your business during hybrid or remote working.

Create a culture of IT security in 2022

From larger businesses to SMEs and start-ups, creating a culture of security is one of the most effective ways to protect your business against all types of cyber-attack in 2022 – and you can do this through ISO 27001 and ISO 27002.

ISO 27001 is the internationally recognised Standard which provides the framework for a comprehensive Information Security Management System (ISMS). It implements 114 legal, physical and technical risk controls that allow an organisation to carry out robust information management.

It’s set to be updated in the coming months to reflect the current challenges to an organisation’s IT security – making 2022 a great time to put in place a futureproof framework to protect your business.

Another Standard receiving an update in 2022 is ISO 27002 – the code of practice for an ISMS, which provides details on the requirements and controls in ISO 27001. Again, this update will make sure ISO 27002 reflects and addresses the current challenges businesses face in relation to IT security.

Adopting the latest versions of these Standards is a great way to give your business all-round protection in 2022 and beyond – so you can reassure your stakeholders and clients, fulfil your legal obligations, and keep your information secure at all times.

Supply chain attacks of 2022 on the rise

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According to Microsoft, the goal of a supply chain attack is to ‘source codes, build processes, or update mechanisms by infecting legitimate apps to distribute malware.’ Supply chain attacks ‘begin with an advanced persistent threat that determines a member of the supply network with the weakest cyber security in order to affect the target organization.’ (CERT-UK report ‘Cyber-security risks in the supply chain’).

Advanced persistent threats (APT’S) are ‘a multiphase, and long-term network attack in which unauthorized users gain access to, and harvest, valuable enterprise data.’ (IBM)

Most often, smaller businesses are the initial targets of these attacks. But these smaller business often provide products and/or services to larger corporations, which then become infected. So, while a small technology company with less than 30 employees may be the initial gateway, anything up to a Fortune 500 business can be impacted.

Take aviation giant, British Airways, for instance. In August 2018, malicious code on the BA website and app was placed to extract customer credit card details and other personal data of over 400,000 customers. While BA was the target, it is likely that third-party suppliers were the original issue here, as ‘third parties may supply code to run payment authorisation, present ads or allow users to log into external services.’ reported the BBC shortly after the attack. The company was fined £20m by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and new measures with regards to authentication and third-party protocols were put in place.

This incident is one of many. ‘In terms of scale and sophistication, the attack against SolarWinds, in which the highest levels of government were compromised, was unlike an attack seen before. The far-reaching impacts are still being identified today. It is the unpredictability of the attack that was/is the greatest cause for concern, and how attacks like this will influence business and infrastructure in the future. That is why it is important to prepare and safeguard systems as much as possible now, before the damage is done.’- Eleanor Barlow, SecurityHQ

How to Mitigate a Supply Chain Attack

To reduce the chance of becoming a victim of a supply chain attack, implement the right services to detect and respond rapidly, now.

For full visibility of threats targeting you, ensure that you have Managed Extended Detection & Response (XDR) in place.

If you are concerned about the impact of a breach, contact a security expert for advice.

Or, if you think you have been breached, report an incident here.