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Cyber Security

Progress your career with a funded Cyber Security Apprenticeship

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This funded Degree Apprenticeship programme from De Montfort University (DMU) is a great opportunity to work towards becoming a fully-competent cyber security professional.

Businesses often find their workforce has gaps in the specific digital skills needed to protect them from cyber security threats. The Cyber Security Technical Professional Integrated Degree Apprenticeship provides the essential skills and knowledge to ensure individuals can become independent cyber security professionals who can operate within business, technology or engineering functions across a range of industry sectors. Apprentices will develop skills which enable them to lead teams that research, analyse, model and assess cyber risks, design, develop, justify, manage and operate secure solutions, and detect and respond to incidents.

The great news is that if your organisation is a Levy payer, this apprenticeship allows you to utilise the funds within that Apprenticeship Levy. If your organisation does not pay the levy, up to 95% of the apprenticeship can be funded by the Government Apprenticeship Service. With this service you have the opportunity to reserve funds up to three months in advance of the start date for the programme. From now until autumn, up to 15,000 apprenticeships are available via this route.  

The teaching on this programme is underpinned by the work of academics from DMU’s Cyber Technology Institute (CTI). The CTI is a recognised NCSC Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research as well as an Airbus Centre of Excellence in SCADA Forensics. This research and industry expertise provides the perfect environment for apprentices to develop the skills they need to respond to real-world cyber security challenges.

Key elements of the apprenticeship include; Risk modelling, analysis and assessment strategies, Cyber Incident Response tools and techniques, Secure software development, Malware Analysis, and understanding of the applicable laws, regulations, standards and ethics.

During this 42 month programme apprentices can expect to attend DMU for week-long blocks of teaching for each module, learning alongside peers from industry to encourage broad scope thinking. Integrating workplace training with academic learning provides apprentices with an increased understanding of their organisation’s unique business needs.

This apprenticeship is suitable for professionals employed by an organisation who will support their participation in the entire programme. This includes regular meetings with a work place mentor to support development of the professional skills they need to complete the programme successfully.

DMU works with organisations such as IBM, Siemens and BT delivering apprenticeships, where learning and skills are embedded back into the business from day one, adding real value and transferring fresh and innovative ideas.

The programme is based on the Level 6 Cyber Security Technical Professional (Integrated Degree) apprenticeship standard and is allocated Funding Band 27 (£24,000) by the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA).

To find out more, click here.

Unwanted apps high on 2020 cyber threat list

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

So-called ‘fleeceware’ apps and aggressive adware software are among the key cyber threats posed to businesses and the public in 2020.

That’s according to the 2020 Threat Report, produced by SophosLabs to explore changes in the threat landscape over the past 12 months.

The Report focuses on six areas where researchers noted particular developments during this past year – here are the key findings:-

  • Ransomware attackers continue to raise the stakes with automated active attacks that turn organizations’ trusted management tools against them, evade security controls and disable back ups in order to cause maximum impact in the shortest possible time. 
  • Unwanted apps are edging closer to malware. In a year that brought the subscription-abusing Android Fleeceware apps, and ever more stealthy and aggressive adware, the Threat Report highlights how these and other potentially unwanted apps (PUA), like browser plug-ins, are becoming brokers for delivering and executing malware and fileless attacks.  
  • The greatest vulnerability for cloud computing is misconfiguration by operators. As cloud systems become more complex and more flexible, operator error is a growing risk. Combined with a general lack of visibility, this makes cloud computing environments a ready made target for cyberattackers.
  • Machine learning designed to defeat malware finds itself under attack. 2019 was the year when the potential of attacks against machine learning security systems were highlighted. Research showed how machine learning detection models could possibly be tricked, and how machine learning could be applied to offensive activity to generate highly convincing fake content for social engineering. At the same time, defenders are applying machine learning to language as a way to detect malicious emails and URLs. This advanced game of cat and mouse is expected to become more prevalent in the future. 

Other areas covered in the 2020 Threat Report include the danger of failing to spot cybercriminal reconnaissance hidden in the wider noise of internet scanning, the continuing attack surface of the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and the further advancement of automated active attacks (AAA).

“The threat landscape continues to evolve – and the speed and extent of that evolution is both accelerating and unpredictable. The only certainty we have is what is happening right now, so in our 2020 Threat Report we look at how current trends might impact the world over the coming year.  We highlight how adversaries are becoming ever stealthier, better at exploiting mistakes, hiding their activities and evading detection technologies, and more, in the cloud, through mobile apps and inside networks. The 2020 Threat Report is not so much a map as a series of signposts to help defenders better understand what they could face in the months ahead, and how to prepare,” said John Shier, senior security advisor, Sophos.

For additional and detailed information on threat landscape trends and changing cybercriminal behaviours, check out the full SophosLabs 2020 Threat Report at https://www.sophos.com/threatreport

Fines of up to £17m if UK infrastructure firms neglect cyber security

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The Government has announced plans to fine Infrastructure firms up to £17m if they don’t have adequate cyber security measures in place.

Under a new directive, UK regulators will be able to inspect cyber security at premises operated by transport, energy water and health companies, checking for any threat to public safety and possibility of significant adverse or economic impact resulting from a disruptive incident.

The announcement follows plans last year from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to bring the UK in line with the EU Network and Information Systems (NIS) Directive, which comes into effect in May.

The directive will also cover threats affecting IT services, hardware failures and environmental attacks.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “Today we are setting out new and robust cybersecurity measures to help ensure the UK is the safest place in the world to live and be online.

“We want our essential services and infrastructure to be primed and ready to tackle cyber attacks and be resilient against major disruption to services.”

Discussing the directive, Jens Monrad, analyst at cyber security company FireEye, said: “With so many nations, including the UK, now relying on digitalisation, hackers may look to cause mass disruption by targeting critical national infrastructure,” said Jens Monrad, at cyber-security company FireEye.

“This could be systems, which the UK government and citizens rely on, like healthcare systems, water supply and electricity.”

Uber conceal massive data hack

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Global transportation tech company Uber concealed a massive breach of personal information of over 57 million customers and drivers in October 2016, with the company acknowledging that it failed to notify individuals and regulators it has been revealed.

The company covered up the breach, and instead paid the hackers responsible $100,000 to delete data and keep the breach quiet.

Addressing the situation, new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi admitted that, while there was no excuse for the incident, he had “obtained assurances that the downloaded data had been destroyed”.

“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, said in a statement to The Guardian: “While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes.

“We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of our customers.”

It is thought the hackers managed to download data including names, email addresses and phone numbers, including driver license numbers of over 600,000 Uber drivers around the US.

Uber claims that other information, including credit card numbers, bank account details and birth dates were not compromised.

Khosrowshahi admitted that the breach had prompted him to take several measures, with the departure of two senior members of staff responsible fro the company’s 2016 response.

 

 

 

Retailer CeX suffers data hack

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Tech trade-in retailer CeX has suffered a data breach, which could affect top to two million of its registered website customers.

In an email to its customers, managing director David Mullins said it was investigating the breach “as a priority” and that they would be “taking a number of measures to prevent this from happening again.”

It is believed that the breach was a result of an unauthorised third party accessing CeX’s computer systems, with customer information including names, addresses, email details and phone numbers compromised.

The email by Mullins also stated that for “a small number of customers” the breach may also extend to encrypted data from expired credit cards up to 2009, although it was unlikely any payment information was taken as CeX ceased storing customer cards in 2009.

CeX is currently contacting two million of its registered website customers.

“We are taking this extremely seriously and want to provide you with details of the situation and how it might affect you,” Mullins said in the email.

“This was a sophisticated breach of security and we are working closely with the relevant authorities to help establish who was responsible. Our cyber security specialists have already put in place additional advanced measures to fix the problem and prevent this from happening again.”

CeX is asking all customers to change passwords for its Webuy online account.

“Although your password has not been stored in plain text, if it is not particularly complex then it is possible that in time, a third party could still determine your original password and could attempt to use it across other, unrelated services,” the email said. “As such, as a precautionary measure, we advise customers to change their password across other services where they may have re-used their WeBuy website password.

“We take the protection of customer data extremely seriously and have always had a robust security programme in place which we continually reviewed and updated to meet the latest online threats. Clearly however, additional measures were required to prevent such a sophisticated breach occurring and we have therefore employed a cyber security specialist to review our processes. Together we have implemented additional advanced measures of security to prevent this from happening again.”

Anglo-Irish task force needed ahead of Brexit

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

A top Irish cyber security expert has claimed that ongoing Brexit negotiations are failing to address the most basic cyber security issues, and that an Anglo-Irish Cyber Task Force should be set up as soon as possible.

Paul C Dwyer, president of the International Cyber Threat Task Force (ICTTF) has voiced concern regarding the security of data protection and the worries of the digital community and digital border post Brexit. Dwyer recommends that Ireland should take the lead and work with the British Government with the aim of creating a task force to focus on these and other challenges, co-ordinating a joint cross sector approach to the issues that arise from new EU cyber legislation, the ICTTF being held up as an example of such an organisation.

The ICTTF was formed seven years ago as a not-for-profit virtual group to help connect cyber security experts. The organisation now has over 3,000 members from over 100 countries, along with over 20 million visitors to the ICTTF community portal a year.

https://www.icttf.org

Andrus Ansip proposes new Euro cyber security centre

960 629 Stuart O'Brien

A senior European politician has proposed that the EU should set up a new cyber security centre, with the aim of certifying the security level of technology products.

Andrus Ansip, European Commissioner for the Digital Single Market, says the new centre would focus on technology products and technical expertise, working separately from NATO’s cyber security centre.

“European products and cybersecurity products are not able, only some of them are able, to compete in the world market. We have to pay much more attention to this,” commented Ansip.

“When the WannaCry ransomware attack affected companies across Europe in May, there were a lot of member states who asked for some help from the European Union.”

Ansip had previously tweeted earlier in the month that “more centres of excellence were needed” after a visit to NATO’s cybersecurity centre based in Estonia.

It is thought that Ansip will reveal more information on the centres in September, ahead of conversations on cybersecurity certification, along with an announcement on an updated EU cybersecurity strategy and a new legal basis for the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).

However, the news of the centre could create problems and an overlap between organisations.

Speaking with EURACTIV, Steve Purser, ENISA’s director of operations said: “There is already a lot of competition between EU offices tasked with managing cyber security… it does make sense to have hundreds of people at the European level, but not hundreds of organisations.”

Government invests £20m in teen cyber security education

960 679 Stuart O'Brien

The Government has launched an ambitious Cyber Schools Programme aimed at secondary school students between the ages of 14 and 18.

The initiative, launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will provide training for up to 6,000 teenagers through extracurricular clubs and activities, along with an online game. The pilot programme is due to launch in the autumn.

The Cyber Schools Programme is part of the National Cyber Security Programme to find the online security experts of tomorrow. Students, teachers and cyber security professionals will be invited to register their interest online by the DCMS, which claims that the programme is intended “to make sure the UK is prepared for the future, and ready to tackle the growing threat posed by cyber criminals”.

“We want to help young people learn some of the skills needed to work in the cyber security profession. In the coming years, it will be your generation building, running and protecting the UK – you could be needed to help protect industries such as banking, transport and public services,” explains the DCMS website.

The training will be supported by Cyber Security Challenge UK, BT, FutureLearn and The Sans Institute.

Students between the ages of 14 and 18 will be assessed, before taking the course, with those that are accepted benefiting from connections within the cyber security sector. The DCMS is looking for at least 5,700 teenagers trained by 2021.

Commenting on the course, Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital, said: “Our Cyber Schools Programme aims to inspire the talent of tomorrow and give thousands of the brightest young minds the chance to learn cutting-edge cyber security skills alongside their secondary school studies. I encourage all those with the aptitude, enthusiasm and passion for a cyber security career to register for what will be a challenging and rewarding scheme.”

Wannacry

BT and KPMG pinpoint corporate cyber security traps

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

BT and KPMG have published a new cyber security report offering practical advice to businesses of all sizes on how best to manage their security journey and turn it into a business opportunity.

The new report, “The cyber security journey – from denial to opportunity”, warns businesses against falling into dangerous traps as they deal with the complexity of securing a digital enterprise. These include being stuck in ‘Denial’ and ‘Worry’ phases at one end of the spectrum, and ‘False Confidence’ and ‘Hard Lessons’ at the other end.

While the report stresses that investment in technology such as firewalls and antivirus protection is essential ‘good housekeeping’ practice at the start of the security journey, firms should avoid throwing money away on IT security products as a knee-jerk reaction. This is especially true for companies who have matured from the stage of denial into the stage of constant worry, where investing in the latest technology can be viewed as the silver bullet to the problem. This common mistake can make such firms a target, not just for cyber criminals, but also for over-zealous IT salespeople.

Businesses must first assess their current controls against best practice, such as the guidance issued by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), to help identify any gaps and prioritise essential areas in which to invest. Furthermore, everyone in the organisation, from the board down, must take responsibility for maintaining high standards of cyber hygiene, while businesses must invest in training and raise awareness amongst staff. This can help turn employees from the weakest point in any security chain into every company’s greatest asset in the fight to protect data.

Mark Hughes, CEO, BT Security, said: “The global scale of the recent ransomware attacks showed the astonishing speed at which even the most unsophisticated of attacks can spread around the world. Many organisations could have avoided these attacks by maintaining better standards of cyber hygiene and getting the basics right. These global incidents remind us that every business today – from the smallest sole trader through to SMEs and large multinational corporations – needs to get to grips with managing the security of their IT estate, as well as their people and processes.

“Our report aims to help secure the digital enterprise by navigating businesses through their cyber security journey. By sharing valuable insights from senior IT security leaders, we hope to help businesses of all sizes transform cyber security from operational risk into a business opportunity.”

David Ferbrache, Technical Director in KPMG’s cyber security practice, said: “The recent spate of cyber-attacks is keeping cyber risk at the top of the business agenda, and as such investments are being made. The business community needs to avoid knee-jerk reactions as cyber security is a journey – not a one size fits all issue, and getting the basics like patching and back-ups right matters. It’s important to build a security culture, raise awareness amongst staff, and remember that security needs to enable business, not prevent it.

“Cyber threats are evolving and businesses face ruthless criminal entrepreneurs. The solution isn’t jargon ridden technology silver bullets but one that involves a community effort in a world where business boundaries are vanishing. With criminals getting increasingly creative about finding the weakest link, the CISOs of the future need to care about digital risk, help the business seize opportunities and build cyber resilience.”

Although cyber security issues are increasingly discussed at board level today, the report claims that those discussions are too infrequent and are treated as a separate and disconnected issue from broader operational risk. All too often, the issue of cyber security is not incorporated into the overarching business strategy.

The paper also argues that overly complex IT architecture can worsen security gaps. This is especially the case if the technology deployed is too difficult to use or there’s a lack of integration.

In order to address these risks and gain true leadership in cyber security, the report calls on firms to focus on good governance processes, the proper integration of technologies and to consider outsourcing some less critical aspects of their security to a trusted partner. This, combined with the sharing of intelligence, good practice and hard-won lessons among a network of peers and beyond would put the company in a position to think about cyber security differently. Namely, not as a risk which is discussed by the board perhaps twice a year, but as a business opportunity and enabler for digital transformation.

Hacking

Cyber security specialist Trend Micro launches $100m venture fund

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Trend Micro has launched a corporate venture fund to explore emerging technology markets with an initial investment of $100 million.

The fund will nurture a portfolio of startups that are incubating ideas in hyper growth markets, such as the Internet of Things (IoT).

Japan-based Trend Micro cites Gartner data, which estimates 26 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020

Eva Chen, founder and chief executive officer for Trend Micro, said:”Trend Micro’s vision has always been to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. The explosion of devices is transforming how the world works, thinks and acts. It is clear that the ecosystem is still evolving and there is work to do to ensure organisations and individuals can operate and live safely in this new reality.”

Trend Micro’s venture will offer companies financial backing, access to its global threat intelligence, strategic alliances, as well as its channel of more than 28,000 partners.

In return, the company says working with these investments will uncover insights into emerging ecosystem opportunities, disruptive business models, market gaps and skillset shortages – influencing its cybersecurity solution planning.

“We have a 29-year history of successfully anticipating technology trends to secure all types of environments,” said Chen. “The first mega wave we caught was the growth of the PC marketplace; we committed early on to endpoint protection and remain a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms today2. The second mega wave was all about the cloud; we made a bet early on to securing the cloud and so far we have secured over two billion workload hours on Amazon Web Services (AWS) alone. Now, we believe the next wave has arrived with IoT; our fund will help us harness this opportunity.”

 

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