NSA, Retail Breaches Heavily Influence Security Strategies

by CXOtoday News Desk    Aug 27, 2014

security breach

The NSA breach by Edward Snowden and the number of retail or point of sale (PoS) system breaches in the past year is forcing businesses in terms of changing security strategies to protect against the latest threats, according to the finding of CyberArk’s Eighth Annual Global Advanced Threat Landscape survey.

The survey developed through interviews with 373 C-level and IT security executives across North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific states that the majority of organizations believe that attacks reaching the privileged account takeover stage are the most difficult to detect, respond to and remediate. While the NSA breach is widely regarded as the prototypical insider-based attack, and the retail/PoS breaches are regarded similarly for outside attacks, the critical link between both attacks was the compromise and exploitation of privileged credentials. 

Some of the key findings of the survey include:

Snowden and Retail/PoS Breaches Influence Security Strategies the Most

When asked which cyber-attacks or data breaches in the past year had the biggest impact on their business’ security strategy, 37 percent of respondents cited the NSA/Edward Snowden breach, 31 percent of respondents cited the retail/PoS attacks and 19percent of respondents cited government-sponsored espionage.

Third-Party Privileged Access Emerges as Critical Security Vulnerability  

As companies move to the cloud and streamline the supply chain by providing routine network access to third-parties, cyber-attackers are increasingly targeting these partners to steal and exploit their privileged access to the target company’s network. This pathway was used in some of the most devastating breaches in the last 12 months. The survey found that 60 percent of businesses now allow third-party vendors remote access to their internal networks. Of this group, 58 percent of organizations have no confidence that third-party vendors are securing and monitoring privileged access to their network. 

Attackers are on the Inside – Protect Your Privileges

Organizations continue to face sophisticated and determined attackers seeking to infiltrate networks. Many organisations face daily perimeter-oriented attacks, such as phishing, designed to give attackers a foothold to steal the privileged credentials of an employee to give them defacto insider status. According to the survey, 52 percent of respondents believe that a cyber-attacker is currently on their network, or has been in the past year, followed by  44 percent believe that attacks that reach the privileged account takeover stage are the most difficult to detect, respond to and remediate and29 percent believe it is the malware implantation stage.

Other Findings of the survey include:

The survey respondents stated that the following trends were the most impactful in terms of shaping and changing security strategies: -30 percent stated Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) -26 percent stated cloud computing -21 percent stated regulatory compliance -16 percent stated the Internet of Things (IoT)

When asked whether their organisation had or was considering deploying security analytics, this year’s survey found that 31 percent of businesses have already deployed security analytics in some form -23 percent were planning on deploying security analytics in the next 12 months -33 percent had no plans to leverage security analytics.

“Loss of IP and competitive advantage, diminishing brand value, loss of customers and negative shareholder impact are just a few of the business impacts many organisations felt as a result of cyber-attacks this year,” said Adam Bosnian, executive vice president, CyberArk. “This year’s survey results demonstrate that whether it’s an insider like Edward Snowden, or an outside-based attack like the retail/PoS breaches, attackers require the exploitation of insider credentials to successfully execute their attacks.”

The complete survey can be downloaded by clicking  here.