We often talk about the evolution of data breaches and the increased sophistication in the methods used by cyber criminals to launch attacks. As security breaches become more disruptive and damaging, many organizations are using data encryption to protect their internet traffic. Unfortunately, the bad guys are now also using encryption — to avoid detection and spread malware.
According to the Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Report released this week, 50 percent of all Internet traffic, both legitimate and malicious, was encrypted as of October 2017. This is up from 38 percent in 2016. Sounds great, right? Not so fast. While we saw a 12 percent increase over the last year in the amount of overall encrypted internet traffic, hackers alone have increased their use of encryption by a whopping 268 percent. That means the attackers are out-scaling the defenders and, in some case, are exploiting the very defense being used to protect organizations against them.
Some additional report findings:
- The financial cost of a breach can be very high. According to study respondents, more than half of all attacks resulted in financial damages of more than US$500,000, including, but not limited to, lost revenue, customers, opportunities, and out-of-pocket costs
- Security is getting more complex. In 2017, 25 percent of security professionals said they used products from 11 to 20 vendors, compared with 18 percent of security professionals in 2016. Security professionals said 32 percent of breaches affected more than half of their systems, compared with 15 percent in 2016.
- Machine-learning is becoming more essential. 34 percent of security professionals rely on machine learning. Applying machine learning can help enhance network security defenses and, over time, “learn” how to automatically detect unusual patterns in encrypted web traffic, cloud, and IoT environments.
- Behavior analytics tools are effective. 92 percent of security professionals said behavior analytics tools work well. Two-thirds of the healthcare sector, followed by financial services, found behavior analytics to work extremely well to identify malicious actors.
- More businesses are moving their networks to the cloud for better security. 57 percent of IT professionals said they host networks in the cloud because of better data security; 48 percent, because of scalability; and 46 percent, because of ease of use. While cloud offers better data security, attackers are taking advantage of the fact. A comprehensive security strategy that includes best practices, advanced security technologies like machine learning, and first-line-of-defense tools can help protect this environment.
SLPowers provides small businesses with affordable security and compliance solutions that were previously only within reach of large enterprises. In other words, we make technology safe for small businesses. For more than 30 years, we’ve provided our clients with secure and stable computing environments, so their business could thrive. Give us a call.