Cyber Security Weak Points That Business Leaders Should Know About

Over the past decade, business leaders have had to face an uncomfortable truth that cyber security threats aren't going away. It has been on the board agenda for a while and is often considered an IT problem, but board members need to fully understand risks from a business continuity and a cyber security standpoint. 

Cyber crime is often carried out using tactics such as stealing access credentials and infecting systems with malware, ransomware and phishing, which pose major threats to data, processes, systems and customers. 

When directors are given this information they should be tested for personal understanding so that they can focus on and help to create a solution, changing a process, or adding additional resources as we are all facing increasing cyber attacks. 

This new post-pandemic cyber digital reality is fraught with threats. In fact, these attacks peaked in December of 2021 with a wave of Log4j exploits. The popular Java-based logging utility is only one surprising cyber security weak point that business owners should look out for.

Flaws in both human cyber security measures and protective technology create the main vulnerabilities for companies. 

By exploring these weaknesses in-depth, you can create action plans to maintain your organisation's digital integrity. From increasingly ingenious phishing schemes to breakthroughs in offensive AI, digital threats expose the weakness in our IT frameworks and data systems. 

Phishing is one of the most widespread and damaging forms of cyber attack, typically drawing on fraud and social engineering to infiltrate a system. 

Although Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks make up a small portion of all cyber crime, the damages can be the most costly. With over $345 million in estimated losses from these attacks. Now, phishing has changed to be more subtle and attackers are able to infiltrate in ways most workers might not expect.

“Smishing” or phishing with SMS texts are one example of this. Cyber criminals send out disguised texts with links. When employees open them, they are lured to duplicitous sites where personal information can be obtained or rootkits installed. From here, business accounts are subject to hacking, malware, and theft. 

Research has confirmed that human error contributes at least partially to 95% of all data breaches. With more convincing phishing schemes targeting businesses, these instances of human error will only increase. 

For business owners, embracing zero-trust authorization measures alongside comprehensive security training and practices will be key to mitigating this vulnerability. After human error, outdated software can be one of your biggest cyber security vulnerabilities. Failing to update a system puts you at greater risk of attack because the older a version of unpatched software, the longer attackers have had to determine that version’s vectors and vulnerabilities. 

Outdated software comes with outdated security credentials. Wherever consumer, financial, or backend data is concerned, the software you use to manage it presents a vulnerability without consistent updates. Today, the power of AI to transform cyber defence has not yet reached its limitations, if indeed it has any. However, cyber criminals are using the power of AI to go on the offensive as well. 

Tapping into an AI’s ability to learn and improve through data modelling, hackers are finding success when it comes to picking at systems to find vulnerabilities.

Identifying these weaknesses is crucial, as 85% of IT professionals pivot toward passwordless technology. Cyber security briefings were once considered a check-off-the-box conversation at the board level, but today, executives understand the regulatory, fiduciary, organisational, and personal liability that could come from a data breach. 

Furthermore, the importance of proper vendor risk management is well-known  and business leaders should realise that they need to focus on identifying whether there’s an issue with a vendor, communicating regularly about security issues, and managing vendors at scale.

BitSight:     Venturebeat:    Oodaloop:   IMD:    McKinsey:   HBR

For Free Advice and a Board Cyber Security Review please contact Cyber Security Intelligence.

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