Take Your Head Out the Sand - (You WILL be Hacked Eventually)

Do it now please.  Stop ignoring the fact.  Stop living with your head in the sand, the 'it won't to happen to us' syndrome.  It will.  Sooner rather than later your corporate network, your information assets, your company Intellectual Property, the brand that has taken half a century to create and protect, they (or if you're lucky only one) of them will be hacked in the future.  The likelihood of it not happening is actually quite small, so you might as well start preparing for when the attack will happen and develop a plan for an effective response and recovery.

2011 saw the terms cyberwars, APT and malware command and control all become pretty much house hold terms.  Organisations with any sort of web based presence (how many don't?) continually went through vulnerability scanning exercises, patching roll-outs and IDS testing in an attempt to provide external auditors, board members and shareholders with some sort of assurance that the IS teams were in control of the infrastructure that protects their key information assets.

Many organisations within the financial services industry have separate IS teams that are now responsible for information security and governance, not only from a technical infrastructure perspective, but also from a policy and control perspective.  Whilst the main compliance procedures are focused on insider threats (who has access to what?, access control, reporting etc) many are now focusing on web based Advanced Persistent Threats.  APT's are becoming more complex, often being run and directed by large corporate-like groups involved with organised crime.  Where there's a successful APT there is cash.

Whilst most security programmes argue for pro-active measures (patching, account management policies, access provisioning, zero-day attack scanning and so on), it is equally important to have a re-active procedure and mindset when facing new age cyber security.  If a breach does occur is there a clear escalation plan and procedure to manage the 'who, what why?'  This could be viewed like a DR plan for cyber attacks.  Whilst the main security programme is focussed on making sure attacks never happen, in the increasingly likely outcome they will, an effective and and rapid response is imperative in order to lessen the impact and return to BAU operations.  In certain circumstances based on a detailed risk assessment the response could be more cost effective than the prevention (don't put a $100 padlock on a $10 bike...).

Whilst doctors will forever argue the virtues of healthy living, immunisation and health & safety legislation, each town and city still has a well funded Accident and Emergency department.  The same could be applied to corporate cyber security programmes.

(Simon Moffatt)