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The changing face of security...

03 Mar 2014

Mark Shaw, Symantec technology strategist – Information Security (Pacific) takes a look at the changing threat landscape and its impact on security solutions.

A whopping 50% of all threats Symantec blocked last year were not blocked by antivirus solutions, but by the company’s advanced threat protection technology, which uses behaviour profiling to study enterprise network communications to detect sophisticated cyberattacks across all platforms.

This illustrates that no single security technology can provide adequate protection for businesses nowadays.

A decade ago the largest risk from a bad virus was a temporarily disabled computer and lost files. Today’s attacks are capable of stealing financial and customer data and intellectual property, compromising critical business information and systems. The need for strong security has never been more apparent.

While antivirus solutions remain critically important for businesses to stop vulnerability-based attacks, they must be complemented by new, innovative technologies to ensure attacks can be effectively monitored, detected and stopped.

Changing work lives, changing threats

Malware authors continuously develop new threats to online security: these have grown and evolved rapidly, particularly over the past 12 months.

Their innovations take advantage of both advances in technology and the evolution of how we use the internet. We have also seen an expansion of traditional threats into new forums. Social media and mobile devices, in particular, have come under increasing attack.

The latest Norton Report found that 27% of New Zealand survey respondents had experienced mobile cybercrime in the past 12 months, compared to 16% in 2012 and approximately one in five of survey respondents had lost their mobile device or had it stolen.

The report also showed a continued blurring of lines across the work and personal lives of Kiwis.

Nearly two out of five survey respondents use their personal devices (desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets) for work- related activities and close to half say their company does not have policies in place around the use of personal devices for work.

Additionally, around 40% of New Zealand business leaders work remotely for half the week or more, according to the 2013 Regus Global Economic Indicator.

This puts both people and companies at greater risk, as attackers are constantly changing tactics by leveraging malware and social engineering efforts to steal password credentials and hopping between compromised hosts to launch attacks. Organisations must adapt their protection to stay ahead of these emerging threats.

Authentication is a key issue as the growth of extranets and cross-organisational collaboration tools mean that non-employees – including customers, suppliers, and business partners – increasingly need access to corporate applications and data, sometimes through social media technologies.

New media, new behaviours and new technologies all promise to improve collaboration, facilitate sharing and reduce operational costs. But your clients need a comprehensive view of the security risk landscape and access to tools that will enable them to reap the benefits, while keeping them protected from the array of ever-changing threats.