Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Sorting Through the Threats

Everyday there are new cyber threats facing organizations. Often when an article makes its way to mainstream media, there is a flurry of action and response. This is often well intentioned, but many times is a poor use of resources. So how do we determine what is real and what is hype?

The first answer, the one nobody will want to hear, is that you need to know your threats. You need to think about them, conduct tabletop exercises around them, understand them inside and out. What information do you stand to lose? What will the impact of a successful attack be? If your data is of low value, or a successful attack is unlikely to disrupt operations or customers, how important is it to protect against? Is the threat a realistic one within your market? Even ransomware can be distinct within various types of industries – from the threat actor to the impact.

This evaluation can be difficult for data owners and IT security teams to conduct at times, especially if they are not in full knowledge of the datasets, compliance aspects, or operational dependence on data. Thinking about this proactively and having a plan to address threats can be the difference between falling victim to an attack and being able to stop (or prevent) it.

Most attack types are not new. That is why the MITRE ATT&CK framework works well. In fact, we can take a wider view and map MITRE to general military attack techniques going back as far as history will allow. So as the next big urgent risk is played out in the public forum, take a moment to consider how it applies to you or your organization. Is it something that needs to be urgently addressed, or does it slot in behind other evaluated and prioritized risks in the register?