Despite increased spending on global security services, a recent report found that 100 percent of web applications are still vulnerable to cyberattacks. Although the study, conducted by security firm Trustwave, pegged just 8 percent of these vulnerabilities as high-risk or critical, the sheer volume of exploitable flaws means that cybercriminals’ persistence will likely pay off.
Targeted Attacks and Security Spending on the Rise
As noted by TechRepublic, cyberattack vectors are evolving. For example, while the volume of spam emails has dropped significantly over the last 10 years, threats such as PDF phishing, in which attackers send legitimate-looking PDFs that contain links to malicious sites, are on the rise.
While the Trustwave report found that high-profile arrests and increased corporate scrutiny has limited the impact of as-a-service exploit kits, “compromised webpages are too tempting a vector for exploitation for attackers to ignore it for long … inevitably, serious players will perceive a gap in the ‘market’ and fill it.” As a result, cybercriminals are shifting from large-volume exploit kits to more targeted attacks that leverage commonly shared vulnerabilities.
Cybersecurity spending, meanwhile, is on the rise. Gartner predicted that global security services spending will reach $96 billion in 2018 as companies look for ways to mitigate emerging threats and protect critical data. But given the ubiquity of web application vulnerabilities, as noted by the Trustwave report, spending alone won’t solve the problem.
“It is clearer than ever that everyone who relies on today’s technology — not just security and IT professionals — must adopt an informed defensive stand to protect themselves from attack,” the report’s authors wrote.
Improving Global Security Services
Trustwave noted that both frequent system upgrades and rigorous patch management will be required to reduce the number of data breaches. According to CSO Online, enterprises can boost the cybersecurity bottom line by adopting an adversary mindset — that means gathering intelligence on adversaries and using this information to design effective defenses.
Security professionals “should also ensure that employee cybersecurity training is in place at their organization to decrease the likelihood of someone accidentally opening a malicious file or link on a work machine,” according to TechRepublic. This is critical because most attacks start with unintentional downloads, link clicks or email replies.
Finally, another CSO Online article noted that companies are sometimes reluctant to share threat data because these issues are often perceived as IT problems that should be solved internally. But according to GCN, cybersecurity partnerships provide strength in numbers by allowing companies “to better share threat information and provide tactical cybersecurity training to IT staff.”