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What is Cyber Warfare & How Does It Work?



What is Cyber Warfare & How Does It Work?

Cybercrime is a major issue around the world affecting both businesses and individuals.

It has been a major issue for many years, but during the pandemic, it has become an even bigger problem with people working remotely and so much changing about the world. This has also led to an increase in cyber warfare, which is when a country is targeted with attacks leading to damage to the state or even loss of life.

What is Cyber Warfare?

Why Cybersecurity is More Important than Ever for SMBs in 2021

So, what exactly is cyber warfare? This is usually defined as a threat to national security through malicious use of the internet. Often, cyber warfare is carried out by a nation state attacking another (such as cyber attacks during the Russian invasion of Ukraine) but is also often carried out by terrorist organisations. These attacks come in different forms but usually have the goal of damaging infrastructure and disrupting critical systems.

Types of Attacks

These days, there are many types of attacks that are carried out during cyber warfare. These include:

  • Espionage: The theft of sensitive national data

  • Ransomware: Holding important data ransom

  • Disinformation campaign: The spread of fake news to cause disruption

  • Viruses: Computer viruses, phishing attacks and malware that can take down critical infrastructure

  • DDoS: Targeted attacks to crash an online service and cause disruption to daily life

These are a few of the most common forms of cyber warfare that are used to weaken and damage an entire nation. These types of attacks are becoming more common and proving to be an alternative to more traditional forms of warfare and terrorism.

How to Fight Against Cyber Warfare

Why Cybersecurity is Not Fixed Yet

Cyber warfare can be scary, but there are steps that can be taken to protect a nation and individual users. Businesses can tighten their own security measures by investing in high-quality cybersecurity products, such as antivirus software, VPNs and firewalls. It is also important to use cybersecurity training, which can help individuals to protect important data, carry out their roles safely and detect cyber attacks. Negligence is often why cyberattacks are successful, which is why training is so important.

Businesses should also carry out PEN testing to identify any weaknesses in their security. Businesses that are attacked can also work with white-collar crime lawyers that can help organisations that have been targeted by cybercriminals.

Cyber warfare is a very serious issue and cybercrime is on the rise. Knowledge is power here and it is important for individuals and businesses to play their part by learning about common cyber attacks and how you can avoid them. In addition to protecting yourself, this also helps to improve the nation’s cybersecurity and can help to prevent cyber warfare from causing disruption and chaos domestically.

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On email security in the era of hybrid working



Cloud Computing News

With remote working the future for so many global workforces – or at least some kind of hybrid arrangement – is there an impact on email security we are all missing? Oliver Paterson, director of product management at VIPRE Security, believes so.

“The timeframe that people expect now for you to reply to things is shortened massively,” says Paterson. “This puts additional stress and pressure on individuals, which can then also lead to further mistakes. [Employees] are not as aware if they get an email with a link coming in – and they’re actually more susceptible to clicking on it.”

The cybercriminal’s greatest friend is human error, and distraction makes for a perfect bedfellow. The remote working calendar means that meetings are now held in virtual rooms, instead of face-to-face. A great opportunity for a quick catch up on a few emails during a spot of downtime, perhaps? It’s also a great opportunity for an attacker to make you fall for a phishing attack.

“It’s really about putting in the forefront there that email is the major first factor when we talk about data breaches, and anything around cyberattacks and ransomware being deployed on people’s machines,” Paterson says around education. “We just need to be very aware that even though we think these things are changing, [you] need to add a lot more security, methods and the tactics that people are using to get into your business is still very similar.

“The attacks may be more sophisticated, but the actual attack vector is the same as it was 10-15 years ago.”

This bears true in the statistics. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) found in its Phishing Activity Trends Report (pdf) in February that attacks hit an all-time high in 2021. Attacks had tripled since early 2020 – in other words, since the pandemic began. 

VIPRE has many solutions to this age-old problem, and the email security product side of the business comes primarily under Paterson’s remit. One such product is VIPRE SafeSend, which focuses on misaddressed emails and prevents data leakage. “Everyone’s sent an email to the wrong person at some point in their life,” says Paterson. “It just depends how serious that’s been.”

Paterson notes one large FMCG brand, where a very senior C-level executive had the same name as someone else in the business much lower down. Naturally, plenty of emails went to the wrong place. “You try and get people to be uber-careful, but we’ve got technology solutions to help with those elements as well now,” says Paterson. “It’s making sure that businesses are aware of that, then also having it in one place.”

Another part of the product portfolio is with EDR (endpoint detection and response). The goal for VIPRE is to ‘take the complexities out of EDR management for small to medium-sized businesses and IT teams.’ Part of this is understanding what organisations really want. 

The basic knowledge is there, as many organisational surveys will show. Take a study from the Enterprise Security Group (ESG) released in October in terms of ransomware preparedness. Respondents cited network security (43%), backup infrastructure security (40%), endpoint (39%), email (36%) and data encryption (36%) as key prevention areas. Many security vendors offer this and much more – but how difficult is it to filter out the noise?

“People understand they need an endpoint solution, and an email security solution. There’s a lot of competitors out there and they’re all shouting about different things,” says Paterson. “So it’s really getting down to the nitty gritty of what they actually need as a business. That’s where we at VIPRE try to make it as easy as possible for clients. 

“A lot of companies do EDR at the moment, but what we’ve tried to do is get it down to the raw elements that every business will need, and maybe not all the bells and whistles that probably 99% of organisations aren’t going to need,” Paterson adds.

“We’re very much a company that puts a lot of emphasis on our clients and partners, where we treat everyone as an individual business. We get a lot of comments [from customers] that some of the biggest vendors in there just treat them as a number.”

Paterson is speaking at the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo Global, in London on December 1-2 around the rising threat of ransomware, and how the security industry evolves alongside this threat. Having a multi-layered approach will be a cornerstone of Paterson’s message, and his advice to businesses is sound.

“Take a closer look at those areas, those threat vectors, the way that they are coming into the business, and make sure that you are putting those industry-level systems in place,” he says. “A lot of businesses can get complacent and just continue renewing the same thing over and over again, without realising there are new features and additions. Misdelivery of email is a massive one – I would say the majority of businesses don’t have anything in place for it.

“Ask ‘where are the risk areas for your business?’ and understand those more, and then make sure to put those protection layers in place to help with things like ransomware attacks and other elements.”

(Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash)

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London.

Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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