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Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities and Risks to Watch for in 2022 & How to Manage Them
Mar 24, 2022
As breach remediation costs rise, seemingly in direct proportion to the number of attackers and attacks, what are you doing to manage your cybersecurity vulnerabilities and risks?
Sufficient proof is easily found to reinforce that how you respond to threats and breaches can have a significant impact on your business. For example…
- The 2021 Ponemon Institute Annual Cost of a Breach Report found that the average cost of a breach rose 10% to $4.24M.
- The report also found that it took an average of 287 days to identify and contain a data breach.
Even if you can handle the reputation hit of a breach, and even if your insurer agrees to cover a portion of the damages, do you want to be on the hook for millions of dollars in remediation and restoration costs?
Prevention is easier and less expensive.
Your data and intellectual property (IP) are often the most valuable assets you own, and as such are deserving of all the resources your team can muster for effective security vulnerability and risk management. Read on to learn more about the cyber risks to watch out for in 2022 and how you can plan and prepare for them.
What types of cyberattacks can you expect?
Counterintuitive, of course, because many organizations don’t expect their network to be attacked, any more than they expect it to contain dangerous vulnerabilities. You want to believe those events occur to others, not you. Right?
Except competent hackers can infiltrate your network and steal your data and IP while remaining undetected.
For several years now, ransomware attacks have been the fastest growing segment of cybersecurity breaches. Typically, criminals breach an organization and encrypt its data, rendering it unusable. Inaccessible data renders a firm unproductive and unprofitable for as long as the data remains inaccessible.
The Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, for example, led to the shutdown of the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S, which in turn caused fuel shortages across the East Coast.
Criminals also threaten to publicize intellectual property (IP) and customer information, unless they receive a ransom.
Although small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) are at the most risk of criminal ransom demands, payouts can reach seven or eight figures. The highest ransom amount confirmed to have been paid is $40 million USD, by CNA Financial, in May 2021. Few SMBs can afford such extravagance.
The first researchers to discover and report on critical vulnerabilities in the cloud focused on Microsoft Azure infrastructure. In detailing the vulnerabilities, those researchers, who were with Check Point, “wanted to disprove the assumption that cloud infrastructures are secure.”
And did they ever disprove it — the discovered vulnerabilities included those that received the highest possible score of 10.0. The qualitative severity ranking of a score of 9.0-10.0 is “critical.”
The discovered vulnerabilities allowed malicious actors to compromise applications and data of those using similar cloud infrastructure.
Firmware vulnerabilities expose not only the major computer manufacturers, but also their customers. Undiscovered firmware vulnerabilities are especially damaging, because they grant criminals free reign over any network on which the devices are installed, leaving networks open until the vulnerability gets reported and patched.
As the number of connected devices continues to grow, Internet of Things (IoT) security becomes increasingly important to analyze.
Applications contain vulnerabilities. According to Veracode, 75.2% of applications have security flaws, although 24% of those are considered high-severity.
Common flaws include:
- Information leakage.
- Carriage Return and Line Feed (CRLF) injection.
- Cryptographic challenges.
- Code quality.
- Credentials management.
Insider theft and trading of secrets is another growing vulnerability area. As demonstrated by recent Cisco and GE breaches, employees with perceived grievances or bad intentions can choose to steal or wreak all kinds of damage on their employers’ data and networks.
Carelessness and poor training also contribute to insider threats.
Cyber threats to healthcare
In recent years criminals have increasingly trained their sights onto hospitals, insurers, clinics, and others in that industry.
A 2016 report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute found the frequency of healthcare industry data breaches has been rising since 2010, and it is now among the sectors most targeted by cyberattacks globally.
Whether or not the reputation is deserved,healthcare industry computer networks are often considered soft targets by malicious actors. In 2021 Armis discovered nine vulnerabilities in critical systems used by 80% of major North American hospitals.
Additionally, rapid health device adoption has increased the number of available targets for malicious breachers. Numerous healthcare devices suffer security flaws, including imaging equipment.
Added together, those factors point to an increase in attacks on health care institutions.
Attacks against health care networks threaten lives, not just productivity. Criminals might believe health care administrators are willing to pay ransoms faster to retrieve health data and help patients. That’s not always the case, as ransomware allegedly led to the death of an infant and was initially thought responsible for the death of a German patient.
Individual medical data – name, birth date, blood type, surgeries, diagnoses, and other personally identifiable information – is particularly interesting to criminals. Once compromised, it’s impossible to restore patient privacy, just as it’s impossible to reverse the social and psychological harm inflicted.
Forgotten cyber hygiene
When IT professionals are always in stressful firefighting mode, they can’t be expected to remember everything. Sometimes patches fall through the cracks, and those vulnerabilities come back later to bite your network.
Your IT department may be aware of old vulnerabilities, but just hasn’t gotten around to applying the necessary patches or closing open holes.
A virtual private network (VPN) account that remained open, although no longer in use, was how criminals penetrated Colonial Pipeline. Employees had previously used that account to access the company network remotely.
How can you uncover cybersecurity vulnerabilities and risks?
It’s easy for consumers to learn what to watch for and what to avoid. They can download, for example, the Annual Data Breach Report from the Identity Theft Resource Center.
You, on the other hand, have a network full of devices, endpoints, applications, and the weakest link in the security chain – users.
Yes, you can lower the possibility of user negligence with cybersecurity training.
Sure, you can find and read reports about currently existing threats.
But without a comprehensive vulnerability management program that brings together every vulnerability scanning tool across your entire attack surface, it’s almost impossible to know what’s threatening your network right now.
How do you find a vulnerability in YOUR cybersecurity and IT environments?
Most organizations rely on several different vulnerability scanning tools to achieve full vulnerability assessment coverage over their IT environments. Most vulnerability scanning tools focus on only one specific aspect of your attack surface — network devices, web applications, open source components, cloud infrastructure, containers, IoT devices, etc. Vulnerability management teams are often left with the unenviable job of bringing these disconnected tools, and the incompatible data they deliver, together into cohesive and consistent programs.
Deploying Brinqa vulnerability management software to perform vulnerability enumeration, analysis, and prioritization allows you to effortlessly synchronize and orchestrate the best vulnerability scanning tools for your environment.
The Brinqa platform is designed for data-driven, risk-based cybersecurity solutions. Brinqa include risk models for cybersecurity problems like vulnerability management and application security, which are essentially data ontologies developed based on industry standards and best practices to represent these cybersecurity challenges in terms of data.
Brinqa data models and risk scores are adaptive, open and configurable, and include not just vulnerability data, but also additional business context from within the organization, as well as external threat intelligence. For example, the data model automatically considers that if a server is internal facing, and it’s for testing code, then it’s going to differ in priority from an external facing server that is hosting an e-commerce site, and which contains customer personal data and information. Similarly, if external threat intelligence discovers that a particular vulnerability is suddenly very popular among malicious actors and is being used to affect breaches, the data model automatically computes and assigns a higher risk score to the vulnerability.
First and foremost, we get you away from having to log into numerous different tools to bring all relevant information together and make it usable. Second, we streamline and automate your common vulnerability analysis, prioritization, and remediation use cases.
That’s the enormous benefit of Brinqa…
The centralization is great, but once you start consolidating, enhancing, and contextualizing all of that data, you can provide a level of prioritization that takes your risk response to another level.
Beginning with generic, out of the box rules based on best practices, the environment allows every Brinqa customer the flexibility to tailor analysis to their needs, basically giving them a self-service mechanism to implement their own cybersecurity service level agreements (SLAs). The default rules are like templates or starting points, which you adjust and configure as necessary.
It is ineffective and inefficient to make decisions on an ad hoc, case by case basis, about what should be fixed and in what order. Once you implement Brinqa, your automated vulnerability remediation and cyber risk response processes deliver effective, consistent, and reliable results.
Spend a little time (no money) to see how simple solving a major headache can be, with a free trial.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is vulnerability scanning?
Vulnerability scanning is the detection and classification of potentially exploitable points on network devices, computer systems, and applications.
What is vulnerability remediation?
Vulnerability remediation includes the processes for determining, patching, and fixing cybersecurity weaknesses that have been detected in networks, data, hardware, and applications.
What is NVD?
National Vulnerability Database (NVD) is the U.S. government repository of standards based vulnerability management data represented using the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP).
What is CVE?
Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures is a list of publicly disclosed cybersecurity vulnerabilities that is free to search, use, and incorporate into products and services.
What is CRLF?
Carriage Return and Line Feed injection is a cyber attack in which an attacker injects malicious code.