Internet of Things raises fresh security challenges for industry

For many years industries like oil and gas, electricity, agriculture and utilities have relied on operational communications infrastructure outside the main corporate network to collect data and provide supervisory control. Known as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems the data they collect leads to efficient allocation of resources, monitors safety conditions and improves operational decision-making. But now, with the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, industrial organizations are eager to deploy new wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) devices to collect even more data from field assets in remote, geographically dispersed locations. The number of sensors and data points in industrial networks looks set to multiply exponentially overnight. As a consequence, there will be more access points than ever before. Security, therefore, will be an important factor in determining the overall success of IoT deployment.

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SSL: Still Secure When Configured Correctly

The Secure Socket Layer (SSL ) protocol is under attack: in recent months, a succession of vulnerabilities and successful breaches have raised questions about the effectiveness of this ubiquitous security standard. The emergence of DROWN (Decrypting RSA with Obsolete and Weakened Encryption) in early March 2016 may have finally forced IT admins to take action.

The fact that so many attacks are now focused on SSL is more important than you might think.

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Web of Spies

Ever since Edward Snowden revealed the extent of state-sponsored espionage over the Internet in 2013 businesses have been acutely aware of just how vulnerable data communications are to being intercepted. It is no coincidence that in the same period cybercriminals have also stepped up their attempts to spy on organisations. For example, the use of Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) malware and ransomware to try to capture valuable financial or customer data for financial gain has risen dramatically. While no defense method is ever 100% impregnable the risk of snooping and theft of sensitive data can be significantly reduced by encrypting it using VPNs.

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Cloud Security Pitfalls to Avoid

Cloud computing technology is fast becoming an attractive alternative to maintaining IT systems and applications on premise. In-house management and maintenance of IT is costly and resource-hungry. Small and medium-sized businesses in particular benefit from the way cloud services give them access to greater processing power and IT expertise than they could ever aspire to with the modest budgets and resources of their own. Cloud computing also provides an opportunity for large organizations to enjoy economies of scale for the high data volumes produced by the many and various devices, operating systems and applications they use.

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Staying Safe at Wi-Fi Hotspots

Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, hotels, railway stations and airports have become a welcome resource for any business traveler, providing them with a convenient means to carry on working while on the move. Employers, in turn, are increasingly happy to embrace the accompanying productivity benefits. Over 80% of enterprises now allow employees to use personal devices to connect to corporate networks.

Yet public Wi-Fi has a dubious security reputation. Even with password protection, public hotspots are an open invitation for anyone with illicit intentions to snoop and intercept data communications to their heart’s content.

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Is Industry 4.0 Ready for the Ransomware Threat?

Ransomware is the latest trend in criminal malware. It infects computers, encrypts data and demands a ransom payment in the form of bitcoins. The encryption is so strong that it has not yet been circumvented. Locky and other ransomware have the potential to become much more than an annoyance.

Recently one case was reported where patient data was encrypted at a hospital. That might seem bad enough but what would happen if computers that control medical devices are infected by the virus and they show a ransom letter instead of doing their job? Documents, photographs, films and other personal data are usually the prime targets for encryption rather than system files and applications. However, databases and license key files have also fallen victim to unauthorized encryption.

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Flaws in Industrial IoT Underline Importance of Secure Connectivity

According to the leading analyst firm Gartner Group over 50% of major new business processes and systems will incorporate some element of the Internet of Things (IoT) by the year 2020. The potential for IoT to revolutionize existing business models is very exciting. Industrial manufacturers are clearly in a hurry to capitalize on this virtual world of opportunities where new revenue streams flow from managing and servicing customers’ equipment remotely.

But before everyone gets carried away it is important to pause for a moment to consider how with the rush towards digitalization there is also a risk that IoT growth will outstrip cybersecurity considerations.

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Threat Intelligence-as-a-Service brings SIEM Within Reach of SMEs

Organizations are being targeted by cybercriminals more than ever. According to the latest statistics from Symantec, 52.4% of phishing attacks in December 2015 were against small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The month prior demonstrated an even bigger spike. The situation is forcing businesses of all sizes to augment their network and mobile security. Topping the list of improvements include the need for better threat intelligence and endpoint security.

Security information and event management (SIEM) systems provide a valuable tool to gather threat intelligence through activities logged from various applications and devices. The logs are then combined to create threat intelligence reports that can identify signs of unauthorized behavior. Because of their complexity, until recently SIEM systems were considered exclusive to those large enterprises with access to the sizeable budgets and resources required to maintain them.

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