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Advanced Malware is Here to Stay

A recent study carried out by ISACA revealed that 92% of enterprises surveyed said that persistent advanced threats were a serious ongoing issue for them. This also can include targeting specific employees of a company who retain a lot of information that hackers would like to have. Malware targets not only businesses but also individuals. One of the reasons is that there are more of them than one single company. There are always a few employees that are the company’s weakest point when it comes to security and defending against outside (or even inside) attacks. Advanced malware is able to target individuals, especially those who are not kept up to date on routine security measures and habits. 40% of enterprises say security training and methods to defend against attacks is not part of their routine.

The least secured device is the easiest point of entry for attackers or advanced malware.

Since BYOD’s are gaining in popularity this is cause for concerns in regards to security. Even having a different frame or state of mind when checking (phishing) emails may put one’s guard down. Users can become less vigilant since they are using a different device or using that same device in a non-work environment. Even if a mail server is secured should not mean that is it’s only means of defense. Having a false sense of security can be a serious issue. Each individual’s knowledge of security should be accounted for and relied upon to some extent, regardless of what hardware or software security is doing. A human being’s “gut feeling” can even be a better-safe-than-sorry defense as opposed to blindly accepting what security software is telling them.

The Morris worm was able to spread rapidly and exploit the many computers connected via ARPAnet, thus exploiting thousands of machines in a very short time. Since the Internet and the Internet of Things are so interconnected, security breaches can spread even more rapidly. However, it can also spread very rapidly the same way in how to actually stop and fix the exploit. Staying up to date on anti-virus and malware software is essential. This software must be updated and maintained 24/7 or it will quickly become useless. Opening an email attachment and clicking a link from within the email message can even infect the user.

The advanced malware that does the most harm are the ones that remain undetected.

Malware, and now advanced malware is becoming more complicated in its ways to gain access to a system. The most damaging malware is stealthy and able to adapt to its target, environment, and behavior. Malware is no longer seeking to attack or cause harm to a large number of targets all at one time. In many instances, advanced malware can be designed to help carry out a particular goal. Advanced malware does not cause a single large ominous event as malware has done in the past.

The numerous defenses required to thwart these endless attacks and keeping up with the ever-evolving and adapting threats may be out of reach of many online businesses. Finding a provider that offers all of the security required may not even be possible, especially on a limited budget.

Prevention is better than dealing with the consequences

SaaS may be a good compromise to at the very least prevent attackers from spending much time on a well-defended target. Instead, moving on (best case scenario) or simply being blocked by numerous attempts of infecting a dedicated server with malware. Less well-defended sites are easier targets and more attractive to attackers than well-defended sites. (Unfortunately, some still like a challenge, however…) A reason for why many SaaS providers in the security field provide “badges” to display on websites as a deterrent, (theoretically). IDC’s FutureScape: Worldwide Security 2015 Web Conference says SaaS is going to own a larger share of corporate security spending. This can certainly include small personal websites to businesses with a strong online presence.

Layered protection is strongly recommended, such as DDoS protection at a data center’s network level to specific server level malware protection, hardware/software firewalls, secured and updated apps, scripts & software, log monitoring to determine where attacks may be coming from and even predicting risks of future attacks or threats. Analyzing risk should always be beneficial to security spending. This should also include vulnerability scanning.

It is not recommended to seek a one solution fix to help solve a variety of security threats.

According to a report from Software Advice, 66% of businesses are afraid that they could become victims of cybercrime. Even more startling, 21% of those surveyed did not think their data was well secured. Malware, hackers, and viruses can easily find this out.

Even home-based and office computers running Macs are no longer safe. Having a false sense of security can be just as damaging as inadequate software and hardware defenses in place. Humans in their day to day business tasks need to remain vigilant and aware of possible threats in a way so that it becomes second nature to question what is happening in a dedicated server or office computer that is considered or labeled “unusual activity”, why software is being installed or if a system is compromised what is the Incident Response Plan. Software Advice’s report revealed that 27% of businesses are not even sure if they have an IRP. 17% say they are not even necessary.

A hosting provider should offer some form of security in the Datacenter. SaaS security also offers an option for added security either via in-house services or third-party software. If unsure, ask the provider. It’s fine for a dedicated server provider to not offer absolutely everything. However, there should be options for meeting security and data integrity goals from third-party services or being provided a custom solution/quote.

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