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IT Blind Spots: The Weak Links In Your Cybersecurity

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The world of cybersecurity mirrors our physical world in many ways. 

Security breaches in cyber space occur in the same way attacks happen in the physical world. Attackers often search for and target the weak links. It could be a person who could be manipulated to grant unauthorized access, or a weak door with a feeble lock – both are easy entry points. No doubt, bad actors prefer to work smarter than harder.

You might be wondering, how do organizations with robust security protocols fall prey? The answer lies in cybersecurity blind spots. In this blog we will discuss how bad actors bypass conventional security measures by exploiting blind spots. What can organizations do to protect themselves from them?

Stay in the known

The saying holds true in security: you can only safeguard what you can see. Given the number of assets and moving parts in an organization it is common to overlook some of the aspects.

It could be forgotten or unpatched systems, vulnerabilities in mobile apps siphoning data from personal devices, weak passwords, third-party risks, or privileged access – the list goes on.

Maintaining a comprehensive inventory of assets is just like maintaining order in one’s household. While it may seem like a formidable task, it is a critical component of ensuring security and compliance. Overlooking unknown or untracked assets introduces an element of uncertainty, potentially leaving vulnerabilities unchecked.

Simply put, things that are hidden or goes unnoticed from the security teams are the blind spots in your security posture. What’s more alarming is, according to an ESG Research survey of cybersecurity professionals, 76% say they’ve experienced a cyberattack because of an unknown, unmanaged, or mismanaged internet-facing asset.

Now that we understand the concept of blind spots, let’s understand why traditional cybersecurity methods fall short.

The landscape is changing

Conventional security strategies center around fortifying the network perimeter, an approach suited for a time when work predominantly occurred within office confines. However, with the advent of remote work, BYOD (bring your own device) and mobility, employees are now a bigger concern for the security teams.

Under this paradigm, anything transpiring outside your network, including unmonitored devices, lies beyond the purview of traditional security tools. While network visibility is crucial, an exclusive fixation on network-based threats provides only a partial view of the comprehensive threat landscape.

Most attacks originate from individuals operating well outside the confines of your network. By the time signs of an attack manifest within the network, it’s often too late – the attack may have already succeeded. Keeping that in mind, let us look at the common causes that lead to the most significant breaches.

People are still the weak link

Human errors can have catastrophic consequences, as exhibited by the Equifax data breach in 2017. Despite receiving a notice from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about a vulnerability in Apache Struts, Equifax’s IT security team failed to address the issue in a timely manner. An internal email alerting them to the flaw went unheeded and an automatic scan later proved ineffective.

This incident underscores the critical need for robust training and automated solutions to mitigate the risks of human error, particularly in managing machine identities and encryption protocols.

This incident is not an isolated case. The 2022 Global Risks Report released by the World Economic Forum revealed that a staggering 95% of cybersecurity threats were linked, in some way, to human error. Similarly, the 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) emphasized the pervasive role of human elements, with 82% of breaches attributed to social attacks, errors and misuse.

These statistics underscore the urgent need for organizations to prioritize comprehensive training and implement automated solutions to bolster their cybersecurity defenses against human errors.

Lack of awareness of security best practices

Misconfigurations stand as one of the most prevalent causes of data breaches, as evidenced by the unfortunate incident involving RedCross. In this case, misconfiguration resulted in the compromise of sensitive personal data of over 515,000 highly vulnerable people.

It underlined the critical importance of ensuring that security protocols are correctly set up and maintained. Such lapses can inadvertently expose vulnerabilities that malicious actors are quick to exploit. This incident serves as a stark reminder to organizations worldwide about the critical significance of rigorous configuration management practices.

In another incident at Toyota Motor, vehicle data and customer information were exposed for over eight years due to a cloud misconfiguration impacting over 260,000 customers.

These incidents highlight the necessity of adopting robust solutions and conducting thorough assessments to identify and rectify any potential misconfigurations promptly. By prioritizing proactive measures in this regard, organizations can significantly enhance their cybersecurity posture and fortify their defenses against potential breaches.

Bottom line, there are just so many things to stay on top of

Poor security maintenance poses a significant threat to an organization’s overall security posture. When security measures are not regularly updated or monitored, vulnerabilities can go unnoticed, creating opportunities for cyber threats to exploit weaknesses.  

Outdated software and hardware, unpatched systems and neglected security protocols are akin to leaving doors unlocked in a high-crime area. Additionally, neglecting to train employees on security best practices can lead to inadvertent breaches caused by human error. In essence, poor security maintenance introduces avoidable risks and weakens the organization’s ability to withstand cyber threats.  

It’s like neglecting the maintenance of a fortress’s walls; over time, even the most formidable defenses get cracks, leaks and gaps making it easier for adversaries to breach the perimeter. Therefore, maintaining a robust and up-to-date security infrastructure is paramount to safeguarding against evolving cyber threats. 

Risk-based approach for proactive security

Today’s interconnected world calls for a shift in perspective to safeguard your business. To effectively defend against these modern threats, we must expand our focus beyond the network and endpoints and extend it to every facet of our digital landscape.

Unfortunately, many security tools remain fixated on the network’s perimeters and endpoints, offering limited visibility into the initial stages of an attack. This approach leaves organizations vulnerable, allowing threats to infiltrate before they’re even detected.

Organizations often remain unaware of the breach for up to a week after it occurs because of blind spots in their IT. Moreover, over half of them struggle to pinpoint the root cause of the breach. It’s evident that relying solely on traditional security measures is no longer sufficient.

Organizations need to adopt a holistic, proactive and continuous security strategy that encompasses every channel, device and interaction within their digital ecosystem. Only then can they fortify their defenses, detect threats in their infancy and respond with precision and efficacy.

CyberMindr is one such security platform that monitors, identifies and validates the potential threats in your attack surface area. It also offers a bird’s eye view of your security posture.