As we gear up to embrace state-of-the-art tech solutions each year, we should also be aware of the risks that come with them. While software vendors and platform developers deploy the most sophisticated security framework, persistent hackers are still managing to break through. It does not come as a surprise that more than a thousand cyber security attacks were reported in 2021 including crypto theft, data loss, ransomware, and supply chain attacks.
Identity Theft Research Center (ITRC) data suggests that the number of data breaches saw a 17% rise in 2021 in comparison to 2020 . Some of the most recent examples of cyber security threats and attacks include Tether Attack, CNA Financial Breach, MeetMindful Cybersecurity Breach, and ProxyLogon Cyberattack to name a few. Before these attacks become second nature to us, it is very important to formulate and deploy sound and robust cyber security strategies.
In addition, it is a good time to reconsider and evaluate your firm’s cyber knowledge, skills, and preparedness to keep these cyber threats at bay. At this point, it is not a good idea to rely on the basic response plans used in the past. Companies should rather focus on optimizing the workforce for resilience. Right from the executives at the top of the pyramid to those that are under them, every employee must be aware of the latest threats that could come their way.
We believe that no organization can claim that they are hundred percent shielded from cyber threats. Even with high cyber security awareness, companies from across the globe have fallen prey to deadly and lethal cyber attacks in the past. There are a few core areas organizations need to focus on and improve to ensure they are well-protected.
It is time to create security leaders who have the right skills and knowledge to fend off cyber security threats. Here are some points you should keep in mind to optimize your workforce for future cyber attacks.
Cybersecurity threats and training
1. Key sectors often neglect security
The transportation and infrastructure sector are among the slowest to offer important cyber skills to their employees. On average, they take more than four months to impart knowledge and make their workforce capable of dealing with these external threats. On the flip side, government organizations have been proactive and have also created multiple federal initiatives in the past few years.
2. It takes several months to develop key cyber skills
On average, cyber security teams in huge organizations take around 96 days to learn skills that are critical to tackling cyber security threats.
3. 80% of skills are around Log4J
In the past few years, around 80% of all the new skills learned pertaining to cyber security were around Log4J. The significant rise in security threats such as Log4J has compelled more and more companies to seek new ways to advance human capability development. However, even today, there is a huge gap that exists, and more work needs to be done to fill this gap.
4. Application security teams are more competent than cybersecurity teams
Did you know that around 78% of application security skills are developed faster than the expected deadline?  That figure is as low as 11% in cybersecurity labs. The average time to finish an application security lab is 2.5 minutes faster than the expected completion time.
5. Uncertainty around defending against ransomware exists
In dire situations, around 83% of the parties refused to pay the ransom. Participants in the education sector were more eager than the other sectors to pay the ransom. Around 18% of the government crisis response team paid the ransom even when official guidance was issued to countries that stated not to. These incidents indicate that there is a long way to go as far as education around ransomware attacks is concerned. Some of the areas that need immediate attention include how to recover from a ransomware attack and how to contain the destruction across different industries.
Cyber security awareness and training
With the rise of blockchain, web3, and other innovative tech solutions, the need for cyber security training has grown over the past few years. Traditionally, cyber security training was primarily restricted to IT security specialists and extended to a few IT personnel on some occasions. However, times are changing and more and more companies recognize the need to train all their employees and educate them regarding the best practices in security to repel malware and ransomware.
Although cyber security awareness has taken a while to set in, it has taken center stage across many organizations worldwide. Security training has become a hotbed for many small companies and startups who are eager to stay steer from the competition. At present, most cyber security awareness practices focus on phishing. Today, phishing is primarily responsible for a major chunk of breaches. Users are coerced into clicking on harmful links and attachments that provide entry to the cyber attackers.
Wrapping it up
There is no doubt that cyber attackers are deploying unique and clever ways of wreaking havoc. This is why it is very important to be aware of these cyber security threats. On most occasions, cyber criminals pose as trusted vendors, government agencies, or a contact from an established company to break in the security barrier. This is known as spoofing wherein cyber attackers gain your attention via a catchy subject line.
Hence, cyber security awareness and strategy should circle around preventing these types of breaches to ensure that they do not fall for these cunning ploys from the hackers.
Today, there are plenty of cybersecurity training tools that are available. These solutions are essentially designed to help companies stay clear from malicious and harmful cyber attacks. Some of these tools include Proofpoint, Living Security, Lucy, Ninjio, and Mimecast to name a few.
We hope this article encourages you to provide the right training for your employees. With cyber security threats on rise, it is imperative to train and educate employees at all levels.
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 (2021) “Number of Data Breaches in 2021 Surpasses All of 2020” ITRC [online] Available from: https://www.idtheftcenter.org/post/identity-theft-resource-center-to-share-latest-data-breach-analysis-with-u-s-senate-commerce-committee-number-of-data-breaches-in-2021-surpasses-all-of-2020/ [accessed July 2022]
 Hadley. J (2022) “Optimizing Your Workforce For Cyberattacks Of The Future” Forbes [online] Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jameshadley/2022/05/25/optimizing-your-workforce-for-cyberattacks-of-the-future/?sh=3b875e562de8 [accessed July 2022]