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Aftermath of data breaches: Trend Micro

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In 2016, further security complications will emerge due to the addition of connected devices, says Trend Micro's Darryn O'Brien.
In 2016, further security complications will emerge due to the addition of connected devices, says Trend Micro's Darryn O'Brien.

Organisations and businesses need to prioritise security even more now, and prepare for inevitable data breach attempts.

This is according to the Trend Micro Q3 Security Roundup, which highlights the real-world impact of the cyber attacks of the last quarter.

The report says data breach dumps were used to fuel further attacks and extortion. The successful attacks against The Hacking Team and Ashley Madison greatly affected the security and computing industries.

The third quarter of 2015 saw one of the worst-case security scenarios ever imagined coming true - information leaked from a data breach would be used for further attacks, such as blackmail and extortion, it adds. The attack against The Hacking Team, reported in early July, is an example of such a scenario.

The 400 GB dump of stolen information led to the discovery of five major zero-day vulnerabilities, as well as spying tools for iOS and Android. Some of these vulnerabilities were then used in Angler Exploit Kit attacks in Japan and Korea, as well as the compromise of Taiwan and Hong Kong government Web sites, says Trend Micro.

Darryn O'Brien, country manager at Trend Micro Southern Africa, says cyber attackers used the Ashley Madison breach to launch extortion attacks on individuals that would, more than likely, have paid any price to keep this type of information a secret.

Additionally, security breaches impacting the healthcare industry were prevalent in the third quarter, including the attack on the UCLA Health System where personal records of approximately 4.5 million patients were compromised.

Health and personally identifiable information was the second-most stolen data type out of all data breach categories, says Trend Micro. These instances reinforce why the healthcare industry continues to be an appealing target for cyber criminals.

The findings confirm companies are battling rapidly moving cyber criminals and evolving vulnerabilities simultaneously, says O'Brien.

He points out pre-empting how cyber criminals' methods are going to change and what they are going to do next is a challenge.

However, it is vital that organisations stay up-to-date on what's happening in the cyber security landscape if they want optimal protection, adds O'Brien.

In some cases, like the Hacking Team breach, the only option for businesses is to update their security as new threats emerge, he explains.

O'Brien points out cyber-threats are not stagnant and a company's security precautions or policies shouldn't be either.

"Companies have to start investing in technologies to help them defend against advanced persistent threats. Signature-based technologies will no longer be enough to defend companies against these threats and the future of protection is advanced threat protection, working together with your other security technologies."

Numerous vulnerabilities related to Internet-connected devices were reported on in the Q3 security round up, says O'Brien.

Things like attacks on gas-tank monitoring systems and car-hacking are potentially life-threatening and need to be taken seriously, he adds.

The emergence of these types of threats calls for manufacturers and security experts to collaborate closely in the creation of Internet-connected devices in order to ensure fun, but safe user experiences, explains O'Brien.

"In 2016 we are going to see more people and devices connected to the Internet, generating more data and traffic than ever before."

Further security complications will emerge in companies due to the addition of connected devices like wearables and the Internet of things, says O'Brien.

All of the above will increase the risk of being targeted by advanced persistent threats which are very difficult to detect without the correct security process, people and technologies, he concludes.

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