There is always something more you could be doing, because security threats and risks are constantly changing and evolving. But unless your sole responsibility is security, you have to pick and choose your battles and figure out how to prioritize security among your many other tasks as CIO. In putting this approach into practice within my own organization, there are a couple key areas where I've shifted more attention in response to evolving security needs.
Lately, I've been spending more time revisiting the fundamental architecture of the way systems have been deployed and installed. We are reflecting on how we have deployed environments and how we have deployed base infrastructure over the past five, six, or seven years to ensure that the framework those systems were installed into fit the new mantra of security today as we look forward into the future.
Another area that I spend a lot of time talking about is the interface between security and the actual consumers of the resource, the employees. Some security measures can look a little heavy-handed to some users, especially those who are more accustomed to operating in an open environment.
On the one hand, Premier, being in the healthcare industry, is expected to have a certain level of security measures around things like data loss prevention and SSL inspection. We handle sensitive data—personally identifiable information, patient records.
We need to be mindful of who has their hands on that data at all times.
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New ransomware code was released at a higher rate with increasing complexity. Two high-profile ransomware incidents brought cybersecurity to the forefront of mainstream conversations as the impact of attacks was felt around the world by organizations and individuals alike.
The recently released Microsoft Security Intelligence Report summarizing movements in different areas of the threat landscape in the first quarter of the year showed the continued global presence of ransomware.
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The highest encounter rates, defined as the percentage of computers running Microsoft real-time security products that report blocking or detecting ransomware, were registered in the Czech Republic, Korea, and Italy from January to March Sustained ransomware campaigns and high-profile attacks continued to highlight the need for advanced comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.
In this blog entry, we share our key observations on the ransomware landscape and offer insights on what can be learned from trends and developments so far in In March of , the volume of ransomware encounters started to pick up again after several months of decline. The growth is driven to a certain extent by sustained activities from established ransomware operations like Cerber , with an onslaught of attacks powered by ransomware-as-a-service.
Figure 2. In part, this surge is also driven by the emergence of new ransomware families, which are being released into the wild at a faster rate. In the first half of , we discovered 71 new ransomware families, an increase from the 64 new families we found in the same period in Some of these new ransomware families stand out because they exhibit new behaviors that make them more complex. For instance, the latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report shows that in March , two-month old Spora overtook Cerber as the most prevalent ransomware family. Figure 3. Trends for several commonly encountered ransomware families in 1Q17, by month source: Microsoft Security Intelligence Report Initial versions targeted Russia and featured a ransom note in the local language.
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It has since gone global, spreading to other countries with a ransom note in English. Other notable new ransomware families in include Jaffrans , Exmas , and Ergop.
While these families have not quite achieved the prevalence of Spora, they show signs of persistence and periodic improvements that are observed in older, successful families. Microsoft protects customers from new and emerging ransomware like Spora using a combination of advanced heuristics, generics, and machine learning, which work together to deliver predictive, real-time protection.
Ransomware growth rallies
In a recent blog post, we demonstrated how we could better protect from never-before-seen ransomware with enhancements to the Windows Defender Antivirus cloud protection service. WannaCrypt also known as WannaCry is one of the most well-known new ransomware to surface so far this year. It emerged in May carrying an exploit for a patched vulnerability and quickly spread to out-of-date Windows 7 computers in Europe and later the rest of the world the exploit did not affect Windows The attack left several impacted organizations, high-tech facilities, and other services affected in its aftermath.
Only a few weeks after the WannaCrypt outbreak, a new variant of Petya wreaked havoc in June. This Petya variant applied some of the propagation techniques used by WannaCrypt, but incorporated more methods to spread within a network. The outbreak started in Ukraine, where a compromised supply-chain delivered the ransomware through a software update process.
The Petya infections swiftly spread to other countries in the course of a few hours. WannaCrypt and Petya defied the trend of more targeted and localized attacks and became the first global malware attacks in quite a while. They generated worldwide mainstream interest. Interestingly, this attention might have added more challenges for attackers. For instance, the Bitcoin wallets used in these attacks were closely monitored by security researchers. WannaCrypt and Petya showed that ransomware attacks powered by sophisticated exploits on a global scale can be particularly catastrophic.
Global attacks emphasize the need to avert ransomware epidemics by enabling responders to detect, respond to, and investigate attacks so infections can be contained and not allowed to swell. Security patches need to be applied as soon as they become available.
The trend of global outbreaks is likely a result of more techniques incorporated by ransomware. WannaCrypt, Petya, Spora, and other new ransomware variants sported new capabilities that allowed them to spread faster and wreak more havoc than other malware. Though it was not the first ransomware family to integrate a worm-like spreading mechanism, it was able to use this capability to infect more computers.
Ransomware 1H 2017 review: Global outbreaks reinforce the value of security hygiene
With worm capabilities, ransomware attacks can have implications beyond endpoint security, introducing challenges to enterprise networks. This was particularly true for WannaCrypt, which spread by exploiting a vulnerability CVE , dubbed EternalBlue, previously patched in security update MS , affecting networks with out-of-date computers. These two attacks highlighted the importance of applying security patches as they become available. They likewise highlight the importance of immediately detecting and stopping malicious behavior related to exploits.
Why is this relevant? Well, why this type of thin protocols can capture value during specific areas of the lifecycle of security tokens like issuance or compliance, they are unlikely to capture or distribute long term value. Recognizing the DNA and challenges of the current security token ecosystem, we can start formulating a basic theory of how value is going to be created in the space.
If we visualize a timeline of the evolution of the security token space from the value creation perspective, we might get something like the following:. Some notes that might help to understand the previous diagram:. These are some of my initial ideas about the value creation challenges and dynamics in the security token space.
I expect some of the ideas outlined might result controversial or even incomplete but hopefully will help to trigger the debate about this important subject. Sign in Get started. Dec 20,