The year behind us has brought a number of surprises for IT security industry employees, from the resurgence of destructive ransomware attacks, the IoT botnet and malware for mobile devices, to sophisticated multilevel attacks. Cyber attacks evolve – today’s and future challenges cannot be compared with those we met in the past.
Mobile computers enable us to perform all our business activities in the same way, whether we are in or out of the corporate network. That’s where we get help from smartphones, tablets and cloud infrastructure, which provides exceptional capabilities in terms of availability of information. On the other hand, IoT technology has become a reality, and with it has increased the number of devices available on the Internet (cameras, home appliances, etc.), forming a botnet network of huge proportions that need to be controlled and protected against cyber attacks.
Cyber attacks today are among the three major risk factors that can severely shake the world’s economy. Chronologically, the evolution of these attacks can be divided into four generations.
The first generation of cyber attacks appeared in the early 1980s, with the emergence of the first personal computers, and with them the first computer viruses. The viruses were spread over floppy-disks, and hackers wrote them out of curiosity or entertainment. In response to them, today we have developed effective antivirus solutions.
The second generation started in the early nineties with the beginning of the massive networking. An increasing number of computers were connected to the Internet for the purpose of mutual communication and information sharing. However, access to the Internet was also a potential threat due to exposure. In response, firewall protection solutions have emerged. A firewall represents a barrier between a computer and an internet network, and it controls who can access your computer or network.
The third generation of cyber attacks started to evolve from the beginning of the 21st century when the hackers realized that those attacks could earn them money. They started to organize themselves much better and deploy more sophisticated attacks. With these attacks, they started to target security flaws in applications and operating systems on user computers. In response to these challenges, IPS solutions have emerged, designed to protect us from security failures in applications.
In early 2010, cyber attacks further advanced. With the arrival of the fourth generation of cyber attacks, the malware becomes extremely sophisticated and for the first time, we were faced with cases where hacker attacks were sponsored by states or large organizations. The attacks are planned to the detail and social engineering were used to analyze the victims. Malicious code is hidden in seemingly regular documents (Word, Exel, JPG or PDF files) that each of us downloads from the Internet or via e-mail and is activated by starting the document. In response, sandbox solutions appeared, which have the ability to intercept the documents we are downloading. These devices receive and run the received files in a virtual environment. In case that they detect any activity that could endanger the network, the files are declared malicious and are rejected. This prevents the possibility of executing malicious code in your network.
Having in mind the current development of cyber attacks, we are wondering what the future brings us. The number of attacks has increased significantly (IoT, smartphones, laptops, clouds), so the fifth generation of cyber attacks will make mega-attacks. How to protect you and your business from them? One thing is certain: we need a consolidated security solution with centralized management, which has the ability to detect a wide range of cyber attack, whether they come via IoT devices, mobile phones, clouds or any other attack space.
How can ITAF help you?
If you need help with protecting your business and your brand, Contact ITAF. Our experienced security experts can help you with installing and maintaining some of the most effective protection against any security risks, training your employees and helping to defend your business from the lasting effects of hacking attacks.