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Cyberoam Predictions 2015 Reveal 8 Critical IT Security Issues

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Cyberoam, a leading global provider of network security appliances has published its Security Predictions for 2015. These predictions give an overview of industry trends and security challenges businesses are likely to come across in 2015.

The Security predictions have been prepared with insights from the Cyberoam Threat Research Labs (CTRL).

The eight (8) predictions made are based on the latest IT trends that closely impact all of us since they co-exist in our personal as well as professional spaces like the Internet of Things, Geo-political interferences, attacks on iOS, newer authentication methods replacing traditional passwords, and more.

New threat trends like malvertising, exploitation of legacy protocols, et al, also share the spotlight among the predictions for 2015. Here are the predictions:

Dark Clouds Over Internet of Things (IOT):

This year IOT will gain wider visibility due to its advancements as well as vulnerabilities.

As SCADA systems adopt IOT, their exposure to cyber threats will increase.

Remotely connected and automated building control systems also face a similar challenge.

Around 2.2 million SCADA and BACnet devices are already exposed to potential cyber-threats as these are identifiable via SHODAN – a search engine for Internet-connected devices.

Meanwhile, government safety requirements such as eCall (Internet assisted emergency reporting in vehicles in Europe) and consumer demand for seamless data connectivity have opened gates for Connected Car infrastructure, which is bringing automakers, telcos and the tech-giants (Google, Samsung & Apple) to a common drawing board.

This is a classic example of IoT at work in our day-to-day lives.

Meanwhile, mobile apps have started featuring in the Connected Car infrastructure and it is just a matter of time before the vulnerabilities are discovered.

Geo-Political Interference

In 2014, the US Department of Homeland Security revealed a trojan named Black Energy affecting the nation’s critical infrastructure. Exploits of Syrian Electronic Army and Regin APT malware campaign also hit headlines.

The Geopolitical landscape is changing dramatically around the world and Internet cannot remain insulated from its effects; in fact Internet has become a critical tool for government sponsored propagandas, espionage and cyber-attacks.

APT malwares sometimes used in these campaigns grossly undermine legal boundaries.

Such malwares were found waiting to be activated in networks of oil and gas pipelines, power transmission grids, water distribution and filtration systems, wind turbines and even some nuclear plants in the US.

In such cases, large private businesses also come in the line of fire every now and then.

If conditions deteriorate, which seems to be a decent probability in the coming year, there will be a larger impetus on cyber-attacks from the nations involved, some of which could be revealed during the year itself.

Legacy Protocols on Target

POODLE, Shellshock and Heartbleed are examples of vulnerabilities in code which sit hidden for years before been discovered and exploited.

The legacy protocols on which Internet seems to run all so well are far from perfect and cyber criminals will continue to exploit the loopholes to their advantage. Some of these protocols being open source face a larger threat.

Moreover, as the Internet makes transition from IPv4 to IPv6, cybercriminals would hunt for latent security gaps.

In addition to the vulnerabilities in web browsers, one can also expect client side attacks exploiting application vulnerabilities in widely used frameworks like Adobe, Java, thereby aggravating network security challenges for IT admins in 2015.

Healthcare Bleeds

Given that healthcare sector is making rapid strides globally in embracing technology and digitising patient care along with storing personally identifiable information, there is a need to strengthen information security.

Securing Healthcare data is critical as it is at a higher risk given the fact that this data fetches much higher value in black market than credit card numbers, because it can provide access to bank accounts or help in obtaining prescriptions for controlled drugs.

Healthcare sector needs significant improvements in its cyber-preparedness – a fact FBI made amply clear in 2014 when Community Health Systems faced a security breach leading to theft of 4.5 million patient records in the US.

More such breaches are expected in 2015.

Malvertising And Attacks On Email

2014 saw ad networks on reputed websites like Yahoo, AOL and Google being compromised to distribute malvertisements.

Malvertising (placing malware laden advertisements on reputed/popular webpages) is likely to become more of a nuisance in 2015.

Ad networks are continually compromised and threat actors are relying on the fact that blocking every ad or testing every ad network is not a practical solution. Malvertisers are also at advantage as reputed websites (news and infotainment) are rarely blocked by office firewalls.

Meanwhile, if reports are to be believed, Spam is on a decline.

This is partly due to the fact that spammers have devised other advanced ways to land mail in the inbox, while others have moved on to sophisticated spear phishing attacks targeting individuals behind corporate firewalls.

Nonetheless, the old tactics of crafting fraudulent mails around major global/local events is still profitable for Spammers. 2015 will not be any different in this regard, though one can expect to see some newer tricks for evading current email security solutions.

Demand for Context Aware Security

Networks these days generate huge amount of data. This data contains enough cues to offer patterns of human behaviour that can be used to predict and prevent cyber-attacks.

However, comprehending and co-relating data out of various logs and reports to get meaningful information requires time and skills. Besides, it carries the risk of human oversight.

Enterprises need a security model to harness this information and interpret network traffic to identify suspicious patterns and events.

In such a scenario, Big Data analytics tools can offer huge help in co-relating the data with a given user model to spot risky users and trends in a network. In fact, BFSI organisations have already started leveraging Big Data based security analytics for early fraud detection and prevention.

Employing the advancements in Big Data analytics, Context Aware Security solutions such as Cyberoam’s User Threat Quotient (UTQ) can help IT admins in tasks akin to finding a needle in a haystack – identifying a user posing security risk in a network. In 2015, such solutions will prominently be employed by organisations seeking actionable security intelligence.

iOS On The Radar Of Cyber-Criminals; Android Attacks To Continue

Mobile malwares will make a major impact in 2015, as more people are now using handheld devices to access critical business data from cloud apart from banking and payments.

In this scenario, the new Android OS, Lollipop, will be put to test. At the same time, as enterprises embrace Apple apps and use of iOS-based devices grows, these are getting on the radar of cyber criminals.

Recent trends suggest that in 2015, iOS will get hit by phishing attacks and malwares on a larger scale than ever before.

Solving the Puzzle Called ‘Password’

The quest for replacing ‘password’ as an authentication procedure will gain momentum.

It is reported that an increasing number of millennials in the US prefer Apple’s Fingerprint Scan for authentication purpose.

However, scaling up biometric authentication techniques like fingerprint scan is a big challenge. Moreover, standalone biometric authentication is not as full proof as thought earlier.

Considering recent incidents of data breaches and credential thefts in mind, the FIDO Alliance recently released its long-awaited 1.0 specifications for passwordless and multifactor authentication systems.

A major push to move away from passwords is likely to make hackers more than just shift in their seats.

Cyberoam Technologies, a Sophos Company, is a global Network Security appliances provider, offering future-ready security solutions to physical and virtual networks in organizations with its Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) and Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances.

The virtual and hardware Cyberoam Central Console appliances offer Centralized Security Management options to organizations, while Cyberoam iView allows intelligent logging and reporting with one-of-their-kind, in-depth reports. Cyberoam is accredited with prestigious global standards and certifications like EAL4+, CheckMark UTM Level 5 Certification, ICSA Labs, IPv6 Gold logo, and is a member of the Virtual Private Network Consortium.

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Business

Gartner Predicts Global IT Spending to Grow 1.1% in 2019

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Worldwide IT spending is projected to total US$3.79-trillion in 2019, an increase of 1.1% from 2018, according to the latest forecast by Gartner.

“Currency headwinds fuelled by the strengthening US dollar have caused us to revise our 2019 IT spending forecast down from the previous quarter,” said John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner. “Through the remainder of 2019, the US dollar is expected to trend stronger, while enduring tremendous volatility due to uncertain economic and political environments and trade wars.

“In 2019, technology product managers will have to get more strategic around their portfolio mix by balancing products and services that will post growth in 2019 with those larger markets that will trend flat to down,” said Lovelock. “Successful product managers in 2020 will have had a long-term view to the changes made in 2019.”

According to Gartner the datacentre systems segment will experience the largest decline in 2019 with a decrease of 2.8%.

The research and market analysis firm says this is mainly due to expected lower average selling prices (ASPs) in the server market driven by adjustments in the pattern of expected component costs.

The shift of enterprise IT spending from traditional (non-cloud) offerings to new, cloud-based alternatives is continuing to drive growth in the enterprise software market.

In 2019, the market is forecast to reach US$427-billion, up 7.1% from US$399-billion in 2018. The largest cloud shift has so far occurred in application software.

However, Gartner expects increased growth for the infrastructure software segment in the near-term, particularly in integration platform as a service (iPaaS) and application platform as a service (aPaaS).

Lovelock added, “The choices CIOs make about technology investments are essential to the success of digital business. Disruptive emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), will reshape business models as well as the economics of public- and private-sector enterprises.

“AI is having a major effect on IT spending, although its role is often misunderstood. AI is not a product, it is really a set of techniques or a computer engineering discipline. As such, AI is being embedded in many existing products and services, as well as being central to new development efforts in every industry.

Gartner’s AI business value forecast predicts that organisations will receive $1.9 trillion worth of benefit from the use of AI this year alone.”

In November 2018 Gartner said IT spending in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) would reach US$973-billion in 2019, representing a 2% increase compared with 2018.

Lovelock was quoted at the time as saying: “2018 is not a good year for IT spending in EMEA. The 5.8% growth witnessed in 2018 includes a 4% currency tailwind driven by the euro’s increase in value against the US dollar.”

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SON to Deploy Technology to Achieve Operational Efficiency

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Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has kicked off the process for the implementation of electronic demand notes, receipts as well as ports and borders operations clearing processes.

 

This is as part of efforts to enhance a seamless service delivery to stakeholders through improved synergy within its operational units.

 

A statement from the media unit of SON said that Osita Aboloma, director-general of SON, stated this in Lagos at a strategic meeting on the deployment of the solutions.

 

The statement hinted that the transitioning to the electronic demand note and receipt as well electronic ports and border operations would mitigate challenges faced by customers and clients of SON and promote greater efficiency in service delivery.

 

Represented by Mr. Kabir Mohammed, director in the Director-General’s office, the SON Chief Executive posited that the electronic platforms would create a business solution tailored around SON services, aimed at achieving the Organisation’s strategic goals.

 

Introducing the proposed solution, Mr. Mike Aigbe, deputy managing director, Vatebra Limited, said the organisation had helped in creating similar solutions for organisations in Nigeria and other African countries in the last 15years.

 

Aigbe said the company’s objective from the outset was to create a payment engine that could be plugged into all manner of applications for the processing of financial transactions for Organisations, including SON, he said.

 

He listed some of the Organisations that had benefited from the company’s electronic solution services in Nigeria as including the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

 

He stated that the strategy meeting with Heads of Departments and Units in Lagos Operational Headquarters was a follow up to an earlier one at the Corporate Headquarters, Abuja to interact with process owners and gather data in order to customise the proposed solutions to their specific needs.

 

The Vertebra Deputy MD enumerated the achievable gains from the proposed electronic processes solutions which include eliminating human intervention in the processes for greater efficiency, cost savings on printing of manual demand notes and receipts and elimination of the stress associated with moving from point A to B  to obtain demand notes and receipts.

 

He stated that the electronic solutions project, which is expected to be deployed within 45 to 60days, would also attend to the compulsory need to join the International Public Service Standard (IPSAS) by the SON.

 

SON Heads of departments and units provided input on their various processes to the Vertebra Limited team in furtherance of the electronic services solutions.

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NITDA to Empower South East Youths on ICT Skills with Start-Up Friday

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National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on Wednesday, said the agency is set to empower youths within Enugu and the South East region with Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills through its Start-Up Friday (SUF) programme on April 26.

 

SUF programme is a technology entrepreneurs’ gathering designed by NITDA and implemented by its subsidiary —Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE).

 

Dr Amina Sambo-Magaji, national coordinator of OIIE, in a statement in Abuja, noted that “the SUF in Enugu, would be the last round of igniting the six geo-political regions across the country.”

 

Sambo-Magaji said that the SUF, being the 12th edition in a series, would ensure that ICT start-ups within the region were encouraged and supported by government.

 

She added that SUF was part of the agency’s activities aimed at developing the technology ecosystem across the country.

 

“The programme is not just for Enugu but also Abia, Anambra, Aba, Ebonyi and Imo states. This completes the first round of our regional technology ecosystem ignition.’’

 

According to her, OIIE will carry out an evaluation to analyse feedbacks from the programmes at the end of the SUF in Enugu.

 

She also said that the SUF would be hosted in collaboration with ICT hubs and universities in the South-East region, which was targeted at bringing together the regional ecosystem stakeholders.

 

The national coordinator added that through the programme, participants would be given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas, where outstanding innovators would be identified and supported by the agency.

 

“Innovators stand the chance to submit their pitch decks and get seed funds to get their start-up off the ground to prototype, to working product and commercialisation.

 

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