Most businesses that use any form of technology to offer products or services will use cybersecurity to protect their data from hackers. Modern organizations are also responsible for keeping their clients’ data safe while using their services, and there are regulations in place to ensure that happens. Cybersecurity is an important part of modern business because it protects the integrity and availability of digital assets including client information, financial transactions, intellectual property and infrastructure. There are constantly evolving security threats that are always trying to breach organizational security systems, so it is important that the cybersecurity system is up to date and effective in keeping up with threats.
In the last few years, there have been many stories of organizations such as banks, search engines, large technology-based companies and other financial corporations being beached and exposing millions of protected documents and personal information. Companies like Yahoo, Microsoft and First American Corporation are just some of the victims of sophisticated cyberattacks that rocked the world and showed the vulnerability of some important networks. In 2021, Facebook experienced a huge data breach that leaked the personal information of over 500 million users, including passwords, phone numbers and account names. The weakness in the security system was detected but not before all of the relevant information was hacked and used to exploit customers’ accounts.
Some emerging trends in cybersecurity include behavioral analytics, blockchain, cloud encryption, context-aware security, defensive artificial intelligence and extended detection and response (XDR), among others. Most of these cybersecurity approaches are designed to use artificial intelligence algorithms for machine learning so that they can evolve with the ever-changing cyber landscape that hackers are maneuvering in.
Behavioral analytics (BA)
Behavioral analytics can recognize unusual patterns in the system. It can help organizations detect security threats before they happen and improve their existing system to prevent threats in the future. BA can be applied to every area of an organization’s system including the users, any applications being used, networks and any cloud environments being used.
Modern BA can provide companies with real-time insights. If unusual activity is happening, BA will detect it as it is happening so that it can be dealt with immediately. This type of cybersecurity also comes with a dashboard that provides data visualization so that the organization can be kept in the loop about daily progress.
One important aspect of BA is the ability to produce reports for security audits that are understandable and relevant to the particular business. The program is also capable of providing alerts when a security issue is detected and recommending improvements that can be made to the existing system based on the types of threats it is detecting.
Blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger technology that uses cryptographic techniques to ensure the integrity and security of data. Once a transaction is recorded in a block, it can’t be altered or deleted. This makes a system safer from hackers because it is tamper-proof and can only be verified by someone with access. Blockchain is decentralized, so there is no single point where a hacker can breach the system and compromise data.
Some uses for blockchain in the area of cybersecurity include maintaining the integrity of software downloads. Blockchain can verify installers to ensure it isn’t malicious software and protect connected devices from viruses. Blockchain can protect data transmission from unauthorized access and mitigate specific types of attacks where hackers flood internet traffic and stop the services of an organization.
Decentralization means that blockchain can protect systems from hackers who try to access the domain name system (DNS) of sites and crash them. Blockchain can also decentralize the storage of critical data so that it is safe and protected against interference by hackers and there is no chance of data corruption.
The application of blockchain in cybersecurity satisfies the three elements of confidentiality, integrity and availability.
This ensures that only authorized parties can access the data, and blockchain will ensure the data is not accessible to anyone outside of the organization. Blockchain can also provide advanced security by providing infrastructure to authenticate users and encryption for their communications.
The decentralization of data used in blockchains helps to ensure the integrity of an organization’s information. The integrity of the system is maintained while also being traceable.
In the blockchain, there is no central point of failure for a hacker to concentrate on, so there is little chance of a complex crash of a system or a site being overwhelmed and therefore inaccessible to the end user.
Cloud encryption is the process of turning data into an unreadable format before transferring it to the cloud, where it will be stored safely. Data is originally in plain text, so it is easily readable. Cloud encryption ensures the data is indecipherable and useless without an encryption key. This applies to data that is lost or stolen and can only be deciphered with the key.
Encryption is considered one of the most effective forms of cybersecurity in an organization. Along with protecting the data from misuse, it also addresses other security issues such as compliance with regulatory standards and enhanced protection against unauthorized data access. The advanced algorithm used in encryption makes the data meaningless to everyone but authorized users with the key. Keys are generated and shared with trusted parties, and their identity must be established and verified before they are given their own personal key. This verification occurs through multi-factor authentication to provide even more protection.
Cloud encryption is just one of the methods that an individual will learn when studying to earn an online master’s in cybersecurity. Accredited schools such as St. Bonaventure University provides a comprehensive curriculum that will teach students the many methods of cybersecurity in a flexible schedule perfect for those who still need to work while they learn.
This type of security takes into account the context of the user’s access request when they ask for rights to a resource or system. The factors this type of security takes into account include the user’s identity, their role in the organization, the time of day and which device they are using to request access. The program will consider these factors when deciding whether or not to grant access. It is a personalized level of security that can adapt to each specific situation when requesting access.
Context-aware security is implemented through various areas of an organization such as their internal network, mobile devices and remote access devices. It is very useful for detecting internal threats because it can detect and report an anomaly in the form of an unauthorized access attempt. This type of security adds an extra layer of security beyond traditional methods of personal security, which might only look at a user’s identity to verify access.
Context-aware security lets organizations manage and control access to their networks and other digital assets while still allowing their staff to perform their job functions and access the data they need. This system can restrict certain sensitive information to only certain employees while allowing others to only access what they need.
By considering contextual factors, the type of security can help mitigate any risks associated with breaches, unauthorized access and other cybersecurity threats. There is also the option of having an audit trail of user activities, which can help detect any threats before they occur.
Defensive artificial intelligence (AI)
Defensive AI is the use of artificial intelligence to enhance security measures and improve the resilience of a system’s security. It can be used in all stages of cybersecurity, from the detection of threats to preventative methods. The main advantage of this type of cybersecurity is that it can continuously monitor on its own and analyze huge amounts of data, thus preventing cyberattacks before they occur.
Machine learning and other artificial intelligence techniques such as language processing help defensive AI detect patterns and anomalies in an organization’s network and identify potential threats. This type of cybersecurity can also automate incident responses, so organizations can respond to threats immediately and not lose any service to their end users. This is especially helpful if the business is dependent on their website to accept orders for products or services. Defensive AI can isolate any threats and remove them from the main network, so site traffic continues uninterrupted.
Defensive AI can significantly improve an organization’s cybersecurity by providing proactive responses to threats autonomously. However, it does need to be monitored regularly to ensure it is up to date with the latest in cybersecurity threats to maintain its effectiveness. While this type of security can emulate human intelligence, it still requires constant fine-tuning to ensure it is keeping up with the latest in cyber threats.
Extended detection and response (XDR)
This approach provides holistic threat visibility by detecting threats across multiple security domains. It integrates information from multiple security products, including endpoint detection and response (EDR), network detection and response (NDR), and security information and event management (SIEM).
XDR uses advanced analytics and artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze huge volumes of data from many sources, and it does this in real time. This lets security teams identify threats before they can move in and cause real damage to an organization’s data. XDR can detect more sophisticated and modern threats by analyzing data across many domains, which provides a more comprehensive security approach. This can save security teams time and money in chasing threats that may not be as imminent as others.
One of the main benefits of XDR is the ability to detect incidents and respond to them in a shorter amount of time. XDR enables security teams to focus on critical threats by automating threat analysis and helps them clear the threat quickly and effectively. This reduces the impact of any breaches on an organization’s network and helps maintain regulatory compliance. It also simplifies the security operations by providing a simplified view of security alerts, incidents and events. This allows the security team to prioritize the most imminent threats and allocate resources accordingly. It also reduces the cost of cybersecurity by eliminating the need for multiple security tools and platforms.
Manufacturer usage description (MUD)
This security system helps to secure and control the number of devices on an organizations’ network. MUD uses a standard for manufacturers to identify the network behavior of their devices, which can be used to secure and manage the devices in their network environments. If a business uses a security camera, then the manufacturers can use MUD to define how that security camera works, in which port and how often it scans, and also sets very specific protocols on how it uploads data. When the security team of that organization programs that security camera, they will take those protocols into account and use them to pinpoint if there is a breach in the system. By defining how this device behaves on the network, it makes it easier to detect when it is acting out of character and potentially being breached.
MUD embeds the device’s manufacturer usage description in its metadata to provide control over that device’s behavior on the network. Devices such as cameras and sensors are only accessible by authorized users and eliminate the chances of an outside influence taking control of them. MUD allows security teams to enforce the network policies and restrict unnecessary network access. By automating policy enforcement, MUD can reduce threats and improve the integrity of the network infrastructure.
MUD is an effective security tool that helps manage the risks associated with having different devices being used across enterprise networks. An example of how MUD works is in the surveillance cameras that an organization uses. The manufacturer may use MUD to specify network behavior, and that information can then be used by administrators to define how that surveillance camera acts on the network. If specific ports of use are defined, then that reduces the number of surfaces vulnerable to an attack.
MUD can also help administrators detect devices that are not authorized to be used on the network. This can prevent attacks by locating unauthorized devices that are unknowingly being plugged into the network by employees and weakening the security of the entire network. In particular, this type of security benefits organizations who are obligated to follow regulatory compliance, especially in highly regulated areas such as finance and healthcare. MUD provides robust security that can help these organizations avoid fines or other types of damage caused by non-compliance.
The zero-trust model of cybersecurity is exactly as it sounds: nothing inside or outside of an organization’s network can be trusted. It is based on the principle that nothing can be trusted, and everything must be verified. Zero trust uses very strict authentication methods that are needed regardless of where the user is accessing the network from. In this security model, access to the network and all of its applications is restricted and continually evaluated. Factors that are included in the evaluation include user identity, type of device, location of the user and behavior of the user. This approach prevents breaches and other types of cyberattacks by minimizing the vulnerabilities of the system.
One of the key principles of this type of cybersecurity system is the ability to identify the user by using indicators such as identity, location and access behavior. All users have unique and reliable identities that can be authenticated at the access point. Another principle is device verification, where the devices are checked for compliance and authorized before being given access to the network. Continuous monitoring is another key principle of zero-trust security as it monitors all aspects of the network for any signs of suspicious activity. This type of system is the opposite of lax and can be time-consuming and cumbersome to the users requesting access to the network. For organizations that have incredibly sensitive data, this type of no-nonsense security is the best approach for keeping their information safe from hackers.
Other principles of zero-trust security include keeping segments of the network isolated so that if another area is compromised, then the threat can’t move throughout the network. This type of security prioritizes security over all other principles, including convenience. With this level of security, an organization can protect their sensitive data and reduce the impact of cyberattacks.
Threats to the integrity of organizational data have become increasingly sophisticated, and that means cybersecurity needs to be continually evolving to keep up with these threats. Approaches such as behavioral analytics, blockchain, cloud encryption and other types of security programs are designed to approach security in different ways but all with the same goal of protecting the sensitive data held by an organization. Historically, the world has seen how devastating these cyberattacks can be and how important it is that the approaches to security keep up with the sophistication of the threats. While a company may use advanced cybersecurity, the security team needs to be ever vigilant because the threats are always evolving and hackers are always on the attack.