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Researchers Feels Cyber Attacks Are Outpacing Physical Terror Attacks

Holt's research also examined physical and cyber terror attacks committed by these far-left groups between 2000 and 2015 in the US, UK and Canada

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Cloudhopper, cyberattacks, internet
The picture shows a warning sign for "cyber threats ahead". Pixabay

With increasing cases of data breaches and information loss happening on the Internet, cyber attacks are outpacing physical attacks among far-left groups and can cause greater destruction, researchers say.

According to lead author Thomas Holt, Professor at the Michigan State University (MSU), the high-profile nature of the internet — on which the ideological groups can manipulate traffic — is the ideal platform to attack.

The ideologically motivated attacks are devised to have an emotional and economic impact on groups that go against their beliefs.

“Little work has been done around the use of the internet as an attack space,” Holt said.

“The bottom line is that these attacks are happening and they’re overlooked. If we don’t get a handle understanding them now, we won’t fully understand the scope of the threats today and how to prevent larger mobilization efforts in the future.”

Cyber Attacks (Representational image). Pixabay

To understand these attacks, Holt analysed the scope, growth and impact of ideological cyber terrorist incidents from far-left groups, such as the Animal Liberation Front, Earth Liberation Front and the hacker conglomerate group, Anonymous.

These groups, do not necessarily want to physically harm humans; rather, they are motivated by animal and environmental activism and feel passionate about attacking companies, organisations and government entities that go against their beliefs, Holt explained, in the paper published in the Terrorism and Political Violence journal.

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Holt’s research also examined physical and cyber terror attacks committed by these far-left groups between 2000 and 2015 in the US, UK and Canada.

“These groups might strike domestically, but their damage on the web can be widespread and a concurrent risk for companies and consumers alike. It could be even greater,” Holt said. (IANS)

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HP Unveils Advanced Security Solutions For Complete Protection From Threat

Additionally, HP will offer HP Sure Click Pro free of charge through September 30 to help protect users from web, email, and document-based security threats

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HP
According to the company, HP Pro Security Edition is the world's most advanced application isolation and deep learning endpoint protection on Windows 10 PCs, delivering enterprise-level security designed for SMB customers. It is expected to be available on select HP Elite PCs purchased in the summer 2020. Pixabay

PC and printer major HP Inc on Thursday announced advanced security solutions to provide complete threat protection for businesses and their remote workforces.

The new solutions offerings include HP Pro Security Edition, HP Proactive Security and HP Sure Click Enterprise.

According to the company, HP Pro Security Edition is the world’s most advanced application isolation and deep learning endpoint protection on Windows 10 PCs, delivering enterprise-level security designed for SMB customers. It is expected to be available on select HP Elite PCs purchased in the summer 2020.

HP Proactive Security is an advanced endpoint security service. By taking a protection-first approach, the managed service aims to help small- and medium-sized businesses defend against cyber-attacks without changing user behaviour or increasing IT workload.

It is available to select customers in pilots now and is expected to be available to customers and partners worldwide in April.

HP
PC and printer major HP Inc on Thursday announced advanced security solutions to provide complete threat protection for businesses and their remote workforces. Pixabay

Meanwhile, HP Sure Click Enterprise is a secure endpoint application isolation and containment solution, protecting enterprise endpoints from even the most sophisticated of attackers while providing detailed, real-time threat intelligence to security teams. It is expected to be available in May.

Additionally, HP will offer HP Sure Click Pro free of charge through September 30 to help protect users from web, email, and document-based security threats.

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HP Sure Click Pro will enhance the already existing HP Sure Click with additional features such as editing Word and Excel documents within an isolated container. This offer will be available for use on all HP and non-HP Windows 10 PCs. (IANS)

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Protecting India From Cyber Attacks

Operation Cyber Freedom: Securing over a billion dreams from adversarial entities

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Cyber attacks
Cyber attacks point to the activation of bot farms consisting of millions of zombie devices that have been hacked. Pixabay

BY VINIT GOENKA

We are part of a thriving, young, and vibrant nation. We also belong to a civilization that is timeless in age backed by a culture that has gifted the world spiritual enlightenment, technological progress and unbound and selfless wisdom. At no point in time were we anything but givers to the global community as a whole. Today, as the winds of technology blow, Indian minds are not just powering this revolution but leading it as well.

A nation of our stature also attracts the attention of the wrong kind. In the last few years, we have seen reports of how actors backed by nation-states and non-state actors consistently attacking our critical and non-critical infrastructure for various reasons. These attacks are not limited to the defense sector alone. Healthcare, transport, IT, telecom have each been attacked in the recent past. Such attacks point to the activation of bot farms consisting of millions of zombie devices that have been hacked to serve as a source of processing capacity for launching cyberattacks on India.

Cyber attacks
Some of the cyber attacks are being carried out with the discipline of a regular army. Pixabay

Some of these attacks are being carried out with the discipline of a regular army. It carries all the signatures thereof — including high levels of research and reconnaissance, multiple attacks to gain entry, precision targeting, disciplined and patient approach towards creating a beachhead, and, last but not least, persistent attempts to hack and acquire information. Such attacks need to be countered at various levels, and we need to evolve and deploy a cybersecurity doctrine that affords us protection and secures our infrastructure, minds, and resources.

The environment

There is a rapid deterioration of international stability across our immediate neighborhood, the Middle East, Eastern, and Central Europe alone with continuing geopolitical turmoil that is shaping foreign and domestic policy decisions around energy and defence. The challenge for all of us is the character of the competition being fueled by nefarious means is being conducted by authoritarian opponents who are part of nations that have not tasted democracy in its entirety ever. They also have armed forces who have been issued carte blanche by their political masters to indulge in international chicanery that ends at the doorsteps of democracies like ours and harms our growth aspirations.

Our adversaries are not just attacking the foundational pillars of our existence as a nation but also attacking our way of life and our freedoms in a manner that is quite difficult to defeat without undermining those very freedoms we seek to protect. Our adversaries are making a concerted attempt to undermine cohesion, erode economic, political, and social resilience, and challenge our strategic position in our part of the world. Such efforts have to be met with a level of resistance that doesn’t merely defeat these machinations but also serves to deter future attempts.

The increasing digitization of our growth is opening new ways to execute a type of “political warfare” that relies on the use and abuse of information, online espionage, state-backed cyberattacks, and intellectual property theft, among other things. The chain doesn’t stop here. It is often backed by the promotion of misinformation and fake news in cyberspace.

Our response

We need to address this challenge through a strategic response that integrates all levers of power and operations. We need to bring in a renewed coherence and consistency to our defence strategy for the next decade, which will be a critical one as we aim at becoming a $5 trillion economy. We need to be able to strike and protect a dimension that emerges from the integration of five domains that are space, cyber and information, air, maritime, and land. This integration will change the way we fight and the way we develop the capability to protect and defend.

Cyber attacks
Cyber attacks need to be countered at various levels, and we need to evolve and deploy a cybersecurity doctrine. Pixabay

Our armed forces, in the future, will have to develop and deploy a strategy that gives them the ability to operate at a micro and nano levels with a small force while moving faster relying on a very high degree of mobility, electronic warfare and passive deception measures to maintain the information advantage we possess now. More and more automated, supervised, and autonomous platforms will be integrated in a manner to enable the faster introduction of new tech as also the ability to defend or strike hard as required while maintaining a deterrence posture that conveys strength and resilience. Disabling of adversarial infrastructure for the short or long term will be a part of this measure.

Such a high level of modernization will need us to embrace information-centric technologies and approaches. We also need to recognise the need for the application of a blend of technologies such as computing power, connectivity, machine learning, IoT and artificial intelligence [AI],

automation, autonomy, and quantum computing to attain the disruptive power we need.

The path ahead

We need to initiate work on multiple projects in parallel to support the goals I have outlined previously without losing focus. These projects should focus on areas where ethical technologies and a high level of automation can bring a plethora of advantages while we redefine data as a strategic and uncompromisable asset. The industry in India needs to back us on this front.

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We must embrace open, outwardly facing innovation across all segments and outsource to strategic partners. No one can do everything anymore, as this leads to erosion of core competencies and dilution of strengths. A high level of collaboration with the academic and entrepreneurial ecosystem is the need of the hour. We must utilise technology scouts to amplify our R&D capabilities and support universities, research centres, startups, and established companies looking to develop strategic alliances with the right partners. (IANS)

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“Collaboration Is The Key To Ensure Cyber-Security”, Says Microsoft

The company deploys a number of sensors that are looking for information from cyber incidents around the world -- sort of metadata about what's going on -- whether it's from PCs, servers or in the Cloud

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Microsoft
Microsoft spends over $1 billion annually on Cyber-Security and uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in a big way to gain accurate insights and faster automated response to real-time threats. Pixabay

As governments the world over deliberate over how to tackle growing nation-state cyber attacks and protect sensitive data, a top Microsoft official said that collaborations between the governments, tech companies and third-party cybersecurity agencies can help address the growing menace.

According to Rob Lefferts, CVP-Program Management M365 Security at Microsoft, the company takes nation-state cyber attacks very seriously. “We have a whole research team dedicated to understand the behaviour of nation-state attacks. We partner with governments around the globe to help protect citizens against such attacks,” Lefferts told IANS during an interaction.

Microsoft spends over $1 billion annually on Cyber-Security and uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in a big way to gain accurate insights and faster automated response to real-time threats.

“We are using AI and ML as a tool to empower defenders and to more effectively protect organizations. When we talk to companies in India, 92 per cent of organisations have either already adopted or looking to adopt AI in their approach towards cybersecurity,” said Lefferts. For Microsoft, it is a strategic investment for the company.

“We took a very, very strong approach over six years ago around investing over $1billion a year in research and development of security technologies. The goal is to help us better protect, detect and respond to real-world threats in today’s environment,” stressed the Microsoft executive. The company deploys a number of sensors that are looking for information from cyber incidents around the world — sort of metadata about what’s going on — whether it’s from PCs, servers or in the Cloud.

“We do not collect actual content but metadata of behaviours. We collect more than 8 trillion of those signals every day. And then, we use those models to better protect organisations,” informed Lefferts. “Every day, 3,500 Microsoft security professionals track threats and provide better enforcement protection for our customers,” he added. According to him, Microsoft learns from its customers and actual users.

“What’s exciting is the ability to turn that information around at incredible speed to protect customers. Since we’re using Cloud-powered technologies, those updates and new protections come to customers almost instantaneously. In fact, in many cases, we use behavioural analytics to detect problems before they’re even problems,” Lefferts told IANS. Collaboration is very critical in the cybersecurity space.

Microsoft
As governments the world over deliberate over how to tackle growing nation-state cyber attacks and protect sensitive data, a top Microsoft official said that collaborations between the governments, tech companies and third-party cybersecurity agencies can help address the growing menace. Pixabay

“One is collaboration across the security industry. Then there is collaboration around actual incidents and problems as they occur. This is a place where it’s not just a matter of machines; we need machines to empower humans,” he noted.

In 2018, top 34 global technology and securities firms, led by Microsoft and Facebook, signed a “Cybersecurity Tech Accord” to defend people from malicious attacks by cybercriminals and nation-states. The 34 companies include Cisco, HP, Nokia, Oracle, VMware, Dell, CA Technologies, Symantec, Bitdefender, F-Secure, RSA and Trend Micro, among others.

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“This tech sector accord will help us take a principled path towards more effective steps to work together and defend customers around the world,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith. (IANS)