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Data breaches forced governments and enterprises to focus on cyber security

In the first major attack of the year, the world reeled under “WannaCrypt” that locked files on computers.

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Cyber attack has effected millions of people globally. Wikimedia Commons
Cyber attack has effected millions of people globally. Wikimedia Commons

Mega cyber attacks such as “WannaCrypt” and “Petya” this year forced governments and enterprises globally, including in India, to focus and invest more in bolstering their security networks. In the first major attack of the year, the world reeled under “WannaCrypt” that locked files on computers. Hundreds of thousands of computers were infected with the malware in May. The primary reason for this attack being successful was not the software but human error.

On March 14 this year, Microsoft released a security update which addressed the vulnerability in the 16-year-old Windows XP operating system. Once the patch for the vulnerability was released, hacker group “Shadow Brokers” exploited this loophole and wreaked havoc in 150 countries. Those who installed the update were saved, while several who did not, fell prey to the attack.

Soon after the “WanaCrypt” attack, tens of thousands of computers globally were affected by the “Adylkuzz attack” that shut down SMB networking to prevent further infections with other malware (including the WannaCrypt worm). While Europe and major parts of the world struggled with another big ransomware attack called “Petya”, India also bore the brunt. Some Indian servers were down owing to the Petya attack.

WanaCrypt, Judy, Locky and Petya are some of the malware attacks in the recent times. Wikiimedia Commons
WanaCrypt, Judy, Locky and Petya are some of the malware attacks in the recent times. Wikiimedia Commons

The Shipping Ministry said operations at one of the container terminals at Mumbai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) was affected by Petya. Companies like Genesis BM, a public relations firm, had to shut down systems in India after their international servers were attacked. The month of May saw another cyber attack when a malware called “Judy” hit over 36.5 million Android-based phones, making its way through Google Play Store.

In August, the “Locky” ransomware, once considered almost defunct, sent over 23 million emails with the malware to the US workforce in just 24 hours. It scrambled the contents of millions of computers and demanded payment to unlock it.

A group of hackers leaked the “Game of Thrones” script, along with 1.5TB of HBO data that included other popular TV shows. The hacking group demanded approximately $6.5 million worth of Bitcoins from HBO. A group of hackers also penetrated Equifax — one of the largest credit bureaus in the world — and stole personal data of 145 million people. Accountancy firm Deloitte was also targeted by a sophisticated hack that compromised the confidential emails and plans of some of its blue-chip clients and the attack went unnoticed for months.

In November, Yahoo agreed that it was attacked in 2013 wherein criminals had information about all three billion accounts. In another massive attack, hackers stole the personal data of 57 million customers and drivers from Uber Technologies. The breach was concealed for more than a year.

Most companies fall victim to cyber attackers either because of unpatched software with known vulnerabilities or because of the human factor like people falling victim to phishing emails, Finland-based cybersecurity firm F-Secure said.

Microsoft's system are effected globally by the cyber threats. Wikimedia Commons
Microsoft’s system are effected globally by the cyber threats. Wikimedia Commons

Later in the year, the enterprise cybersecurity company FireEye said Chinese advanced persistent threat (APT) groups that have allegedly been creating cyber havoc internationally will shift their focus in 2018 to countries like India and Hong Kong and groups seen as a threat to Beijing’s influence over global markets.

Slowly becoming aware of emerging cyber threats, organisations worldwide will spend $96.3 billion on security in 2018 — an increase of eight per cent from 2017, according to a Gartner forecast. More than 60 per cent of organisations globally will invest in multiple data security tools by 2020 — up from 35 per cent today, it added.

“Cyber attacks such as WannaCry and NotPetya, and most recently the Equifax breach, have a direct effect on security spend because these types of attacks last up to three years,” the market research firm said. To ward off future attacks, the Indian government set up NIC-CERT centre to monitor, detect and prevent cyber attacks on government networks.

NIC-CERT will work in close coordination and collaboration with sectoral CERTs and CERT-In. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the fifth edition of the Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS) in New Delhi in November that witnessed top global security experts deliberating on ways to fight cybersecurity. IANS

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Skills Required To Become An Information Security Analyst

Good analytical skills allow information security analyst to respond to incidents quickly

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Analyst
It is vital that information security analyst is skilled and comfortable with the fundamentals of networking. This skill is specifically employable to maximise damage, malware and other cybersecurity threats are highly dependent on computer networks. Pixabay

Today’s rapid growth of technology comes along with the booming threat of cybercrime, thereby driving demand for more cybersecurity professionals. Here is a list of skills that every security analyst should possess to give the global population a safer tomorrow!

  • Communication

    Documenting incidents and communicating is the most important soft skill that information security analysts should possess. Good communication skills are not only essential during security incidents being escalated and passed around but also while working as part of a larger team. In addition to this, effective communication is needed at times when any records of activity or actions are taken is needed to be properly documented, which may be used in a legal proceeding.

  • Technology networking

      It is vital that information security analysts are skilled and comfortable with the fundamentals of networking. This skill is specifically employable to maximise damage, malware and other cybersecurity threats are highly dependent on computer networks. Besides acquiring basic information from network device logs, analysts should also possess knowledge of the OSI network model and network protocols. As a technology analyst, you should know what each piece of information signifies and how it might impact your analysis.  

  • Cybersecurity

      Understanding security fundamentals is equally important as developing networking knowledge. A solid understanding of various cyber threats can enable you to learn what patterns and behaviours to look for in your analysis. In order to be able to quickly identify suspicious or dangerous activity, you must familiarise yourself with the various patterns and different malware variants that are common to most attacks. A security analyst well versed in security fundamentals would be able to easily identify and deduce infected computers to be removed from the network and cleaned.

Cyber Security, Online, Computer, Cyber, Network
Today’s rapid growth of technology comes along with the booming threat of cybercrime, thereby driving demand for more cybersecurity professionals such as an Analyst. Pixabay
  • Analytical

     Good analytical skills allow information security analyst to respond to incidents quickly. Employers find it valuable when analysts are able to smoothly ability to function within a formal incident detection and response process. This is considered as one of the best practices in defending an organisation’s digital assets from cyber threats and even to prosecute the attackers.

  • Creativity

     This is another crucial soft skills that are critical for information security analysts to be able to anticipate cyber-attacks and always think one step ahead of a cyber threat. Detail-oriented forward-thinking requires a creative approach that may allow analysts to detect threats to cybersecurity, which are typically are hard to detect. Furthermore, information security analysts are expected to be focused on the details of a security system, noting any minor changes and foreseeing any potential problems, no matter the size of it.

ALSO READ: Here’s Why Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai Believes That Artificial Intelligence Needs To Be Regulated

These skills put emphasis on the importance of IT Security Management degree. So apply today to develop the skills required to become an analyst.