Hunting Down the Hacker and Protecting Critical Infrastructure
How a hacker could damage your organization, and what you can do TODAY to prevent it
Consider your level of risk
Is your organization at risk of a hack attack? The simple answer is yes (we don’t beat around the bush here). If you use software in your business, you are at risk. There is a sense of complacent trust around the code used in software development by businesses, vendors and consumers. This is a misconception, the only group benefiting from this mindset are the hackers. Remember, they’re happiest when they think they have us fooled.
Malware attacks have a tremendous impact on society, in actuality they have a deep impact on critical infrastructure security systems. Hackers exploit flaws in software code that are difficult to detect with the sole purpose of causing chaos in the masses and receiving financial reward.
No one wants their company to be in the headline of the next major cyber attack.
The good news is, while the bad guys are becoming smarter, our security standards are improving and our technology is learning how to hunt them down. Building better cyber security systems begins with identifying the highest risk industries and what they need to do to protect their infrastructures.
16 critical sectors being targeted by hackers
The 2021 World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report includes cyber attacks on critical infrastructure as a top concern, something that has risen through the ranks of their risk assessment list over the years. With the evolution of the digital landscape, the vulnerabilities faced by certain sectors have become more sophisticated and frequent. The hackers are more capable, and they have pinned down their target audience.
Global governments have formed solutions for their respective countries to manage security threats around the world. For the United States, one of those solutions began with the formation of the Critical Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in November 2018 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Their primary goal is to prevent malware attacks on critical infrastructure (check out the full article here). The CISA identified 16 critical sectors where software security attacks were most frequent:
Defense Industrial Base
Food and Agriculture
Healthcare and Public Health
Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste
Water and Wastewater Systems
Let’s be honest, that’s terrifying. Imagine an organization in any of these critical sectors failing in the place you live and how that would affect the surrounding people. If your organization fits into one or more of these categories, your organization is highly likely to be attacked. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared, and to hack the hackers if and/or when they come. That means identifying the threats, forming a robust risk management strategy, and providing the right tools to your DevSecOps specialists.
Defending your code, identifying the threat
Knowing how to defend your code, and ensure threats don’t infect your systems and supply chain comes in five key areas: Identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover. This framework, created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), prioritizes key security areas of risk in cyber security infrastructures for businesses:
Identify- Understand cybersecurity risks to systems, people, assets, data, and capabilities
Protect- Develop safeguards to ensure delivery of critical services
Detect- Create activities to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event
Respond- Take action regarding a detected cybersecurity incident.
Recover- Implement plans for resilience and to restore any capabilities or services that were impaired because of a cybersecurity incident
Each area further focuses on specific processes in a business environment that would require attention at that stage, as shown in the infographic below:
The rapid increase in sophisticated threats against critical infrastructure should be a wake up call to make code hunting the primary focus in software security. With cybersecurity risk assessment best practices, an organization can detect and analyze software code from hidden malware in crucial systems. The stakes are too high not to identify and mitigate lethal threats that can risk lives through the failure of critical operations, or that can be economically devastating.
Staying safe in the digital age
Failing to prevent cyber security vulnerabilities creates higher risk for the public, staying safe requires proactive steps to defend your organization against cyber threats. This should happen early in the developer life cycle, and frequently to be effective. Government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the CISA, and the NIST have countless resources available to inform and protect critical infrastructures against known vulnerabilities. To truly stay ahead of the hackers, we have to be ever-vigilant in our DevSecOps processes by using secure, cost-effective measures that defend critical infrastructures against malicious hackers.
Legacy networks, programs, and applications are the favored hiding place of tricky, malicious code. It can often appear legitimate, using backdoors and advanced code functions to fool vulnerability scanning software. Taking traditional precautions is not enough to capture unknown risks outside of DHS libraries. To meet modern day cyber security expectations, organizations must rely on newer methods of vulnerability assessments to determine genuine threats in software code throughout their supply chain. This is the only way to stop hackers before they can hide in your systems.
Hunting Down the Hackers
Successful code hunting detects and analyzes software code behavior from both known malware, and malware not previously known to exist. A refined code hunting process mitigates lethal threats against systems, software, life, and economic disaster. Having an automated vulnerability scanning platform in your cyber security tool suite saves time and money while limiting the risk of human error and wasted resources. Recent advancements in the cyber community have improved upon outdated cyber security software, one of which uses a newly discovered advanced method.
As the first of its kind, CodeHunter™ supports organizational efforts in cyber security by analyzing behavior in executables, and detecting both known and unknown vulnerabilities in your code. The best part? Any developer who considers themselves an expert at dragging and dropping data can manage this risk in a timely manner, limiting the likelihood that the hackers will win, and lowering the possibility of human error and false positives.
Staying safe in the digital age is complex, code is complex, hackers are complex, and organizations are complex. It’s time that you experience simple solutions to do what you do best.
Learn more about protecting your critical infrastructure by reading our white paper: Protect Critical Infrastructure and Save Lives With Code Hunting Strategies.