Consider the old adage knowledge is power. While true for many things, this holds incredibly true for the security of an organization’s network. The threats you know about can more easily be mitigated.

Alternatively, the threats you don’t know about are the ones that you should be concerned about.

In the August edition of the GTIC Monthly Threat Report, NTT Security takes a look into several threats that you potentially don’t know about which could negatively affect your organization’s network: the software supply chain, cryptojacking malware, and unsecured Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Potential Threat: You don’t know who is in your supply chain or what their security practices might be:

Software supply chain attacks have increased in frequency over the past 12 months, as virtually every organization depends on third-party software for its operations. These types of attacks present an incredible challenge to an organization’s security endeavors since vulnerabilities in many of these software programs are difficult to detect. Additionally, many organizations simply TRUST that their vendors are providing secure software. Is it your responsibility to ensure your supply chain, or partner, vendors are properly vetted?

Potential Threat: You don’t know if cryptomining or cryptojacking software exists in your network:

GTIC researchers analyzed three months’ worth of browser-based cryptojacking events and found that nearly every industry was impacted to some extent, but that the top three industries comprised around 88% of all detections.

And, while many believe that cryptomining software is fairly innocuous (it’s not actually stealing your data), it could very well indicate a much greater problem on a system, or even network-wide, and suggest your network is likely vulnerable to other threats. Ultimately, you should probably be asking the question “The bad guys installed cryptomining software, what else have they done on my network?”

Potential Threat: You don’t know if all IoT devices connected to your network are properly secured:

IoT devices connected to the internet look to outnumber the entire human population 3-to-1 by 2020.

It tends to be up to the individual user as to what security measures are enacted for any given device. It doesn’t help, too, that the internet itself wasn’t necessarily built with security in mind.

That’s a lot of potential security risk.

Some researchers believe that a set of global cybersecurity standards established by international organizations, national governments, and industry could be part of the solution. This, though, will require a shift in mindset from everyone, from private industry to government organizations to individual users – at each step along the way, including the supply chain.

The good news, though, is that there IS a global movement in the works to regulate IoT and enhance overall security of the devices that may connect to your network.

So what you don’t know actually CAN hurt you. Maximize the value of what you DO know to enhance your organization’s security posture, like defense-in-depth and best practices – and read the August version of the GTIC Monthly Threat Report for interesting insight into the most prevalent cryptojacking and cryptomining software the GTIC is observing, as well as some additional ways to protect your organization against potential threats posed by your supply chain and IoT devices.

All of these perhaps require a shift in how we all think about security.


References

How Cryptojacking Can Corrupt the Internet of Things 

Why cryptojacking malware may be a sign of more serious intrusion

Software supply chain attacks: preventing and mitigating "the next ransomware"

Article: Have You Updated Your Toaster? Transatlantic Approaches to Governing the Internet of Everything