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NETSCOUT Highlights Cyberthreats to Watch Out for in 2023

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NETSCOUT has revealed its top security trends to watch out for in 2023. Based on recent data, the company has predicted that geopolitical unrest, the evolution of ransomware, and the growing popularity of Adaptive DDoS, Direct-Path DDoS, and Outbound and Cross-bound DDoS attacks will have a significant impact on the security industry in 2023.

Emad Fahmy, Systems Engineering Manager Middle East at NETSCOUT, explained, “In the world of cybercrime, innovation is a constant. By constantly innovating and adapting, attackers are designing new, more effective attack vectors or doubling down on existing effective methodologies. Although the future is always difficult to predict, one thing is certain, cyber-attacks will not subside. Moreover, when it comes to cyber-attacks, no business sector is off-limits. Cybercriminals target regional businesses of all sizes and in all sectors, whether public or private.”

Geopolitical Unrest
Although distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks have steadily increased over the past 20 years, recent data firmly establishes the reality that network operators need to understand, prepare for, and expect attacks related to politics, religion, and ideology. Nation-state actors often directly target internet infrastructure to take out critical communications, e-commerce, and other vital infrastructure dependent on internet connectivity. This, of course, means targeting internet service provider (ISP) networks to limit internet connectivity.

Further, nation-states typically possess vastly greater resources at their disposal than other malicious actors. Every year, they create new DDoS attack vectors, proving that they are constantly innovating and exploring new, more potent attack methods. As DDoS defenses become more precise and effective, attackers continue to develop new DDoS attack vectors and methodologies to circumvent these defenses. These advanced techniques invariably find their way into the hands of criminal gangs and even individual hackers, who turn them against any entity from whom they can profit.

Ransomware
Ransomware attacks have posed a significant threat to businesses and individuals in recent years and will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated in 2023. One trend that will continue to evolve is the use of ransomware in combination with other attacks, such as supply chain attacks. It is also likely that malicious actors will continue to target specific industries or types of organizations with ransomware attacks, specifically to maximize their profits. For example, hospitals and other healthcare organizations have been particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks in the past because, with lives at stake, they may be more willing to pay a ransom to regain access to critical systems and data.

Another ransomware trend that will continue in 2023 is the use of triple extortion attacks. These campaigns begin by infiltrating a network and stealing valuable assets, such as trade secrets, source codes, credit cards, authentication credentials, and other personally identifiable information (PII). In phase two, ransomware is planted to encrypt valuable data or even entire storage systems. At this point, cybercriminals will demand a ransom in exchange for decryption keys. If the victim refuses to pay the ransom, perhaps because they could simply restore good backups, the threat actors then threaten to release sensitive data publicly if the ransom is not met.

This form of attack has been around for several years and can add additional pressure on the victim because the potential repercussions of the data being released to the public can be severe. While the first two actions can be invisible to the public, the third phase cannot escape publicity. Finally, a DDoS attack or even the threat of such turns the pressure up to the max. If the ransom is not paid, DDoS can take down an organization’s internet presence, thus exposing the entirety of the security threat and failure to protect valuable assets.

Adaptive DDoS
In an adaptive DDoS attack, adversaries conduct extensive pre-attack reconnaissance to identify specific elements of the service delivery chain to target. They are increasingly employing botnet nodes and reflectors/amplifiers that are closer to the target, a trend recently observed in botnet attacks on Ukraine. This minimizes the number of boundaries that DDoS attack traffic must traverse, often resulting in fewer opportunities to detect and mitigate the attack. The combination of increased available bandwidth and throughput increased populations of abusable devices, and adaptive DDoS attack techniques magnify the threat to network operators. As such, network operators should move from a default posture of DDoS mitigation to a new posture of DDoS suppression.

Direct-Path DDoS Attacks
Direct flooding and application-layer DDoS attacks are becoming more popular as anti-spoofing efforts increase globally, making it more difficult for spoofed packets to travel across the internet. Old techniques have become popular again as this methodology returns from the past, back before reflection/amplification attacks dominated the landscape. Enhanced for the modern network, these attacks now come from much more powerful sources, such as cloud-based infrastructure with massive computing and bandwidth resources. Further, adversaries are compromising hosts much closer to the target, thus avoiding many layers of transit, potential discovery, and mitigation. Because of this, organizations must beware of the enemy within.

Outbound and Cross-bound DDoS Attacks
Those are not the only threats coming from within – DDoS attack traffic is increasingly originating from within the network it is targeting, thus avoiding ingress and transit points. DDoS defenses traditionally have been focused on protecting internet properties and networks by implementing detection and mitigation technologies at points of convergence for inbound network traffic. This approach worked well to protect targeted organizations and networks from inbound DDoS attacks; however, outbound and cross-bound DDoS attacks can be just as devastating and disruptive as inbound attacks. Because of adversary innovation and adaption, defenders must change their way of thinking and, in turn, adapt to the current threat landscape.

Expert Speak

Hidden Champions: Behind These Popular Applications Are Hard Drives

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Written by Rainer W. Kaese, Senior Manager of Business Development Storage Products at Toshiba Electronics Europe
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Cyber Security

Netskope Joins Google Workspace Security Alliance

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Netskope has joined the Google Workspace Security Alliance to extend security and data protection for Workspace users. The Netskope One Platform provides a number of advanced security capabilities that protect data, defend against threats, and ensure users have fast and secure access to Google Workspace productivity and collaboration tools, including Gemini for Workspace.

As organizations increasingly adopt cloud technologies to drive innovation and efficiency, they are also challenged to secure sensitive data from a range of cyber risks, including:

  • Ongoing increases in the number of users uploading sensitive data to personal instances of cloud applications
  • New and evolving threat techniques such as abuse of certain applications for critical data access, back doors, and financial gain; compromise of credentials to access critical business data; insider threats; and more
  • Data exposure from the insecure use of both managed and unmanaged AI-based productivity tools

Netskope and Google Workspace empower organizations to embrace modern collaboration and productivity by enabling the secure use of AI-based productivity tools. Netskope provides advanced data loss prevention (DLP) techniques, delivering real-time visibility and control over users, data, and corporate vs. personal cloud instances. In addition, Netskope’s comprehensive threat protection through both API and inline controls detects threats in Google applications and monitors data movement and threat propagation between Google Workspace apps and third-party ecosystem applications.

“Netskope is proud to expand its partnership with Google Workspace by joining the Workspace Security Alliance. There are already thousands of customers using Netskope to safeguard their Google Workspace applications, and this new partnership further enhances the secure usage capabilities for application specific data protection policies,” said Andy Horwitz, VP, Global Partner Ecosystems, Netskope. “Together, Netskope and Google Workspace can help customers modernize their productivity stack. We look forward to helping customers safely optimize their employees’ daily productivity.”

The Netskope and Google Workspace partnership enables organizations to embrace collaboration and productivity while safeguarding critical data. Joint customers can now more effectively:

  1. Support best practice use of Gemini for Google Workspace: Leverage real-time user coaching to help enforce best practices in application usage. Organizations can gain visibility into data movement to minimize sensitive information sharing while achieving data compliance objectives.
  2. Protect sensitive data: Detect and manage access to sensitive data within Google Workspace applications, enforcing policies to prevent unauthorized data movement across platforms, including third-party services like Microsoft OneDrive, Box and Dropbox.
  3. Stop insider threats like data exfiltration: Prevent the download of sensitive data from Google Workspace business instances and then the upload to personal instances, which is one of today’s top reasons for data loss. Additionally, apply this control to unmanaged devices: allow unmanaged or personal device access to a specific cloud app for collaboration, however, do not allow downloading of sensitive data.
  4. Detect and stop elusive threats and malware: Protect against malware and phishing delivered from the cloud. Netskope’s multi-layered advanced threat protection (ATP) enhances security within Google Workspace and across cloud applications.
  5. Maintain compliance in Google Workspace: Ensure that organizations can adhere to regulations and meet compliance needs by enforcing security policies within Google Workspace.

“By partnering with Netskope, a leading SASE vendor, customers can confidently expand their Google Workspace adoption leveraging their existing IT infrastructure investments,” said Nikhil Sinha, Group Product Manager, Google Workspace. “Netskope instance awareness enables fine grained data governance policy differences to both corporate and personal Google Workspace accounts. We are excited to partner with Netskope to provide these advanced security capabilities to our customers.”

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Channel Talk

AmiViz and BitSight Join Forces to Elevate Middle East Risk Management

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AmiViz has partnered with Bitsight, a leading provider of cyber risk management solutions. This collaboration marks a significant step forward in bolstering cybersecurity capabilities across the region and facilitating Bitsight’s expansion efforts in the Middle East.

The partnership between AmiViz and Bitsight will enhance the cybersecurity landscape in the Middle East by introducing state-of-the-art solutions designed to tackle the evolving cyber threats confronting regional organizations. With both companies committed to improving cybersecurity awareness and resilience, they are set to pave the way for a safer and more secure digital environment in the region.

Commenting on the partnership with Bitsight, Ilyas Mohammed, COO at AmiViz said, “Our decision to onboard Bitsight demonstrates our commitment towards the evolution of the cybersecurity landscape in the Middle East. As organizations grapple with increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, the partnership between these two industry leaders promises to deliver enhanced value by equipping organizations with the tools and insights needed to effectively manage cyber risks and safeguard their digital assets in an ever-evolving threat landscape.”

Bitsight’s solutions can proactively assess and manage their cyber risk exposure and provide organizations with actionable intelligence to optimize their security investments, streamline vendor risk management processes, and enhance cyber resilience. With a focus on continuous monitoring and data-driven insights, Bitsight empowers organizations to make informed decisions and stay ahead of emerging cyber threats.

The Middle East has often been an attractive target for cyber-attacks, and this partnership will empower companies to address vulnerabilities and protect their digital assets proactively. By combining AmiViz’s deep understanding of the regional market dynamics with Bitsight’s cutting-edge technology and global expertise, the partnership will offer next-generation cybersecurity solutions tailored to the unique challenges and requirements of Middle Eastern organizations.

“We are proud to partner with AmiViz to transform the cyber risk management landscape in the Middle East,” said Xavier Artiguebieille, Senior Vice President, EMEA Sales at Bitsight. “Our combined efforts will equip organizations with the critical tools and intelligence needed to navigate and mitigate the complexities of modern cyber threats, enhancing their overall security and resilience.”

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