Can Companies Future-Proof Against Security Vulnerabilities?

Organizations are waging a daily war against hackers. Cyberattacks can cost millions of dollars in lost business, public embarrassment, and a loss of consumers’ trust. Whether a single bad actor or a larger group of hackers is leading the attack, the goal is always to find and exploit security vulnerabilities in software systems. In 2021 alone, there were 66 zero-day attacks according to the 0-day tracking project.

This name comes from the idea that developers have “zero days” to fix the issue before the attack affects a company’s or consumer’s data. While cybersecurity experts attempt to detect which software and organizations are vulnerable, attackers are already exploiting the vulnerability.

In 2021 alone, there were 66 zero-day attacks.

These attacks are likely to include remote control malware and ransomware. If left unfixed, attackers can break into systems, steal passwords and logins, extract data, and infect networks with malicious software.

A recent vulnerability dominating tech headlines is Log4j. Apache Log4j is a logging library used in millions of Java-based applications. A vulnerability within this system can (and has) exposed countless organizations to malicious actors. Additional vulnerabilities like this one are popping up in alarming numbers, and these attacks compound the challenges already-strained IT teams are facing. CIOs must act proactively in order to protect their organizations and teams from these attacks.

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Act Now to Prevent Security Vulnerabilities

In zero-day scenarios, the most significant risk isn’t in the first wave of exploits. These tend to come from a small number of bad actors testing the waters to see what will work. It’s when a bad actor finally finds something that does work — that’s when the problems begin.

Vulnerabilities are shared with other bad actors, generally for a fee or through partnerships, empowering an entire network of criminals. For instance, Equifax’s unaddressed security vulnerabilities enabled hackers to steal 147 million names and dates of birth, 145.5 million social security numbers, and 209,000 credit card numbers and expiration dates back in 2017.

In a zero-day scenario, the faster you can create and install patches across your estate, the more insulated you will be.

In an effort to avoid another breach of this scale, the FTC is holding organizations accountable when they fail to protect user data. The agency has already signaled its willingness to legislate against organizations that do not proactively address vulnerabilities.

In a zero-day scenario, the faster you can create and install patches across your estate, the more insulated you will be. Speed is everything. IT leaders can respond promptly to zero-day attacks only when they have accurate and precise information about every instance of that file across their entire estate. But few IT leaders have tools that offer a high level of visibility.

Proactive data gathering sets an IT staff up to spot vulnerabilities before they are exploited. This enables them to quickly update the data collection via the installed agents to capture data on a specific file and specific version. Then, they can create a patch and send it out across the estate before bad actors have a chance to act.

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The Need for Detailed, Specific Reports

Little information is available when a zero-day attack is announced. Usually, it’s just which files are vulnerable to the attack. That’s why specific data about vulnerabilities is critical; it can help IT managers narrow down the vulnerabilities and remedy the issue. This is an incredible advantage in the mitigation process and, when integrated into a company’s everyday IT practices, it speeds up the process of remediation.

At Lakeside, we acted swiftly to help customers manage Log4j. Our customers imported a solution pack that could be activated within hours. Because of the forensic level of data our platform collects from the endpoint, customers have been able to immediately identify risks across the estate.

Whatever the threat, estate-wide visibility is essential for reducing security vulnerabilities before they become the basis for a cyberattack.

When customers start using a solution pack, they are able to identify each existing vulnerability and act quickly to remedy the issue. Many of these vulnerabilities were previously undetected, even by leading info security tools. In one case, a customer found 988 vulnerable files across 64 different systems within an estate of 200 systems.

With accurate and specific data, IT directors can address the most urgent challenges that affect employees’ digital experiences — whether it’s related to something as serious as Log4j, or a more common day-to-day function that isn’t operating as it should.

Whatever the threat, estate-wide visibility is essential for reducing security vulnerabilities before they become the basis for a cyberattack. CIOs must lead their companies in a proactive, data-driven approach when preparing for unforeseen outcomes, such as security vulnerabilities or platform outages.

The need for accurate and precise data will continue to grow as entire industries transition their workforce to remote and hybrid working models. But with the right technology and data in hand, IT leaders can address issues before they impact the company’s overall operations.

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Ryan Purvis
Ryan Purvis
As Head of Solutions at Lakeside Software, Ryan is focused on helping Lakeside customers to solve complex problems and transform their businesses through the strategic application of our technology. In his 20+ year career, Ryan has led cross-functional teams in multiple roles, ranging from Chief Information Officer for HiLo Maritime Risk Management, to Director for Cyber Defence at UBS, and Engineering Lead for JP Morgan Chase. Ryan divides his time between the UK and South Africa.

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