Just find out the vulnerable areas and people in the IT system, misuse them one by one and compromise the confidential information. That’s the modus operandi of cyber criminals to harm the entire IT community across the globe.
The cyber experts, however, on most occasions are a step ahead, which is why many possible cyber incidents are averted. The number of cyber attacks averted across the globe every year is almost thrice the number of cyber incidents that actually happen. It includes data breach, cyber espionage, unauthorized access, critical password compromise, insider/ third-party threats and more.
Who is responsible for cyber incidents?
Malicious insiders, suspicious third-party users, organized cyber criminal groups are majorly responsible for cyber incidents in any organization. Internal frauds and social engineering stem mainly from those people who are privy to confidential information.
Whoever is the reason, some sort of IT infrastructure vulnerability of the organization or maybe lackadaisical attitude from the workforce builds the base of this threat possibility. Identity management and governance is one of the major sources of data assets compromise.
So who is to be blamed for a cyber catastrophe? Definitely the organization itself, though apparently it appears to be the rogue intention of the cyber criminals. Statistically speaking, the post investigation of every incident reveals some sort of single/ multiple loophole(s) in the IT infrastructure that has (or have) driven the destruction. The most common and possible reasons behind cyber incidents include, especially identity related include:
- Unmonitored endpoints
- Absence of multi-level authentication
- Poor/ Improper password management
- Poor access control and management
- Absence of granular level monitoring
- Too many elevated/ privileged user accounts
- No regular reporting, audits and weak IT governance
- Loopholes in the IT security policy
Cause & Effect of Cyber Incidents
In 2018, one of the ex-employees of a USA-based multinational technology conglomerate inflicted malicious code in the organization’s cloud infrastructure that deleted more than 450 virtual machines used for testing several applications. As a result, almost 16,000 users could not access their accounts for more than two weeks. The organization had to cough up $ 1.4 million to audit their IT infrastructure and fix the damage. Not only that, they had to pay around $ 1 million to restitude the affected users. The investigation went for more than two years before the culprit was eventually put behind the bars. But what about the additional legal cost that the organization had to bear? What about the business prospects that were lost during the tenure? Practically, the loss is immeasurable!
There are numerous reasons behind unprecedented cyber incidents. On one hand, there are cyber crooks who always look for IT security vulnerabilities, poor access control mechanisms, non-compliance and on the other hand, there is urgency to adopt advanced technologies to survive the competition.
The extent of need varies from industry to industry and as per geographical expansion. Today, the proliferation of cloud computing, and other advanced technologies based on AL/ ML have enticed the malicious actors to search for new loopholes and to exploit their critical assets.
Any action leads to two types of effects – primary and secondary. Cyber incidents are no exception. While organizations strive to reinstate their business as soon as possible after an incident, there is immense pressure from the compliance, legal and cyber administration to assess the loss and thrust penalties upon them. Let us delve deep into the pattern of effects after an organization suffers a cyber attack:
|Types of Primary Effect||Types of Secondary Effect|
|Interruption in overall IT operations and subsequent business processes||Assessment of the loss caused by cyber incident|
|Loss of business-critical sensitive information||Loss of reputation, sometimes the faceloss is so severe that the victim is unable to recover it even after several years|
|Financial loss, sometimes such a huge amount that organizations slip down to bankruptcy||Reluctance of business partners to continue with the contracts or renew contracts; no question of finding new partners|
|Urgent setup of investigation committee and get in touch with cybercriminal cell||Non-Compliance penalties, that might go up to a few million dollars depending on the pattern of cyber crime|
|Higher Insurance Premiums|
|Organizations are forced to cost-cutting where the general workforce face the wrath of termination|
We have discussed the above-mentioned primary effects in our multiple blogs earlier. Let us find out the secondary after-effects of a cyber incident. Apart from the maligning of goodwill, losing of business partnerships, non-compliance penalties, there are positive repercussions as well. It helps to learn from the mistakes, and rectify the mistakes so that future incidents can be everted.
- The IT infrastructure audit after a cyber incident strengthens the security measures and sometimes there are even changes of roles in the workforce to ensure end-to-end security in daily operations is maintained.
- An unprecedented cyber incident in an organization compels the other organizations, especially the peers to re-evaluate their IT security practices and fix the vulnerabilities as soon as possible. Definitely it narrows down the scope for cyber criminals to inflict further similar damages immediately.
- Regulatory compliances turn more stringent and organizations as a result deploy robust security solutions like Identity and Access Management (IAM), Privileged Access Management (PAM), Endpoint Security Management and Security Compliance Management (SCM) to ensure comprehensive security. It eventually helps them to stay away from unwanted cyber incidents.
Risk Predictive IT security solutions are the need of the hour for modern organizations. And cyber incidents, help cyber experts to understand and analyze the threat patterns. Thus, the vulnerabilities of IT infrastructure can be addressed in a timely manner before any possible catastrophe.