SecurityBrief Australia logo
Australia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

WannaCry shines spotlight on data privacy and compliance regulations

Thu 25 May 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Businesses with compliance regulations, data privacy laws and security mandates often admit that these responsibilities can add considerable cycles to their business-as-usual functions. Yet in the wake of the WannaCry/WannaCrypt outbreak, businesses following a comprehensive or mature regulatory data-security policy may be thinking differently.

A ransomware attack such as WannaCry aims to take data or systems hostage. When ransomed endpoints are also governed by data privacy and security mandates, the victim can face multiple consequences associated with the infringement of data or systems. They may be held accountable for the protection of that data under one of many data privacy policies.

In the case of a ransomware attack, the liability and consequences to victims can often stretch far beyond the results of lost data. There have been accounts where critical data has been held hostage, copied, or stolen during an attack and the data custodians faced addition substantial penalties.

However, the implications of increased accountability brought on by data security regulations have an upside for businesses facing exploits such as WannaCry. A company following a comprehensive data security mandate or security program will most often be better prepared to deal with such exploits. They are often already employing many of the common security controls necessary to ensure compliance with their regulatory responsibilities for keeping data safe. 

These businesses must be ready to prove, under audit, that the controls protecting their data are in place, functional and auditable. They must be able to inspect the strength and effectiveness of their data security controls at all times.

Numerous data security and regulatory baselines throughout the globe can help to illustrate the blueprint for data security implementation. Most, if not all, have sections that help businesses to close data security gaps often found within the enterprise.

Common sections that deal explicitly with mitigating security vulnerabilities that can lead to a successful attack (such as the vulnerability exploited by WannaCry), will almost always be included. There are many great baselines and standards to choose from that cover a multitude of industry segments.

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework and the NIST 800-53, both contain sections that help to identify and mitigate security vulnerabilities. The Australian Signals Directorate Essential Eight and 35 mitigating strategies also apply considerable emphasis on ensuring priority patching to all operating systems.  Patching makes up a large share of the essential steps in mitigating strategies.

Finally, the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) has specific requirements dedicated directly to mitigating operating system and application vulnerabilities from the scope of the enterprise. Requirements 6.1 and 6.2 of PCI DSS place importance on categorising, prioritising and patching security vulnerabilities across in-scope assets.

More importantly, it also requires the implementation of compensating controls when the original control cannot be applied - an alternate security control that takes the place of protecting the in-scope asset when the original control cannot be applied for business or technical reasons. 

When security patches can no longer be acquired for an asset, it may become vulnerable to exploit if no other measure is applied.  In the case of WannaCry, some exploits targeted a vulnerability on the Windows family that was no longer supported.

All these frameworks and standards follow a common path when implementing data security. They tend to focus implementation maturity on the phases aligned with a standard attack - sometimes referred to as the cyber kill chain.

Carbon Black uses that same set of steps to help organisations measure the posture of their data security controls.  Our security framework is positioned to offer both exceptional security protection as well as auditable proof of continuous compliance regarding the data controls that must be inspected. 

Step 1. Confirm your assets.  Ensure that you understand the full scope of your system assets, which ones are subject to your data policy and which assets could contain critical data. Understand what it is you need to protect and how that asset and its data may be changing. There are solutions to provide clarity on your endpoint assets in order that you may determine how you will protect them.

Step 2. Protect data integrity.  Now you know what you have and where it is, ensure that you know what mechanisms to put in place to protect the integrity of that data. Advanced data security solutions will help you to understand and control change, and adhere to how change should be occurring to your critical data.

Step 3. Monitor infrastructure against your policy.  By defining the policy to measure data security, you will be better prepared to eliminate the noise often associated with the modern enterprise. Selected data security solutions’ policy adherence, monitoring and event prioritisation will help to collect and measure events and make decisions on actionable intelligence.

Step 4.  Mitigate threats.  With an organised and smaller subset of scope, businesses can now focus on implementing threat protection, detection and remediation.  Leading solutions will provide compensating controls and security-in-depth via application control when original controls are unavailable (i.e. no security patches available for unsupported OS or applications).

Step 5.  Prove enforcement of compliance and security policy. This is the step most often missed. A data security policy works only work if you can prove that you are applying the controls. Policy enforcement and regulatory data is standard intelligence required to ensure you are up to the challenge of protecting assets against attacks such as WannaCry. Unless you can prove that your security controls are active and effective, then you can never be too sure of the outcome in the event of an attack.

By taking these small steps to incorporate data security regulatory policies with security mechanisms, hopefully businesses will be in a better position when dealing with the next wave of exploits - and be able to eliminate the threats altogether.

These measures help us to deal with current threats as well as future ones, and move from a reactive stance to a proactive stance, aligned with a data-security policy or regulation that will help us stop the attack before it even has a chance to happen.

Article by Christopher Strand, Carbon Black.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Adatree, Brother, Databricks, Nutanix & Rubrik
We round up all job appointments from May 20-26, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cybersecurity
4/10 Australian SMEs fallen victim to cyber-attacks since pandemic
Almost four out of teb SMEs in Australia have fallen victim to cyber-attacks since the pandemic began, according to a new study.
Story image
Transport
Third-party automotive apps bear significant privacy risks
Mobile applications for connected cars provide various features to make life easier for motorists, but they can also be a source of risk.
Story image
Malware
Fortinet introduces self-learning AI in latest offering
Fortinet is introducing self-learning AI capabilities in its new network detection and response offering, FortiNDR.
Story image
Malware
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
Surveillance
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Noname Security partners with Netpoleon to target API issues
Specialist API security firm Noname Security has appointed Netpoleon as its distributor in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Ponemon Institute
Email revealed to be riskiest channel for data loss
More than half (60%) of organisations experienced data loss or exfiltration caused by an employee mistake on email in the last 12 months.
Story image
ChildFund
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
Employment
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Accenture - a collective security approach a driving factor for cyber resilience
With the approaching Davos World Economic Forum upon us, it is even more imperative to discuss the impact of cybersecurity on business operations leading into the future.
Story image
Data Protection
Information management capabilities to meet privacy requirements
Organisations with customers or operations across more than one country face a spate of new and proposed privacy and data protection laws.
Story image
Ransomware
APAC ranks third-highest region targeted by ransomware
Asia Pacific has ranked the third-highest region globally to be targeted by ransomware, according to cybersecurity firm Group-IB.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Comcast to use ThreatQuotient for cybersecurity operations
Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal and SKY Group, has chosen ThreatQ Platform and ThreatQ Investigations to meet their cybersecurity needs.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Ransomware
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Story image
New Relic
New Relic launches vulnerability management platform
New Relic has introduced New Relic Vulnerability Management to help organisations find and address security risks faster and with greater precision.
Story image
Remote Working
Australia’s remote workers face connectivity and security issues
SOTI's new report finds better video conferencing technology and improved security measures are top concerns for remote workers in Australia.
Story image
Cybersecurity
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
Training
Trojan cyber attacks hitting SMBs harder than ever - Kaspersky
In 2022 the number of Trojan-PSW detections increased by almost a quarter compared to the same period in 2021 to reach 4,003,323.
Story image
Malware
'Alarming' rise in ransomware threats - Verizon report
As criminals look to leverage increasingly sophisticated forms of malware, it is ransomware that continues to prove particularly successful.
Story image
Microsoft
Elevation of Privilege the top 2021 Microsoft vulnerability
BeyondTrust has released its 2022 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report, finding that Elevation of Privilege is the top vulnerability category for the second consecutive year.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Devastating cyber attacks expected to hit energy sector
Energy executives anticipate life, property, and environment-compromising cyber attacks on the sector within the next two years.
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
Phishing
Vishing attacks reach all time high - Agari and PhishLabs
"Hybrid vishing campaigns continue to generate stunning numbers, representing 26.1% of total share in volume so far in 2022."
Story image
Migration
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Cybersecurity
What every CISO must answer to enable a best-in-class security operations program
It has been widely reported recently that South Australian government employees have been the victims of a cyberattack.
Story image
Phishing
MailGuard warns of new scam targeting Telstra customers
Telstra customers in Australia are being warned of a new scam involving "Unsuccessful Payment" messages.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner reveals top three tech trends for banks this year
Gartner says generative artificial intelligence, autonomic systems and privacy-enhancing computation are gaining traction in banking and investment services.
Story image
Managed service provider
Barracuda MSP Day 2022 highlights MSP opportunities
Barracuda Networks has released a report showing global services-related MSP revenue is set to increase by more than a third in 2022 compared to 2021.
Story image
VPN
The most common online scams in Australia
No one is safe from online scammers, and many of these scammers have capitalised on the pandemic, using this confusing time to attack more people than ever.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Asia Pacific plagued by sophisticated bad bots - report
The three most common bot attacks were account takeover, content or price scraping, and scalping to obtain limited-availability items.
Story image
Check Point
Check Point and CCTV expert join forces to boost protection
The partnership will involve Check Point Quantum IoT Protect Nano Agent being embedded in Provision-ISR’s CCTV cameras for on-device runtime protection.
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
The post-pandemic workforce requires secure IAM capabilities
HID Global discusses what identity and access management means for organisations in today's convoluted digital world.
Story image
Microsoft
Global cybersecurity insurance market worth $11.5b this year
Future Market Insights finds the cybersecurity insurance market is expected to reach USD$11.5 billion in 2022, growing to $61.2 billion in 10 years.
Story image
Ransomware
Employees on the frontline of cyber defense - report
In the first quarter of 2022, employees found themselves more than ever at the frontline of cyber defense, according to a new report from Kroll. 
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Story image
Phishing
WhatsApp and QR codes the next scam threat - report
KnowBe4 has warned it expects to see an increase in QR Codes and the WhatsApp chat platform being used for phishing and other scams. 
Story image
Ransomware
APAC organisations fail to disclose ransomware breaches
85% of organisations in APAC were breached by ransomware at least once in the past five years, but only 28% publicly disclosed the incident.
Story image
Kubernetes
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.