October is Cybersecurity Month

by John Gallagher | Oct 5, 2021 8:09:38 PM

Viakoo is proud to be a Champion of this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a global effort recognized each October to promote the awareness of cyber safety and privacy. This initiative provides critical focus on the growing risk and costs of cyber incidents to both individuals and organizations. More than 2/3rd of the world’s population has internet access, giving cyber criminals a large playing field to take advantage of and a wide range of cyber vulnerabilities to attack with (including ones aimed at IoT devices). Awareness, education, best practices, and taking action are all critical to prevent cyber criminals from inflicting more harm and cost.

Each week in October will take focus on various parts of the cybersecurity landscape; including:
  • Week of October 4 (Week 1): Be Cyber Smart.
  • Week of October 11 (Week 2): Phight the Phish!
  • Week of October 18 (Week 3): Explore. Experience. Share.
  • Week of October 25 (Week 4): Cybersecurity First

Since this yearly initiative was launched in 2003 by the U.S. Government and the National Cybersecurity Alliance a lot has changed in cybersecurity (and continues to become exponentially worse):

  • There are >100x more known cyber vulnerabilities today than in 2003
  • The cost of cyber attacks has risen from $200B to an estimated $6T in 2021
  • Frequency of cyber attacks has risen from one every 7 minutes to one every 11 seconds
  • In 2003 there were almost no cyber incidents with IoT devices; today they are close to half

In particular, the growth of IoT devices across all types of organization has made these devices attractive for black hat hackers to breach organizations, steal data, plant malware, extort ransoms, and more recently inflict physical damage on individuals. In 2021 being Cyber Smart means addressing IoT vulnerabilties.  An unpatched cyber vulnerability in a Citrix VPN appliance lead to a ransomware attack that shut down a German hospital in September 2021, causing the death of a patient. In the past year in the U.S we’ve seen water treatment plants have dangerous levels of chemicals released, oil pipelines shut down, and manufacturing plants of various kinds under the control of cyber criminals. Also in the past year we’ve seen older forms of cyber attacks (such as man-in-the-middle attacks) come back to specifically target IoT devices because defenses against them for IT and mobile devices do not apply to IoT devices.

This October, being “Cyber Smart” means making sure IoT devices have a fast and efficient method of having cyber vulnerabilities remediated. Many teams struggle with this because of the nature of IoT; the devices lack standard operating systems, are distributed broadly within an organization, are managed by functional lines of business instead of IT, and are designed to perform their critical tasks without human interaction. To put it bluntly, most organizations deploy IoT devices with a “set it and forget it” mentality. While that can be viewed as a positive in some ways, it is the worst possible situation for managing cyber vulnerabilities. No wonder cyber criminals are focusing more on using IoT devices for planting ransomware and breaching corporate networks – it’s the easy route.

As the leader in IoT vulnerability remediation Viakoo can help you to be more Cyber Smart when it comes to reducing the attack surface from IoT devices:

While it is true to say that at Viakoo every month is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we hope this October gives you the information and motivation to take action on stopping cyber criminals, and to be Cyber Smart about IoT. IoT devices are the fastest growing attack surface, and Viakoo is here to help you quickly and easily remediate those vulnerabilities.

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