The digital age has made our lives more convenient than ever. From work to shopping to meeting our daily needs, online applications are a timely answer to access everything. Online stores have supplanted brick-and-mortar stores as the powerhouse of digital disruptions has moved from brick-and-mortar stores to home shopping. Meetings done physically have turned to online interfaces, and geographical limitations are now irrelevant when work assignments can be performed anywhere in the world. Behind all this ease is a sophisticated digital architecture at play. The critical user data is shared with the web servers to process user requests further. As per reports, about $6 trillion was globally lost to cyber incidents in 2022, and about 33 billion accounts were breached in 2023’s first month alone. In modern times, when cyber incidents are increasing, it is pivotal for any digital service provider to build digital reliance to perfection and ensure cyber resilience and trust amongst its users.
In their recent report, “Reining in Ransomware – Investigative Cybercrime Series,” Arete has deeply analysed the-ground evidence collected while responding to nearly 1,500 ransomware events exceeding $1 billion in ransom demands. Let’s look at how to build cyber resilience and trust while providing a safe online community for everyone.
Digital space has become complex and crowded
With the swift propulsion of internet usage since the pandemic and several daily functions being shifted to digital modality, the internet architecture is also evolving to sophistication at the same pace. Digital progress today is measured in terms of its usefulness, and for it to strive, the processes are systematically becoming more complex. The goal is to ensure everyone gets a seamless experience on the web while accommodating as many users as possible.
The Internet holds sensitive and extensive user information
From our health records to bank accounts to our likes and dislikes, the Internet today holds our critical information about its users sealed deep inside. This is known as the deep web, wherein data is retained yet is not visible to the everyday user or unauthorised cyber actors. It exists on the Internet yet is password protected and can only be accessed through legitimate authorisations. For instance, the data on social media profiles or your bank account statements. Such scenarios make it vital for digital service organisations to build digital resilience against untoward happenings in the digital landscape.
When massive user data is stolen from web servers, it is sold on the black market, the dark web. However, a new phenomenon has emerged. Herein, rather than stealing information, the threat actors lock the organisation’s databases using malware and incapacitate the organisations from accessing the same. To gain back access, the organisations are asked to pay the ransom. One such attack on healthcare was recently seen in India when India’s premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) witnessed its patient records and critical databases being locked by ransomware.
The Internet is accessed through a wide array of devices
The Internet and its applications have become so vast that its usage is not limited to bulky computers. Still, it is accessed through smartphones, tablets, digital watches, smart televisions, and even smart speakers. While not all devices are on the same security levels, it becomes the responsibility and liability of the service providers to ensure that the connection between their users and their devices is secure using sophisticatedly advanced security systems and software.
The rapid evolution of the Internet
The current technology will soon become obsolete. We are moving at an unprecedented pace in technological development. What software or hardware we use now becomes old in months. To curb this, the manufacturers and developers either develop frequent software patches or launch new products and solicit us to upgrade. In such a rapidly evolving digital landscape, ensuring correct and timely security patches is necessary to build cyber resilience and trust amongst users.
For the digital ecosystem to be functional, security and data stringency has to follow suit accordingly. A complex architecture must run on something other than flimsy methods and processes of the past. The smallest of devices, like our smartwatches, carry critical information about our health, and a user cannot risk losing it in the wrong hands of threat actors.
Data in the modern world is even more expensive than gold. Therefore, the virtual security vaults need to be resilient enough to build security parameters around all entry and exit points in the digital space. Cyber resilience is the only way to progress in the evolving digital landscape.
(This article is written by Sandeep Peshkar, SVP of Arete. The views expressed in this article are of the author)