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Taking a new approach to combating cyber threats

Zafirah Salim and Nurdianah Md Nur | March 10, 2015
Speakers at the Computerworld Security Summit 2015 in Singapore share tips for IT leaders to effectively secure their organisations based on risk assessment, user policies and asset management.

With regards to capacity building, Interpol is working towards ensuring that the police force keep pace with technological developments and have the required expertise and skills to deal with evolving digital crime at the national and international levels.

Interpol provides a range of training courses, targeted to the needs of participants, covering topics such as emerging trends in cybercrime, investigation techniques, digital forensics and more. Training takes the form of e-learning modules, classroom-based sessions and workshops and can lead to professional certification.

Summing up his presentation, Oberoi stressed that effective law enforcement cannot happen in isolation, which explains why Interpol is constantly building new partnerships with a diverse range of international organisations and the private sector to form a powerful force against crime.

Defending against insider threats

One of the live polls conducted at the summit revealed that only 35 percent of the attendees felt that the majority of their information security threats were mostly internal.

Colin Lee, regional sales manager from Varonis, pointed out that this finding correlated with the result from the Philippines edition of the summit, which was held in Manila last month.

He went on to describe three kinds of "threat" actors, classified according to their modus operandi. The first threat actor is called the 'turncloak', which refers to a legitimate user - such as an employee or contractor - that already has access to the enterprise network. Leveraging on this, these users abuse the network either "for fun or for profit", said Lee.

The second threat actor is the 'pawn'. Lee explained: "The pawn is like you and me - we are the good guys who don't do bad stuff. But the pawn typically makes a mistake and this mistake ends up getting exploited by someone else."

And lastly, unlike the 'turncloak' who is a legitimate insider gone rogue, the 'imposter' is an outsider who has acquired an insider's credentials. They are on the network posing as a legitimate employee, and their goal is to find information that their "host" has access to, and infiltrate it without being noticed.

Following this, Lee also shared six actionable tips to help mitigate insider threats:

1.      Eliminate global access - Locate groups like "Everyone and "Authenticated Users" and replace them with tighter security groups.

2.      Eliminate excessive permissions - According to a recent Varonis study conducted in conjunction with Ponemon Institute, four in five IT professionals say their organisations do not enforce a strict need-to-know data security model. This means that employees tend to have way more access than they actually need. To counter this, businesses can leverage machine learning, enable auto-expire temporary access, or conduct periodic review entitlements, said Lee. 


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