It’s official. COVID-19, more commonly known as the Coronavirus, has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) with hundreds of thousands of cases worldwide. In the United States, restrictions are ramping up as case numbers soar — New York governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered all nonessential workers to stay home, and my own state’s governor Mike DeWine has issued a statewide shelter-in-place order.
Along with disruptions to daily life, the expanding impact of COVID-19 has forced businesses to rapidly pivot and adopt remote-work models — even if they have no experience with mobile connections and on-demand collaboration. The result is a surge in remote everything, from team chats to primary school education to project management and even healthcare delivery. See my previous blog on our customer commitment during the age of Coronavirus.
And while efforts to bridge the digital divide are having a positive impact for both workplace productivity and the mental health of those in isolation, there’s a potential pitfall: Cybersecurity. As noted by CNBC, there’s already been a significant uptick in scam and phishing emails — but what happens if malicious actors breach critical apps and services?
At PreEmptive, we’re closely following the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, and our thoughts are with those affected and their families during this difficult time.
We are taking precautionary steps to continue normal operations without affecting our customers. At the same time, ensuring the health and safety of our customers, partners, and employees is our highest priority.
We have provided application protection software to the world's top organizations for more than 20 years. Although, this case is somewhat unique, it is not the first time we have been confronted with economic disruptions and uncertainties. Prior critical lessons have helped shape us into the company we are today: a robust organization with layers of contingency plans in place, a strong balance sheet, and an experienced team that values long-term relationships with our customers and partners above all else.
Evolving Hazards, Emerging Hope and the Expanding Human Element
The theme at the RSA conference this year is the “Human Element” — the critical role of individuals in the efficacy of organizational security measures. Along with sessions about the hazards of IT complexity and the hope of ethical AI, the expanding impact of COVID-19 concerns offered a real-world example of human elements at work, highlighting how IT staff can both help — and hamper — the effectiveness of infosec efforts.
Here’s a look back on some of my biggest takeaways from RSA 2020.
Unlike Y2K, 2020 was not preceded by waves of doomsday predictions, hype and frenetic IT overhauls. Developers are still under pressure to produce more, in less time, and at a lower cost, enterprises are as committed to their love/hate relationship with software as ever, and app users still expect perfection.
…but don’t let the usual crush of work and expectations lull you into a sense that it’s just the same old sprint to the next development project. Recent enforcement precedents, regulatory milestones and standards updates strongly suggest that 2020 app development and app security requirements will be anything but “business as usual.”
Malicious actors — like any thieves — live by a simple rule: If the front door is locked, break the window.
It’s why threats like fileless malware and crypto-jacking have seen substantial gains over last few years. It’s why — despite increasing employee education and IT training — hackers are still hooking phish by developing more sophisticated and authentic-looking email spoofs. Cybercriminal communities, meanwhile, continue to grow on the dark web, allowing attackers to share info, purchase exploit kits and identify potential targets.
What does this mean for CISOs? That typical defense efforts are being outpaced as familiar attack vectors are replaced with non-traditional threats. But it’s not all bad news; here are three questions every CISO needs to ask to help close the doors, bolt the windows and leave hackers out in the cold.
Gabriel, you have been in the security industry for over 2 decades. You have seen many different tools and services. Why create a company around something as specific as obfuscation and in-app protection?
Our customers build a lot of really innovative apps that enable their users and customers to do new and cool things. These apps frequently run on untrusted client computers/devices and they control access to customer’s sensitive data or critical devices.
And after all the effort of designing, building, debugging, and deploying their applications, the last thing they want is for an attacker to steal their work or use it to look for vulnerabilities to break into their system.
Gartner calls In-App Protection “crucial” in their July 2019 Market Guide for In-App Protection. The guide’s summary advises security and risk management leaders to “take due care in protecting their application clients” in order to avoid “security failure.”
This raises the question – what constitutes “due care?” Obviously, no development organization looks to recklessly expose their applications or sensitive data to attack or compromise. On the other hand, over-engineered (or poorly engineered) security controls can quickly lead to excessive development costs, performance and quality issues, and, ultimately, unacceptable user experiences. While terms and terminology may vary, there is broad consensus on how to best define “due care” for any given application/user scenario.