In today's ever-changing digital environment, the persistent threat of cyber incidents looms large for organizations, irrespective of their size or industry. The concern isn't just the severity of these cyber events, but also their escalating occurrence. As such, gauging the frequency of cyber incidents is a cornerstone of a well-rounded cybersecurity strategy.
How to Estimate Cyber Event Likelihood:
1. Analyzing Past Incidents
Reviewing your organization's historical cyber incidents can offer invaluable insights into the frequency and types of attacks you've faced. While past data can guide future predictions, it's crucial to note that the absence of a past incident doesn't guarantee future safety.
2. Leveraging Threat Intelligence for Enhanced Cybersecurity
The utilization of external threat intelligence is instrumental in deepening your grasp of the cyber risks that are particularly relevant to your industry, as well as the broader digital environment. Various authoritative sources offer invaluable insights into emerging threats, vulnerabilities, and best practices. These sources include but are not limited to:
Verizon's Data Breach Investigations Report
This annual report provides an in-depth analysis of data breaches across various industries. It offers valuable insights into the types of attacks that are most common in each sector, helping organizations tailor their cybersecurity strategies accordingly.
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Reports
CISA, a U.S. federal agency, regularly publishes reports and bulletins that provide timely information on current threats, vulnerabilities, and mitigations. These reports are particularly useful for organizations that are part of the nation's critical infrastructure.
Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report
Symantec's report is a comprehensive source of global cybersecurity trends, providing data and commentary on everything from malware and phishing attacks to targeted attacks and emerging threats.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Publications
NIST offers a range of publications that set the standards for cybersecurity practices. These documents are particularly useful for organizations looking to align their cybersecurity measures with recognized best practices.
By integrating insights from these and other reputable sources into your cybersecurity strategy, you can achieve a more holistic understanding of the risks you face and how best to mitigate them.
3. Industry-Specific Trends
Monitoring trends within your industry can offer additional context. For example, financial institutions are often targeted for monetary gains, whereas healthcare organizations are more susceptible to ransomware attacks due to the sensitive nature of their data.
FS-ISAC Annual Cybersecurity Report
PwC Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey Financial Sector
HealthITSecurity Healthcare Cybersecurity Report
Kaspersky Healthcare Cybersecurity Trends
Deloitte Corporate Cybersecurity Report
FireEye Enterprise Security Report
EDUCAUSE Higher Education Cybersecurity Report
SANS Institute School Cybersecurity Report
Trustwave Global Security Report Retail Sector
Kaspersky Retail Cybersecurity Trends
Symantec Hospitality Cybersecurity Report
Hotel Management Cybersecurity Best Practices
Energy & Utilities
ICS-CERT Annual Report Energy Sector
SANS Institute Utilities Cybersecurity Report
Government & Public Sector
CISA Cybersecurity Report Government Sector
NCSC Public Sector Annual Review
NIST Manufacturing Cybersecurity Guidelines
Deloitte Industry 4.0 Cybersecurity Report
Transportation & Logistics
FMCSA Cybersecurity Guidelines
SANS Institute Transportation Cybersecurity Whitepaper
Media & Entertainment
MPA Cybersecurity Best Practices
PwC Media Cybersecurity Survey
You can search for these titles in your preferred search engine to find the reports. Some may be freely available, while others might require registration or a subscription.
These sources often provide detailed statistics and insights into the frequency and types of cyberattacks experienced by various industries, which can give you a more accurate understanding of the likelihood of such incidents.
The cyber threat landscape is ever-changing, and each industry has its own set of unique vulnerabilities. Below are some of the emerging trends in cyber threats by industry, along with references for further information:
Understanding these trends can help organizations in these industries better prepare for, and defend against, the evolving landscape of cyber threats.
Evaluating Likelihood Based Other Factors:
Threat Types and Likelihood
Social Engineering Attacks:
Very Likely: Routine phishing attacks.
Likely: Spear phishing aimed at specific staff.
Unlikely: Whaling attacks on senior executives.
Very Unlikely: Highly intricate social engineering schemes.
Very Likely: Prevalent but preventable viruses.
Likely: Ransomware, particularly if peers have been targeted.
Unlikely: Zero-day malware.
Very Unlikely: Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) targeting your organization.
Very Likely: Brute-force attacks exploiting weak passwords.
Likely: Man-in-the-middle attacks on insecure networks.
Unlikely: Resource-intensive DDoS attacks.
Very Unlikely: Cyber-attacks sponsored by nation-states.
Very Likely: Accidental data leaks due to configuration errors.
Likely: Data breaches via third-party vendors.
Unlikely: Insider threats from trusted employees.
Very Unlikely: Complex breaches involving multiple security layers.
User Interaction and Likelihood
Very Likely: Exploits requiring no user interaction.
Likely: Minimal user interaction, like clicking a link.
Unlikely: Multi-step user interaction, such as downloading and executing a file.
Very Unlikely: Highly complex and improbable user interactions.
Network Exposure and Likelihood
Very Likely: Fully exposed systems lacking adequate security.
Likely: Exposed systems with basic security measures.
Unlikely: Partially exposed systems with some security.
Very Unlikely: Systems not exposed to the internet.
4. Consulting Cybersecurity Specialists
Engaging with cybersecurity experts can offer a fresh perspective, identify overlooked vulnerabilities, and provide advice on emerging threats.
In summary, estimating the frequency of cyber events is a nuanced task that demands a multi-pronged approach. While it's impossible to entirely negate cyber risks, understanding the likelihood of various threats enables organizations to allocate resources wisely, prioritize defenses, and bolster their cybersecurity stance.