How to protect organizations as cybersecurity concerns grow in the UK | HCLTech

How to protect organizations as cybersecurity concerns grow in the UK

The UK had the highest number of cybercrime victims per million internet users at 4,783 in 2022–up 40% since 2020
11 min read
Jaydeep Saha
Jaydeep Saha
Global Reporter, HCLTech
11 min read
How to protect organizations as cybersecurity concerns grow in the UK

After Morgan Advanced Materials reported a cyberattack on its network on January 10, sports and fashion retailer JD Sports Fashion reported another incident on January 30.

While the recent attack saw customer data relating to historical online orders compromised, a similar incident took place earlier in January when the BBC reported that highly confidential documents from 14 schools had been leaked online by hackers.

Cyberattacks on UK companies are becoming increasingly common. According to the UK government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022, 39% of businesses identified a cyberattack in the 12-month survey period.

How secure is moving to the cloud

Gartner predicts that by 2025, more than 95% of workloads will be deployed to the cloud.

Cybercrime especially on cloud services has become a global threat that’s constantly increasing in volume and complexity, as hackers—with easy access to new technologies—are attacking governments, corporates, critical infrastructure and applications and individuals.

Besides stealing information and remotely executing commands, cybercriminals themselves have been leveraging cloud technology to frequently spread malware.  This malware takes control of environments and abuses cloud services to deliver malicious documents and host malicious payloads on legitimate cloud platforms like MediaFire, Blogger and GitHub.

Ransomware groups extorted at least $457 million from victims last year down from $311 million in 2021 as victims denied paying the ransom amount. At the same time, global cyberattack cases continued to rise, rising by 38% in 2022.

Some interesting and alarming facts from 2022

  1. Cybercrime cost the UK economy an estimated £27 billion per annum
  2. 80.4% of UK organizations suffered from a successful attack
  3. 73% of UK organizations faced ransomware attacks in a year’s time
  4. 39% of UK businesses have experienced a cyber attack
  5. 83% of identified attacks on UK businesses was due to phishing
  6. 54% of UK businesses have acted to identify cyber security risks
  7. 43% of UK businesses were insured against cyberattacks
  8. 4.8% fraud in the UK was related to the Coronavirus
  9. 11.3% of UK IT budgets are spent on security
  10. 13% of UK organizations ended up paying ransom
  11. $1.08 million was the average cost of ransomware attacks in the UK
  12. 77% of UK organizations have cyber security insurance
  13. 6% of UK businesses had Cyber Essentials certification
  14. 1% have Cyber Essentials Plus certification
  15. 1.6% of spam originates in the UK

“Cyber-attacks and data breaches are one big challenge. Organizations need a better way to protect their sensitive data internally. Legacy security technologies focus on the location of the data (endpoint, server or network), whereas data-centric security identifies sensitive data and applies policy-based protection to secure that information throughout the data lifecycle, irrespective of its location,” says Andy Packham, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect in the Microsoft Ecosystem Unit at HCLTech.

In the UK, Statista mentioned that revenue in the public cloud market is projected to reach $20.03 billion this year and the market’s largest segment is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) with a projected market volume of $12.66 billion. The revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate of 9.72%, resulting in a market volume of $29.03 billion by 2027.

However, what’s alarming is that in 2021 a ransom attack occurred every 11 seconds in 2021 and research predicts that by 2031, organizations will face a new ransomware attack every two seconds, costing its victims around $265 billion annually.

In another report, Statista mentioned that the UK’s revenue in the cybersecurity market is projected to reach $10.36 billion this year with the market’s largest segment’s—security services—projected market volume to reach $6.12 billion. The revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate of 10.93%, resulting in a market volume of $15.69 billion by 2027.

What to expect this year

As the nature of cybercrime continues to evolve, attacks are becoming more lethal, untraceable and sophisticated. Experts fear attacks will move beyond data hacking and cause significant damage to critical infrastructure, ultimately putting people’s lives in danger.

1. Hospitals: Cyberattacks on hospitals are nothing new, but the intensity of attacks could rise with the increasing use of AI, IoT and IIoT tools that can be used to disrupt the functions of medical equipment, like a pace maker, while stealing patients’ information.

2. Supply chain: In the past three years there has been a 742% growth in software supply chain cyberattacks with experts already predicting more severe attacks in the year ahead on open-source and commercial software.

“Insights from data come from combining many sources, some of which may be critical to the success of the business but might be created and owned by an entirely different organization. So, as with challenges in the physical supply chain, enterprises should consider the risks and controls needed to establish a successful digital supply chain,” says Packham.

3. EVs: Among an Electric Vehicle’s vulnerabilities are its electronic control units (ECUs) and onboard diagnostics (OBD) port. Getting access to the former may give control to the EV’s powertrain, brakes and steering, which could cause accidents. Access to the latter may exploit the vehicle’s systems data and sensitive information. A bug in a data tool earlier allowed a teen to compromise 25 Tesla cars.

4. Electric grids: Attacks on electric grids are again not a new thing and have in the past been disrupting, especially the Ukraine power grid incident outage in April last year. With IoT devices being entry point to many such attacks, exploiting supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and industrial control systems (ICS)—that monitor and control the grid—can be really dangerous.

5. QR codes: QR codes need to be checked before scanning as there is a chance that it can be connected to a malicious website that can steal your credentials and your money without even giving a single hint about it.

Cloud Evolution: Make innovation a habit

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How organizations can become more resilient

After carefully studying the nature of cyberattacks, Forbes mentioned that attacks aren’t a single point of failure but a failure of the entire security system, referencing Microsoft’s recent analysis of the BlackCat ransomware.

It laid out three steps to a holistic security approach to counter new age cyberattacks that are increasingly exploiting the cloud.

1. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE): Using a single-pass cloud engine that can ingest all network flows, security teams can have complete visibility. Adding context to it, applying policies as well as virtual patches in real time can become much easier to manage and monitor security because everything is in one place.

HCLTech Fortius cybersecurity consulting group brings decades of subject matter expertise to fulfil this need. Recently, a Dutch global bioscience and wellness company needed to optimize efficiency with a one-stop-shop partner. HCLTech expertise across domains not only benefitted the company from unified control and total compliance based on BRiCS and SASE frameworks, but it also helped the partner to move toward a complete cloud environment, enhancing operational automation, network security, and process observability with AI/ML.

2. The cloud-first approach: With a focus on cloud security and a zero-trust security architecture, organizations can shield themselves from cyber threats and get a comprehensive risk assessment of the overall threat surface.

With many accolades, awards and recognition under its belt, the HCLTech CloudSMART approach is designed to maximize business value in alignment with enterprise needs, organizational goals, and unique circumstances.

The Cloud-Native Labs help enterprises stay resilient and gain speed, agility within a largely uncertain, volatile business ecosystem, while the multi-cloud and hybrid cloud services help clients take your business to the next level.

Pharmaceutical innovator Merck’s cloud transformation was delivered by applying HCLTech’s CloudSMART offerings designed for continuous modernization. 

3. Granular visibility: Visibility is imperative in securing an organization, enabling actionable, timely and reliable threat intelligence.

HCLTech VERITY framework enables organizations with a context-intelligent and proactive approach to achieve risk-based vulnerability prioritization for applications, helps enterprises better protect their applications and improve their Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC).

Organizations ultimately need a partner to help protect their data, employees, customers and citizens from cyberattacks. Data security and data privacy solutions can help enterprises control all aspects of security and privacy.

HCLTech Dynamic Cybersecurity Services, for example, helps organizations rethink, reimagine and reengineer enterprise security for a dynamic business, which stays on top of changing cyber-threats while proactively detecting, identifying and minimizing losses in case of a potential cyberattack.

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