Governments continue to remain vulnerable to cyber attacks, with internal agencies standing tall as attractive targets for malicious hackers and criminals.
As such, governments must learn from past events to harden networks and reduce the risk of successful cyber attacks - creating a role for channel partners to drive a new wave of security conversations.
“Governments should use 2016 to course-correct by using recognisable patterns and paying greater attention to best practices to make sure defence strategies are agile,” says Pamela Warren, director, Government and Industry Initiatives, Palo Alto Networks.
Each year, Palo Alto Networks assesses application usage and threats seen through customer networks, analysing larger attacks against government networks.
With reference to 2015 specifically, Warren says that Software-as-a-Service is “everywhere” and as a result, can be used as an attack vector.
In addition, remote access application usage is growing, giving attackers easier access to networks while the weaponisation of local, regional, or international events at speed is also increasing.
“Attackers continue to target partners, contractors, and other with ‘outside-in’ access to networks macros have reappeared as attack methods,” Warren adds.
“Government agencies and critical national infrastructure are repeated targets.
“Using the cyber attack lifecycle as a guide, attackers often used either an exploit to a well-known vulnerability or malware in spear-phishing campaigns to establish their initial beachhead.”
To protect themselves, partners must advise governments on the need to be proactive and agile, while understanding cyber ranks and processes.
Citing a need to demand accountability, Warren says governments must test and evaluate to ensure teams are working together to address cyber security, gaining visibility into what applications are running in the network, who is using them, and why.
As partners can explain, Warren believes governments must account for the entire cyber attack lifecycle, integrating network security controls to improve threat prevention and reduce response time.
“Threat prevention is possible but too often we see organisations doomed to repeat the same mistakes,” Warren adds.
“If government agencies can learn from the security events of the past, then they can harden themselves against future attacks.”