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March 25, 2020
The growth of technology is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, technological breakthroughs allow us to achieve unimaginable things in the cybersecurity world, but on the other hand, the same technological innovations provide opportunities for fraudsters to access sensitive data. And unfortunately, falling victim to cyber fraud can lead to major financial losses, not to mention the loss of trust companies would suffer as a result of sensitive data breaches.
The reality is, penetrating security systems is not an implausible task. On the contrary, fraudsters have proven time and time again that they’re more than capable of breaching sensitive data and misusing stolen information, which can ultimately jeopardize a business’s reputation and financial stability.
So, the paradox is very clear - how can we stay one step ahead of fraudsters and those who wish to cause harm when the rise of technology both benefits us and at the same time provides upgraded means for hackers to use against us?
Cyber fraud, also known as cyber crime or Internet fraud, is a cyber attack that can be perpetrated in different ways which include inflicting software or hardware damage with the goal of stealing sensitive information for financial gain. Here’s how it may happen:
Identity theft: Cyber fraud usually comes in the form of identity theft, with the fraudster sending emails, text messages, or even making voice calls and presenting their identity falsely in order to trick the targeted person into disclosing sensitive information.
Malware: Cyber frauds also happen when fraudsters send trick emails that contain malicious links and attachments. Once the targeted individuals click on those links and download the attachment, they simultaneously download malicious software that is harmful to the computer.
Either way, cyber frauds are committed crimes by individuals or organizations that target specific sensitive data that they will use for financial gain or other forms of extortion. Such sensitive data may include bank account details, login credentials, business secrets, or any type of information that has a specific value to the fraudster.
Cyber frauds don’t target specific types of businesses or organizations. On the contrary, they cover a wide range of jurisdictions, and both small and large corporations are exposed to the same risk. Still, there are some types of organizations that are more commonly targeted by fraudsters than others, such as:
Industry and technology companies
Even though these types of organizations are highly sought after because of their financial value, it is generally assumed that fraudsters are known for targeting weaker, less-secure organizations in places or countries where cybersecurity systems are less developed and easy to circumvent.
As historical evidence suggests, the types of organizations labeled above have been increasingly victimized, but the cyber fraudsters usually pick targets depending on their level of cybersecurity. Naturally, attacking poorly protected targets is an easier bite to chew for fraudsters, so it comes as no surprise that organizations with low cybersecurity systems are getting the bigger end of cyber frauds.
The list of cyber frauds is far from exhaustive, but we stick to the ones that most commonly take place today. As a rule of thumb, the following cyber frauds are the ones that fraudsters usually rely on:
Malware: Malware, or malicious software, is a method of cyber fraud used by criminals to disrupt the regular flow of computer operations with the goal of accessing sensitive data. Malicious software is usually transferred to your computer via email by clicking a link, opening an attachment, or downloading specific software from a malicious source. Types of Malware include Trojans, Ransomware, or Crypto-mining.
Vishing: Vishing is the term used for Voice Phishing, and usually involves fraudsters impersonating police officials or bank officials to report that their account has been compromised. Fraudsters use advanced technology to convince people that the call is genuine by spoofing their own telephone numbers so that people actually think they’re calling from the official source.
Smishing: Smishing is similar to Vishing, with the only difference being that Smishing involves SMS text messaging fraud rather than voice call fraud. The same principle of cyber fraud is used here, with details regarding the phone number being spoofed so that it seems that the phone number comes from a legitimate source.
Phishing: Phishing typically involves a fraudster that poses as a legitimate source and sends emails and letters with the goal of tricking people into disclosing sensitive information. The emails usually contain a link that directs people to a fake website that requires you to share financial information. It is estimated that around $1.48 billion are lost on a yearly basis due to phishing attacks.
Furthermore, Phishing branches out into different subcategories, such as CEO impersonation and Invoice fraud. CEO fraud or business email compromise happens when the fraudster pretends to be a CEO of a company in order to encourage an employee to make a payment. Invoice fraud occurs when the fraudster notifies you that certain payment details have been changed and that you need to provide additional, alternative information.
Bear in mind that these fraudulent activities usually involve well-written, professional letters. This makes it increasingly difficult for victims to tell apart real from fraudulent emails. And, given that phishing attacks account for up to 90% of all data breaches, the severity of the problem is quite obvious.
The stats are certainly defeating, with more than 30% of all phishing emails being opened by targeted users and 12% of those opening the attachments. This means that fraudsters extract the log in credentials users enter when opening those attachments - thus completing the cyber fraud intent.
As we mentioned earlier, cyber crimes are rising in both density and frequency. The increase of cyber crimes seems to be advancing from year to year, and the statistics are truly mind-boggling:
Financial losses were up to $2.7 billion in 2018, compared to $800 million in 2014.
The total amount of cyber crime for each company reached $13 million in 2019.
Most security breaches were financially motivated (71%), while 25% of breaches were motivated by espionage.
29% of breaches involved the use of stolen credentials, while 32% were the result of a phishing attack.
All of these statistics are suggesting one thing, and one thing only - cyber frauds are on the rise. More and more cyber criminals are taking the advantage of poorly-protected businesses, and ruthlessly abusing sensitive data. In this regard, every organization must strategically bolster their cyber defense if they want to prevent cyber fraud.
The underlying problem is that, with cyber fraud, organizations must think and act in a preventive manner. That is because once a cyber fraud happens, there is not much left to recuperate, as the damage instilled to the organizations is vast and highly destructive.
So, in order to act preventively, organizations must apply the proper techniques and technological modules that are capable of proactively tackling cyber threats in an anticipative manner. One such technology that is recognized for its anticipative nature is SOAR.
SOAR, which stands for security orchestration automation and response, is a technology that was born of the problems that previous security technologies couldn’t overcome. In this regard, SOAR can help organizations acquire a much-needed countermeasure against cyber frauds in the following ways:
Faster detection and resolution of unknown threats: While security operations centers are equipped with the proper staff and technology to prevent cyber attacks, the problem is that dealing with a myriad of potential threats is exhausting, and analysts are left with the impossible task of treating each and every one of them properly. That is why SOAR relies on special AI-enhanced technologies and machine learning to evaluate real-time threats, utilize historical data to evaluate potential patterns, and isolate confirmed threats.
Resolving the false-positives-false-negatives problem: Analysts have to deal with a lot of alerts on a daily basis, and while some of them are real threats, most are false threats or false positives. That’s why, with SOAR, analysts won’t have to deal with each and every alert as the technology does the same for them. By using AI and machine learning, SOAR is able to distinguish real from false threats and is capable of eliminating cyber threats before they even become incidents.
Automating proper responses to cyber frauds: While other technologies like SIEM do track down potential alerts, they do very little to help with the remediation phase. That’s why SOAR uses automation to single-handedly detect cyber threats and apply proper remediation techniques that lead to the resolution of the problem without the need for human interaction.
SOAR frees more time to deal with actual threats: By dealing with cyber threats autonomously, analysts have more free time to detect and deal with real threats. This increases their chances of catching cyber fraud alerts before they materialize. And also, with the degree of automation being customizable, Analysts can determine in which phases of the security operations they wish to apply more human interaction, and which phases they want to be automated completely.
It is clear that with a SOAR solution, organizations have a much clearer perception of how they need to position and utilize their resources in an optimal manner. Via orchestration and automation, SOAR allows organizations to be wary of each and every alert and also respond to it in a proper and timely manner.
SOAR is a good fit for any type of organization. Due to its customizable nature, SOAR is a perfect solution that aligns with the characteristics of the organization seamlessly. As we mentioned above, analysts and security operations managers can determine the level of automation they want to include in their security operations. This allows them to strategically take advantage of the features of SOAR in accordance with the nature of their organization.
Furthermore, we at Sumo Logic take the customization of SOAR to a whole new level, as we send expert engineers to analyze the organizations that want to use our native Cloud SOAR, and later tailor the solution to respond to the needs of the organization in an optimal manner. And once SOAR is set and running, the chances of being able to anticipate, tackle, and resolve a cyber fraud will be much, much higher.
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