Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions globally, is warning organisations in Ireland of a 242% surge in cyberattacks when globally, the figure is 40% in 2021 compared to 2020. What can Irish companies do differently? Check Point Software says now is the time to adopt a prevent-first approach.
There have been several high-profile cyberattacks in Ireland this year alone. Most recently, the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) fell victim to an attempted attack, causing widespread disruption to students and staff. And while there are promising initiatives happening, such as the Cyber Ireland National Conference, the 242% increase in cybercrime is a stark reminder that there is still a long way to go.
Check Point’s Country Manager for Ireland, Hugh McGauran says, “Clearly, Irish companies are attractive to hackers right now. However, we can absolutely reduce the risk of unknown attacks by implementing a prevent-first approach. This essentially means moving away from detection and response only, and neutralising attacks and malwares prior to the execution stage. If you think of the kill chain, the first step that a malware will take is to try and propagate and move laterally across your network as soon as it’s executing. But, if you can prevent it from executing in the first place, then all the efforts to trace, contain and remediate that damage are dramatically reduced.
“This is something even more important now than ever due to the cyber skills gap we currently have here in Ireland. If you can reduce the burden and eliminate a lot of the noise, then you can allow your smaller teams to focus on the real threats. To bring this into the context of the pandemic, whether you agree or disagree with the decisions of government, it really was a prevent-first strategy. The first thing most governments did was to ask everyone to separate – work from home, don’t go out if you don’t need to.
“The vaccine rollout is another layer of prevention. If we were to go back and use a detection and response approach only, then it would have centred around handing out thermometers and testing everyone – which doesn’t prevent anything. That would definitely have had a very different impact in terms of the infection rate, the load on hospitals and ultimately, the mortality rate. So, in cybersecurity, yes detection is important but if you can prevent something, why wouldn’t you?”
Hugh’s five tips for Irish companies looking to adopt a prevent-first approach:
- Visibility: Know what is connected to your network.
- Use block/prevent mode on high fidelity signatures. Tune said signatures based on devices within each network segment being protected to reduce false positives.
- Automate threat detection and remediation.
- Put in place guardrails to ensure configurations are properly maintained.
- Train your staff to operate the technology properly and if that is not possible, work with a managed services partner to fill skill gaps.