Page 15 - GCN, Feb/Mar 2018
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                                 ADAPTIVE RESPONSE
   Government agencies have become prime targets. Cyberattacks on agencies doubled from 7 percent in 2015 to 14 percent in 2016, according to the “2017 Global Threat Intelligence Report” from Dimension Data. That dramatic increase puts the government
on the same level as  nancial institutions as the most frequently attacked sectors.
Agencies need to anticipate and take a more proactive approach to defending themselves against the myriad cyberthreats showing up at their doors — or network endpoints. Security solutions and protocols that once proved e ective are no longer su cient. Now more than ever, threats are a moving target, and what was once predictable is now elusive.
To defend against the  uid and constantly evolving range of cyberattacks they face today, agencies need to follow adaptive cybersecurity strategies.
Modernize and adapt
Agencies already under the gun to modernize IT infrastructures can put  exible and responsive security solutions and protocols at the top of the list. Becoming more adaptive, agile and responsive to a changing threat matrix can help agencies as they expand their technology footprint by adding virtual machines, software-de ned networks, cloud-based services and more mobile devices.
As agencies add those advanced technologies, they can inadvertently expand their attack surface. While updating their IT
Agencies in the crosshairs
More than
29 million records
were exposed in
858 publicized data breaches...
...globally and across all sectors, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s “Data Breach Report.” Government agencies are among the most targeted by cyberattackers, followed by  nancial institutions, health care and education.
infrastructure, even if part of that involves new security solutions and protocols, many agencies end up with a piecemeal, fragmented approach that can lead to gaps in the infrastructure through which attacks can permeate.
An adaptive,  exible and comprehensive strategy can help agencies automate the process of extracting and combining security insights from a variety of sources to respond to threats more quickly and e ectively. When properly analyzed, threat intelligence can be a key component fueling an adaptive security strategy.
Half of the organizations that participated in PwC’s 2017 Global State of Information Security Survey said they are using advanced data analytics and machine learning to model and identify threats, detect fraud, and increase application security. The overall goal is to enhance the security posture within
the agency and establish a  exible and responsive security infrastructure that can rapidly adapt to evolving threats.
Cyberattacks represent the fastest growing category of crime in the U.S. The attacks are dramatically increasing in scope, level of sophistication and the cost to fully recover from an incident, according to the “O cial 2017 Annual Cybercrime Report”
by Cybersecurity Ventures. Therefore, advanced cybersecurity solutions and strategies must be adaptable and fully capable of defending against threats that will only grow more pernicious
and damaging.
Help from GSA
The General Services Administration recently added four special item numbers for Highly Adaptive Cybersecurity Services to its IT Schedule 70. The goals are to provide agencies with easy access to critical support services and help agencies test high-priority IT systems, rapidly address potential vulnerabilities and prevent attackers from gaining access to agency networks or mitigate the damage if they do gain access. The services focus on:
Penetration testing to identify methods for circumventing the security features of applications or networks.
Incident response services to help agencies that have suffered a breach determine the extent of the incident, clear the attacker from their systems and restore their networks.
Cyber hunt activities to respond to urgent situations and mitigate imminent threats.
Risk and vulnerability assessments, including network mapping, vulnerability scanning and penetration testing as well as phishing, wireless, web application, operating system security and database assessments.
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