Cyber Warfare: The Weaponisation of IT and Why You Must Suit Up

November 19th, 2020

Do you want to know more about how The Cloud Collective can help protect your organisation from threats?

When our forefathers went to war on battlefields in the 1900s, it’s safe to assume no one could have anticipated that those fields would one day be virtual.

Sadly, this is where the IT industry has moved to, with the weaponisation of IT evolving as fast as technology shifts to meet modern ways of working, living, and buying goods and services.

Our highly connected and expansive online ecosystems are full of open doors for malicious entities, which seek to steal information for the sole purpose of manipulation.

At its height, cyber warfare can devastate entire economies. But every day, it destroys businesses and the lives of individuals who were unaware that a battlefield exists – let alone that they were about to step on a landmine.

They’re Organised, and They’re Coming For You

Today’s cyber threats are much more sophisticated than a single person pounding away at their keyboard hoping for a lucky break.

Organised syndicates invest huge amounts into the latest technologies, and attract cohorts of bright minds by offering hefty financial rewards for their efforts.

Cyber threats are generally categorised into tiers, based on the potential level of impact…

Tier 1: Military-based units operating in the dark web, which may seek to compromise public sector data for any number of nefarious reasons. They may also target high value sectors, such as finance and healthcare.

Tier 2: Organised crime groups, of which there are hundreds (if not thousands) across the globe. They use a range of tactics to steal data, and may request ransom payments or use the data as leverage for other manipulative purposes.

Tier 3: Individuals or small groups who dedicate their time to trying to penetrate organisations.

For entities in tiers 1 and 2, advances in technology are making their work easier every day. While organisations in the public and private sectors contemplate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities for their IT environments, cyber criminals are already using it to build super hacker “brains” capable of penetrating even the most secure networks.

The only thing that can stop them? Well organised battle-ready teams, integrated tools, accurate visibility across the board, and AI-driven security with the same level of maturity.

It’s Time to Suit Up and Fight Back

In the fight against cybercrime, business owners and IT teams must suit up with a robust defence strategy and a level of armour that matches their level of threat.

It’s not enough to believe your environment is secure – you must stress test it. To assume you know what the other side is capable of, or that your defence mechanisms are sound, is a risk in itself that can have disastrous consequences.

As the Cloud Collective’s specialist security partner, we at Quorum operate at the helm of cybersecurity, being the first in Australia to receive an Threat Protection Advanced Specialisation from Microsoft. This is why we have partnered with CyberGym: an innovative cyber security training organisation.

CyberGym’s literal gym-type set up offers a risk-free environment to test, train and tune IT teams and their processes to build strength and resilience.

Quorum’s analysts and security consultants use CyberGym to flex our own muscles, while facilitating the testing and tuning of our clients’ cyber environments to build capability and assurance.

Mike Cohen, Regional Managing Director for CyberGym, explains how it works.

“We create red and blue teams where one is the offensive and the other is the defensive. Then we provide a white team as the coach. Programs can be executed in a safe environment which helps teams and organisations build their cyber capability.

“Cyber warfare is predicated on global consumption where our security perimeter is so dynamic that it has become difficult to defend. Unless organisations are excelling across their people, processes, and technology, they cannot be truly effective.

“This means right-fit, integrated technology with tested, validated, and documented processes. It must always be improving too because the threat landscape changes constantly. CyberGym is purpose-built to assist with the crucial planning and continuous improvement stages of the cybersecurity journey.”

Matching Cyber Risk with Cyber Fitness

As threats grow in scale and complexity, defence fitness must keep pace.

Leaders and IT teams need to know:

  • What is the anatomy of a cyberattack?
  • What are they trying to acquire?
  • What gaps exist between our capability and the risk?

With executives held personally accountable for cybersecurity events and lack of response, it’s never been more crucial to pay cybersecurity the attention it deserves.

By understanding where the gaps in your security lie, you can start to make informed decisions on how to improve. As Mike from CyberGym has seen, the gaps may not even be tech related.

“It’s incredible how many times we see organisations with great teams, tools and processes. But on game day they fail, because people operate differently when they’re under pressure.

“You’re only as strong as your weakest link, and ignoring vulnerabilities allows risks to become realised. Proper cyber training involves much more than a talk on safely opening emails. We need to build in bulletproof systems, and then hold ourselves, our people, and our external stakeholders to the same standard of data security we expect from industry and government.”

Get Experts On Your Side

The best people to take into battle are the ones who know your opponent. They can help you strategise, develop, maintain, and manage your defences – so you can rest assured that you’ve done all you can to gain the upper hand.

Microsoft, the Cloud Collective, and CyberGym are a formidable trio that have dedicated countless hours to developing the ultimate cybersecurity solutions.

As a global leader, Microsoft invests heavily in cybersecurity R&D, and has incorporated the latest technologies into their platforms.

CyberGym keeps the Cloud Collective’s security specialists up-to-date with the latest security threats, and allows for comprehensive testing of client environments to ensure fit-for-purpose solutions that deliver results.

To get the trio on your side and start closing the gap between your organisation’s risk and capability, contact the Cloud Collective. To speak directly with a security specialist from Quorum, call (02) 8966 1400.