Emerging Paradigms in Endpoint Protection Platforms

Over the years, cybersecurity solution investments have witnessed colossal upsurge. Rampant ransomware attacks, online frauds and malware have prompted entities to beef up existing security apparatuses. In 2019, over 40% of all cyberattacks were directed towards small businesses, given their high vulnerability due to the presence of inadequate security systems.  

With the global cybercrime figures expected to reach US$ 6 trillion by 2021, companies have made cybersecurity solutions their top priority. Apprehensions abound that the incidence of cyberattacks, both from isolated hackers and organized cartels will record exponential growth. 

This article discusses future possibilities in endpoints protection platforms development in the wake of rapid technological advancements and the possible opportunities and challenges in store for the market in forthcoming years. 

Intense 5G Technology Explosion 

The global technology landscape is highly unique, in the sense that a massive revolution occurs at regular intervals, especially with respect to cellular network standards and broadband connections. One such buzzword for the upcoming decade is 5G or fifth generation wireless communication technology. 

While not expected to replace the existing 4G technology, 5G connectively is expected to usher in enhanced user experience, translating into faster speeds, higher data processing capacity and lower latency. Prolific advancements such as instant real-time interaction based hepatic feedback, remote surgeries and remote vehicle piloting are on the cards.

Although a welcome development, businesses apprehend numerous security challenges across the virtual landscape. Despite being endowed with unprecedented network speeds, the global 5G networks shall likely become primary targets for malevolent entities seeking to compromise sensitive data. Increased frequency of DDoS attacks would severely cripple real-time enterprise systems.

Taking cognizance of this, numerous endpoint security solutions providers are already assembling at the frontiers, offering robust threat intelligence solutions. A case in point is that of Palo Alto, which offers the world’s first native 5G security firewall solutions in the PA-7000 and PA-5200 NGFWs which include containerized solutions.

Compounding Ransomware Attacks

Heightened security vulnerabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic due to increasing digital footprint has amplified cyberattack incidences throughout the virtual landscape. Statistics report that two out of five cyberattacks in the third quarter of 2020 were ransomware attacks, with nearly 200 million attacks experienced worldwide.

While ransomware victims have been the receiving end of file encryption and operations paralysis, a significantly interesting trend which has emerged is that of data exfiltration, a comparatively new tactic adopted by attackers since the beginning of the current financial year. 

Data exfiltration attacks accounted for over half of all ransomware attacks. While the best way to prevent exfiltration attacks would be to prohibit downloading of suspicious applications, it is a significant challenge because such restrictions are not adequate enough. This is where endpoint protection platforms are likely to play a pivotal role. 

Tessian Limited’s Human Layer Security platform is making significant headway in tackling the data exfiltration menace, detecting human errors, one of the primary causes of exfiltration attacks, and prevents dangerous and anomalous activities. It does so through its stateful machine learning technology, turning an organization’s own data into a security mechanism.

Growing Vulnerabilities in Healthcare Industry

Public health has emerged as one of the most recent operational areas for potential cybercriminal organizations and entities, compromising millions of patients’ health data and exposing glaring security vulnerabilities.

According to a report published by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the primary attackers include the TrickBot and BazarLoader malwares. These attacks involved large-scale data exfiltrations, credential harvesting and cryptomining.  

Since early 2020, actors associated with the aforementioned malware triggered the deployment of multiple ransomwares, including Ryuk. These typically assume the shape of an e-mail linked to a Google Drive document in a PDF format. The ransomware mostly uses Cobalt Strike or PowerShell Empire to steal credentials.  

Realizing the debilitating impacts induced if such attacks become widespread, the abovementioned organizations have proposed a viable continuity program to keep businesses functioning. This is likely to expand scope for the entry of numerous endpoint protection platforms players in the global healthcare cybersecurity landscape. 

Aggrandising Demand for Mobile-based Solutions

As of today, global smartphone ownership has reached over 3 billion, which constitutes over 2/5th of global ownership. This has obviously led prominent manufacturers to equip their models with the latest antivirus and security solutions to protect user data from becoming compromised or stolen. 

Unfortunately, the intensity of mobile-directed ransomware attacks have kept pace with technological advancements in endpoint protection platforms development. Hackers have found multiple ways to circumvent the smartphone security perimeters, including developing convincingly deceptive downloadable applications.

Amongst all smartphones used, Android dictated over eight out of ten purchases in the global landscape. This has provided plenty of opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit the Google Play Store platform to initiate malicious attacks. For instance, Pro Selfie Beauty Camera and Pretty Beauty Camera were responsible for spreading spyware.

While at face value, these applications helped enhance camera functionality by modifying selfie photographs, in reality, they served as tools to aggressively display advertisements and also installed spyware capable of making, tapping and intercepting calls and also pin-pointing user location. 

To address mobile security concerns, CrowdStrike Holdings Inc. has developed the Falcon for Mobile Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) software, providing application shielding, kernel-based vulnerability detection and threat intelligence integration.

The Future Roadmap

It is evident that cybersecurity threats are intensifying their iron grip on the global virtual space. In spite of robust security frameworks in place, incidence of malware, ransomware and phishing attacks are inclining exponentially. Hence, company CEOs and other executive members will need to formulate security strategies based on customer needs.

While extensive technological leverage is evident, there is still a long road towards realizing actual success against potential cyberattacks. This is largely a result of inexperience while operating advanced security solutions. Primary focus, therefore, should be to educate employees on security software operations. 

Training and education of security personnel, IT administrators and the management is a top priority area. Programs offered by specialists such as Cybrary, Open Security Training, the Department of Homeland Security and SANS Institute’s Introduction to Cybersecurity are some highly recommended ones. 

With the digital revolution expected to outlast the current pandemic scenario, individuals and entities are preparing themselves for the new normal, with bulk of global businesses transitioning to the virtual landscape. Hence, adequate knowledge about endpoint cybersecurity protection platforms shall prove critical to ensure operational consistency. 

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