Larger businesses must take steps to ensure their growing pools of contractors, mobile devices, and remote workers do not become an attack vector bad actors can exploit, according to a report on identity-related cyber threats.
The IDSA, a not-for-profit collective of cybersecurity vendors, surveyed 500 decision-makers across organizations with at least a thousand employees each, to find that 84% had suffered an identity-related breach in the past year. Of these, nearly all said they could have “minimized the breach by implementing identity-focused security outcomes.”
Likewise nearly all respondents said that the number of hackable entities within their organization was increasing, primarily driven by the increased uptake of cloud data storage facilities, third-party business relationships, and “machine identities” such as bots.
But while the overwhelming majority (97%) also said they would spend the next year focusing on identity-based cybersecurity, only half (51%) said they routinely revoked access to company networks for former employees within a day of their leaving. And 2% admitted to not removing access to certain network devices ever – meaning such companies could be left vulnerable to cyberattacks brokered by disgruntled ex-workers.
Chief among the identity-related breaches suffered by companies in the past year were phishing (59%), poorly managed access privileges (36%), stolen credentials (33%), and socially engineered passwords (27%).
“Managing the ecosystem of identities accessing enterprise resources has only gotten more complicated during the past several years,” said the IDSA report. “Between the increasing number of identities, the challenges posed by phishing attacks, and the continued growth of cloud adoption, enterprises are under pressure to ensure the army of remoteworkers, contractors, and employees accessing network resources are doing sosecurely and successfully.”
Stressing the cost of suffering an identity-related breach, IDSA added that 78% of company representatives who said they had done so had perceived a noticeable impact on their business as a result, with 44% citing the expense involved in recovery, and 35% loss of reputation. Loss of customers and revenue were also listed as knock-on effects of such cyberattacks, mentioned by 16% and 29% respectively.
The war in Ukraine and resultant fears of increased Russian cyberattacks appears to have galvanized some firms – just over a third said they had significantly increased their budgets for identity-related cybersecurity in the wake of the invasion.
“Even before the invasion, there were concerns that the Russian government could launch cyberattacks that would disrupt organizations in the region as well as critical infrastructure in Western countries that had issued sanctions against it,” said IDSA. “The conflict brought cybersecurity directly into focus for business leaders worried about the impact it could have on their operations.”
That said, more than half of decision-makers surveyed said their organization had made no plans to boost their budgets as a result of the Russian invasion.
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