In today's digital age, businesses find themselves navigating an ever-evolving sea of cyber threats. From ransomware campaigns to sophisticated phishing schemes, the dangers are mounting. While these threats are pervasive, the government's role has become more than just a regulatory one. They have started to move towards a proactive stance, involving the creation of cybersecurity task forces and alliances with private sectors, symbolizing a commitment to safeguarding the nation's digital infrastructure. In this months article, we are going to explore how these work and find out where these governing agencies help and where it is our responsibility for our safety.
Historically, the government has really only been involved in the development and publication of standards and guidelines for cybersecurity. Take NIST – the National Institute of Standards and Technology –as an example. This publication body brings together some of the industries brightest professionals in order to make cohesive and useful guidelines for businesses to create their cybersecuirty program around. Where this becomes interesting is that now the government is not merely setting guidelines but is now leading the cybersecurity charge. Responding to the myriad of threats, agencies are crafting decisive action plans, disseminating vital alerts, and endorsing the development of cutting-edge cyber defense technologies. This proactive approach echoes the sentiment outlined in their publications, and really paints the picture of a collaboration between the country’s business and its governing agencies. By staying a step ahead of critical threats that smaller businesses cannot combat effectively on their own, the government ensures that businesses, regardless of size, can operate with reduced cyber risk.
Let's delve deeper into the dynamic between business and government, highlighting its potential mutual benefits. The government, through taxation, draws revenue from both its citizens and their businesses. If businesses face financial setbacks due to major cyber threats, it benefits the government to address these significant challenges, allowing companies to focus on combating less advanced threats. This dynamic can be likened to a security team guarding a fortress. Minor issues, like small breaches or glitches, are manageable by the fortress's internal defenses. However, when a more potent threat, say a formidable siege, arises, the dedicated security team steps in with precision to neutralize the danger. Similarly, while the government isn't responsible for every individual challenge a business faces, it serves as a specialized force, ready to confront significant challenges.
At the time of writing, we have a recent example of this relationship in action. QakBot, known by various names since 2008,began as a banking trojan delivered primarily through phishing campaigns. It had evolved into a multi-purpose botnet that allows cybercriminals to perform tasks like data gathering and delivering ransomware. This threat operated in conjunction with command and control (C2) servers to allow its propagation. Using industry powerhouses and some of the best professionals available, the Cybersecurity& Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) endeavored to takeover the botnet and shut it down. In August of 2023, the plan to takeover the botnet was executed and countless devices affected were freed. This large-scale effort to take down such a sophisticated actor showcased how when the sights are lined up, the government can act in a way to eliminate complex and intricate threats affecting their citizens.
In light of our achievements, we must remember our duties. While the government targets major threats, businesses also need to handle their daily cyber challenges. Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is a crucial tool in this fight. It doesn't just detect threats but responds swiftly with updated threat data. Importantly, MDR tools also alert the government about new threats as they appear and look to exploit businesses. This creates a feedback loop: the more businesses use MDR, the faster the system becomes in identifying and addressing threats. The government's support for MDR isn't just a nod; it shows they understand businesses need holistic defenses. MDR provides this shield, helping businesses operate safely while also aiding the government in its larger protective role.
In the vast expanse of the digital realm, while the government assumes a pivotal role in neutralizing major threats, businesses are not absolved of their own protective duties. Both parties play crucial roles in the collective defense against cyber adversities, weaving a resilient shield against the constantly advancing threats of our time. Through collaboration, proactive strategies, and the deployment of tools like MDR, we build a more secure, cohesive, and fortified digital ecosystem together.