Expert Insights: Combatting Malware Threats with a Holistic Security Strategy
The threat landscape is changing. Attackers are becoming more sophisticated, as they know security teams are looking for a holistic approach to protect their organizations. Accompanied by the huge diversity of malware available, both in sophisticated and disruptive nature, the list of potential threats is long and comprehensive. Therefore, it can be quite overwhelming to start looking at everything from an “in-depth” perspective. Cybersecurity Exchange got in touch with Vinjaram Prajapati, cybersecurity director for Aligned Automation, to learn his views on how malware and the security landscape will evolve. Although novel approaches to combat malware, such as AI and ML, are emerging trends, Vinjaram states that organizations should not lose focus on finding a comprehensive security approach for responding to security incidents.
Vinjaram Prajapati, an information security expert, has over 17 years of experience in the industry. He has excellent client relationship-building prowess and is an established decision-maker who mentors his team to meet project milestones. As a leader, he oversees project milestones and mentors team members to achieve those goals. Over the course of his 17-year career, Vinjaram Prajapati has developed and delivered information security solutions to promote business opportunities in the cybersecurity space. The following are edited excerpts from the interview:
1. What are the top malware threats to information security today?
Below are some of the most prominent malware threats in today’s information security landscape:
- Ransomware: Ransomware is malware that can spread to computers, phones, and other devices through an email or a website and encrypt the victim’s files until the victim pays a ransom.
- Trojans: A Trojan is a malicious software that masquerades as licit software and can be used to gain access to a system for malicious purposes.
- Spyware: Spyware is a kind of malware used to monitor a computer or device without the user’s knowledge.
- Rootkits: A rootkit is a type of malicious software designed to hide within the operating system of a computer or device.
- Adware: Adware is a malware designed to display advertisements on a system without the user’s knowledge or consent.
- Cryptojacking: Cryptojacking is malware that uses a computer or device’s resources to mine cryptocurrency without the user’s knowledge or consent.
- Bots: Bots are malicious software that can be used to carry out automated tasks, such as spamming, launching DDoS attacks, or stealing information.
Today, security threats are rampant and can be encountered online and offline. Online security threats can come in many forms, including phishing, viruses, and Trojans. Offline security threats include theft, vandalism, physical attacks, and other criminal activities.
2. What should organizations look for when it comes to security to ensure that both their business goals and their management will not be compromised?
Organizations should look at security from a holistic perspective, considering various elements such as risk management, compliance, data protection, authentication, access control, and more. All of this should be implemented so that the organization’s business goals or management are not negatively affected. For example, encryption should be used to protect sensitive data but must not impede the organization’s ability to do business. Similarly, authentication should be used to protect user accounts but should not be overly burdensome or intrusive. A comprehensive approach to security can ensure that your business goals and management are not compromised while still providing a secure environment.
3. How do you achieve and advise other security leaders to achieve a stable work-life balance?
There are several ways to achieve work-life balance, and here are some suggestions:
- When it comes to achieving a work-life balance, the first step is to define boundaries between your personal and professional lives. Set clear expectations with your team and colleagues about the hours you are available and stick to them.
- Setting achievable goals for your team and yourself will help you manage your workload and not feel overwhelmed.
- It’s essential to make time for yourself each day, whether through walking, enjoying a book, or resting. Staying focused and minimizing stress will be more manageable if you take a break from your routine.
- Prioritizing tasks and projects is the key to achieving a stable work-life balance. Focus on the most important tasks first so that you can be more efficient and have more time for yourself.
- As a security leader, it is important to delegate tasks to team members or colleagues so that you can manage your workload and not be overburdened.
- Staying organized and keeping track of tasks and deadlines will help you manage your time more effectively and help you stay on top of your workload.
4. Based on your experience delivering security solutions, what rudimentary security frameworks and policies do most organizations lack or overlook?
- Many organizations lack a comprehensive security policy that outlines the roles and responsibilities of those responsible for security, the security measures in place, and the processes for responding to security incidents.
- Lack of proper user access controls—such as user authentication, authorization, and segmentation of duties—can allow unauthorized users to gain access to business data and systems.
- Some organizations lack secure configuration management processes, such as ensuring that systems are regularly patched, updated, and configured securely. Without these processes in place, systems can be vulnerable to attack.
- Many organizations lack a data classification system that classifies data in terms of sensitivity and risk. Without this practice, organizations can be unaware of which data is most critical and vulnerable.
- Security awareness training is necessary to ensure that users are aware of their roles in maintaining the organization’s security. Without this training, users may be unaware of the risks of their actions or may not understand their responsibilities.
5. How do you see malware-based threats evolving, given the significant changes occurring in technology today?
As technology becomes more complex, malware-based threats are likely to evolve in sophistication and complexity as well. Attackers will take advantage of the increasing number of connected devices and more sophisticated artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics tools. Malware creators may also use more sophisticated techniques to hide malicious code, such as encrypting or inserting it into legitimate software. Additionally, attackers may use more advanced techniques to spread malware, such as social engineering, phishing, and other forms of cybercrime. Finally, attackers may use distributed computing platforms, such as botnets and distributed denial-of-service attacks, to disrupt systems and networks.
6. What novel and upcoming technology will impact defense against malware the most?
One novel and upcoming technology that will have a tremendous impact on defense against malware is artificial intelligence (AI). AI can be used to detect and identify malicious software before it spreads, as well as detect and respond to threat actors. For example, AI-based systems can be trained to identify malicious code, analyze malicious behavior, and even predict and prevent malicious attacks. It can also be used to streamline and automate security processes, allowing security teams to focus their efforts on more critical tasks.
7. As a decision-maker in an organization’s security, what aspects would you expect or advise security leaders to focus on or consider before implementing security policies or changes?
- Assess the organization’s security risks and prioritize security initiatives based on their potential to mitigate the most significant risks.
- Develop and enforce organization-specific security policies and procedures across all departments.
- Monitor security measures regularly and review them for effectiveness.
- Educate employees and other stakeholders on security policies and measures, and ensure they are aware of the potential consequences of violating them.
- Utilize the appropriate technology and tools to protect the organization’s data and resources.
- Evaluate all third-party service providers for compliance with the organization’s security criteria.
- Prepare for incidents and disasters by having a plan and regularly testing it.
- Allocate the necessary resources to keep your security measures up-to-date and effective.
- Develop an incident response plan that includes a step-by-step process for dealing with a security incident.
8. What advice would you give aspiring professionals aiming for a successful threat intelligence and incident handling career?
- Keep up to date on the newest developments in threat intelligence and incident handling.
- Gain a thorough understanding of the various methods and tools used in threat intelligence and incident handling. This includes learning about different types of malware, attack vectors, and risk management processes.
- Invest in training and certifications that will help you become more specialized in your field. Many organizations require specific certificates for employment in this field.
- Network with other industry professionals and make connections with experts in the domain. This allows you to tap into abundant resources.
- Build a portfolio of case studies and success stories that highlight your expertise. By doing this, you will set yourself apart from competitors and establish your competence as a professional.
About the Author
Vinjaram Prajapati currently works as Cybersecurity Director for Aligned Automation. Vinjaram is an information security expert with over 17 years of experience in the industry. He has excellent client relationship-building prowess and is an established decision-maker who mentors his team to meet project milestones. As a leader, he oversees project milestones and mentors team members to achieve those goals. Throughout his 17-year career, Vinjaram Prajapati has developed and delivered information security solutions to promote business opportunities in the cybersecurity space.