Category Archives: Regulation

Being compliant with laws and regulations is not a guarantee against data breaches

Compliance is not a guarantee against data breaches. These are the results of the Advisera survey carried out with 605 respondents, coming from countries on five continents, from various industries, mostly from smaller and medium-size companies, and acting predominantly in IT and security positions. Security and compliance are tightly related Nearly 85% of respondents consider security and compliance to be highly related and feel that they need to be implemented together. “This perception of respondents … More

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Companies vastly overestimating their GDPR readiness, only 28% achieving compliance

Over a year on from the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Capgemini Research Institute has found that companies vastly overestimated their readiness for the new regulation with just 28% having successfully achieved compliance. This is compared to a GDPR readiness survey last year which found that 78% expected to be prepared by the time the regulation came into effect in May 2018. However, organizations are realizing the benefits of being compliant: … More

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Organizations continue to struggle with privacy regulations

Many organizations’ privacy statements fail to meet common privacy principles outlined in GDPR, CCPA, PIPEDA, including the user’s right to request information, to understand how their data is being shared with third parties and the ability of that information to be deleted upon request, according to the Internet Society’s Online Trust Alliance (OTA). Organizations also have a duty to notify users of their rights in an easily understandable matter. OTA analyzed 29 variables in 1,200 … More

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Businesses facing post breach financial fallout by losing customer trust

44% of Americans, 38% of Brits, 33% of Australians, and 37% of Canadians have been the victim of a data breach, according to newly released research conducted by PCI Pal. The findings suggest that a combination of recent high-profile data breaches in each region, the development of assorted laws and regulations to protect consumer data privacy (e.g. the California Consumer Privacy Act, Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations, Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, … More

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The real impact: how cybercrime affects more of your business than you think

Some businesses – usually those that have never experienced any kind of major IT incident – think of cybercrime as an inconvenience. They may believe that if their company is hacked it will cause some disruption and perhaps an embarrassing news story, but that ultimately the breach will have only a minor effect.

However, the truth is that cybercrime can have a huge range of unexpected consequences. Here we take a lot of the real impact of a breach – cybercrime might affect you a lot more than you think.

It loses customer confidence

When you suffer a cyberattack it becomes common knowledge very quickly. Whether your site is taken offline or Google places a ‘hacked site’ warning against you, customers will learn fast that you have been compromised. And when a potential customer hears that you have been breached, they will immediately associate you with the attack, deeming your site to be unsafe to use.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) it is also a legal requirement for you to inform any customers whose data has been affected by the breach within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach. This goes further to lose your confidence with those customers who have already used your services or bought from your site.

It costs you sales

No business wants to lose the confidence of its customers, mostly importantly because it will naturally have an effect on your sales. If – in the eyes of your customers – your site can’t be trusted, they will stop using it and move on to a competitor. This means that before you take anything else into account, you will be losing business simply due to the fact that you have been a victim of cybercrime.

Of course, if the cybercrime takes your website offline, you will also lose any potential transaction over that period – but the more crucial factor is the long-term effect of customers believing that you are not longer safe to buy from.

It costs a lot of money

Cyber attacks can be extremely costly for a variety of reasons. We have already talked about the kind of disruption to trading that will occur when any kind of cybercrime takes place, but it is actually a lot more complicated than that. Firstly, many forms of cybercrime will directly steal money from a business. This could come in the form of a phishing attack on a member of staff, or even a business email compromise attack.

However, there are also other costs to consider such as the financial ramifications of dealing with the hack and securing your business. And of course, any trust that is lost in your partners or suppliers can lead to you losing them.

It weakens your SEO efforts

You might not realise it, but cybercrime can have a serious impact on your search engine optimisation (SEO). There are many reasons for this – firstly, if Google believes your site is hacked, it can place a ‘hacked site’ warning in the listings. Additionally, many hacks will actually alter or steal content from your site, and website content is one of the most important ranking factors in the eyes of all search engines.

Another important factor is downtime. If Google sees that your website is down for a significant period of time, this is a negative ranking factor, and can see your site sliding. Any cybercrime will cause downtime, as you will need to take your site offline in order to fix the issues and return it to normal.

It causes problems with compliance

We have already mentioned the GDPR in this article, and how it can force you to disclose cyber breaches to any affected individuals. However, it is important to remember that compliance with the GDPR and regulations can become an issue if you suffer a cyberattack.

Under the GDPR, businesses are required to take appropriate steps to protect themselves against attacks, in order to secure the private information that they hold on customers. Failing to do can put you at risk of heavy fines from the ICO.

It loses your intellectual property

Another extremely common occurrence during a cyberattack is that intellectual property will be stolen. Given the incredible value of IP to some businesses, such as in technology or pharmaceutical firms, it can be easy to see how stolen IP could make a business unsustainable.

If your organisation relies upon the secrecy of its IP, then you need to make sure you are taking appropriate steps to defend that IP against cybercrime.

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IoT Security in 2019: Things You Need to Know

In recent years, IoT has been on the rise, with billions of new devices getting connected each year. The increase in connectivity is happening throughout markets and business sectors, providing new functionalities and opportunities. As devices get connected, they also become unprecedently exposed to the threat of cyberattacks. While the IoT security industry is still shaping, the solution is not yet clear. In this article, we will review the latest must-know about IoT visibility & security and we will dive into new approaches to secure the IoT revolution.

IoT visibility & security in 2019:

1. IoT endpoint security vs network security

Securing IoT devices is a real challenge. IoT devices are highly diversified, with a wide variety of operating systems (real-time operating systems, Linux-based or bare-metal), communication protocols and architectures. On top of the high diversity, comes the issues of low resources and lack of industry standards and regulations. Most security solutions today focus on securing the network (discover network anomalies and achieve visibility into IoT devices that are active in the network), while the understanding that the devices themselves must be protected is now establishing. The fact that IoT devices can be easily exploited makes them a very good target for attackers, aiming to use the weak IoT device as an entry point to the entire enterprise network, without being caught. Besides that, it’s important to remember that network solutions are irrelevant for distributed IoT devices (i.e., home medical devices), that has no network to protect them.

Manufacturers of IoT devices are therefore key for a secure IoT environment and more and more organizations are willing to pay more for built-in security into their smart devices.

2. “Cryptography is typically bypassed, not penetratedShamir’s law

In recent years we see a lot of focus on IoT data integrity, which basically means encryption & authentication. Though very important by itself, it’s important to understand that encryption doesn’t mean full security. When focusing mainly on encryption & authentication, companies forget that the devices are still exposed to cybersecurity vulnerabilities that can be used to penetrate the device and receive access into the decrypted information, thus bypassing the authentication and encryption entirely. In other words, what’s known for years in the traditional cyber industry as Shamir’s law should  now make its way to the IoT security industry: “Cryptography is typically bypassed, not penetrated” and therefore companies must invest in securing their devices from cyber attacks and not just handle data integrity. To read more about that, please visit Sternum IoT Security two-part blog post.

3. 3rd party IoT vulnerabilities

One of the main issues in IoT security is the heavily reliance of IoT devices on third-party components for communication capabilities, cryptographic capabilities, the operating system itself etc. In fact, this reliance is so strong that it has reached a point where it’s unlikely to find an IoT device without third-party components within it. The fact that third-party libraries are commonly used across devices, combined with the difficulty to secure them, makes them a sweet spot for hackers to look for IoT vulnerabilities and exploit many IoT devices through such 3rd party component.

Vulnerability in third-party components is very dangerous. In many IoT devices, there is no separation and segmentation between processes and/or tasks, which means that even one vulnerability in a third-party library is compromising the entire device. This could lead to lethal results: attackers can leverage the third-party vulnerability to take control over the device and cause damage, steal information of perform a ransomware attack on the manufacturer.

it’s not only that third-party components are dangerous, but they are also extremely difficult to secure. Many third-party components are delivered in binary form, with no source code available. Even when the source code is available, it’s often hard to dive into it and asses the security level or vulnerabilities inside it. Either way, most developers use the open-source components as black-boxes. On top of that, static analysis tools and compiler security flags lack the ability to analyze and secure third-party components and most IoT security solutions cannot offer real-time protection into binary code.

VxWorks vulnerabilities

A recent example of such third party vulnerability that affects millions of devices can be found in the security bugs found in the VxWorks embedded operating system. These vulnerabilities exposed every manufacturer that used VxWorks operating system, even if security measures like penetration testing, static analysis, PKI and firmware analysis were taken.

To summarize, in order to provide strong and holistic IoT protection, you must handle and secure all parts of the device, including the third-party components. Sternum IoT security solutions focus on holistically securing IoT devices from within and therefore offers a unique capability of embedding security protection & visibility into the device from end-to-end. Sternum’s solution is also operating during real-time execution of the device and prevents all attack attempts at the exact point of exploitation, while immediately alerting about the attack and its origins, including from within third-party libraries.

4. Regulation is kicking in

In the past two years, we’re seeing a across industries effort to create regulations and standards for IoT security. We are expecting to see more of these efforts shaping into real regulations that will obligate manufacturers to comply with them.

A good and important example is the FDA premarket cybersecurity guidance that was published last year and is expected to become a formal guidance in 2020. The guidance includes different aspects of cybersecurity in medical devices (which is in many cases are essentially IoT devices) such as data integrity, Over-the-air updates, real-time protection, execution integrity, third-party liabilities and real-time monitoring of the devices.

Another example is the California Internet of Things cybersecurity law that states: Starting on January 1st, 2020, any manufacturer of a device that connects “directly or indirectly” to the internet must equip it with “reasonable” security features, designed to prevent unauthorized access, modification, or information disclosure.

We expect to see more states and countries forming regulations around IoT security since these devices lack of security may have a dramatic effect on industry, cities, and people’s lives. Top two regulations that are about to be released are the new EU Cybersecurity Act (based on ENISA and ETSI standards) and the NIST IoT and Cybersecurity framework.

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7 Cybersecurity Practices to Protect Organizations from Future Threats

Image Source: Freepik

Cybersecurity is the process of protecting and defending an enterprise’s use of cyberspace by detecting, preventing and responding to any of the malicious attacks like disabling, disrupting, injecting malware, or anything thing else aimed to harm the organization.

At its center, cybersecurity defends your organization from vicious and threat attacks aimed to disrupt and steal information from your organization. Cybersecurity risks are similar to financial and reputational risks as it could directly affect the organization’s growth, driving the costs up and adversely affecting the revenue.

If you’re a part of an organization, and especially, if your workplace stocks sensitive information of individuals or clients involved, then this is an ideal time to educate yourself regarding cybersecurity and ways to safeguard your organization against cyber attacks and threats with the help of professionals who hold cybersecurity certifications.

  1. Enable Firewall

In football, there’s a famous phrase- “Attack is the first line of defense.” and in the scenario of cybersecurity, the firewall serves the very same purpose. The firewall protects unauthorized access to your system, mail services, and websites. In addition to the external firewall, considering installing internal firewalls for the work network as well as on for your home network, in cases if employees decide to work remotely.

  1. Conduct Cybersecurity Awareness Training

According to a recent survey, 77% of those who took part admitted that they use free public WiFi networks to access work-related documents or have connected their corporate devices to such networks which are most often unsecured. Only 17% of them said that they use a VPN when outside the office.


33% of insider threat attacks have caused due to mistakes or irrationality from the employees; these mistakes are preventable. As per the SANS, cybersecurity experts have reported that their knowledge programs have made a tangible impact on the organization’s security.

  1. Back-Up Company Data

It is one of the prioritized security practices among cybersecurity professionals. Backing up your data could be a lifesaver. In the advent of Trojan horses and Ransomware, small mistakes could lead to complete data wipeout.


Handling the back-up data is also equally important. Make sure back-ups are thoroughly protected, encrypted, and updated frequently.

  1. Multi-Factor Authentication

MFA (Multi-factor authentication) is considered to be one of the prominent cybersecurity practices among professionals. MFA adds an extra layer of protection to any data that is protected by this means.


Even in an unfortunate situation if any malicious attack gets to your sensitive data, it would further require to pass additional authentication layers of security to get to the actual data and cause any harm. Also, these practices are notification enabled, and any susceptible attempt is reported to the user by multiple communication channels.

  1. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policies 

BYOD policies have been around since 2004, and ever since it has managed only to boom among the corporate culture. It is predicted that by 2022, the BYOD market will hit $367B. Also, research data has it that the companies who opt for BYOD, save $350/year for every employee.

Sure, letting the employees use their own devices for work increases their productivity, but it does make the organization’s data susceptible to cyber attacks. With the increasing use of the mobile device, smartwatches, and wearables, and IoT products companies that are serious about BYOD or using cloud storage, in general, should consider the security vulnerability and implement stringent policies to protect their valuable information. MDM (Mobile Device Management) software enables the cybersecurity or the IT team to implement security settings and configurations that let them secure all devices connected to company networks

  1. Manage Passwords

Changing passwords is a pain, and employees often distance themselves from such action unless the HR or the IT team forcefully sit next to them and make them change their passwords.

Password management is a critical part of corporate security, and in today’s BYOD world, it is essential to be extra cautious about data protection. Privileged access accounts are diamond mine for the attackers, and when it comes to the security of these accounts, unauthorized access could doom the growth of the organization.

  1. Document Cybersecurity Policies

Business often operates on verbal bases when it comes to security while ideally, they should be considering documenting every policy and training operations related to cyberspace. Multiple online portals like the Small Business Administration (SBA) & FCC’s Cyberplanner 2.0 Cybersecurity portal provides checklists, online instruction, and information distinct to protect online businesses.


Always remember the fact that one unsafe click could result in complete data wipeout or leak, and education yourselves about the cybersecurity practices that could help your organization prevent itself from threats. Not just to an organization’s security, it is also helpful to any individual who uses the internet. Keeping yourselves afloat regarding such practices is a part of the job as all kinds of engagement is slowly and swiftly happening on the cloud.




Author Bio:

Gaurav Belani is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at The 20 Media, a content marketing agency that specializes in data-driven SEO. He has more than seven years of experience in digital marketing and loves to read and write about AI, ML, cybersecurity and other emerging technologies. In his spare time, he enjoys watching movies and listening to music. Connect with him on Twitter @belanigaurav.


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ITAR compliance: ignorance is no excuse

The ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) legislation details what measures businesses and individuals must take to comply with ITAR requirements and specifies severe penalties, both civil and criminal, for non-compliance. The reach of the regulations is broad and suppliers of all kinds may be subject to requirements to keep sensitive information secure and restricted.