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Which Verticals Need Better Threat Intelligence ASAP?

April 01, 2017

Which Verticals Need Better Threat Intelligence ASAP?


Hackers are becoming more insidious. Each year, we see proofs of concept for potential hacks, and the next year, security researchers are concerned about seeing them starting to proliferate in the real world. Take for example the FBI’s recent statement that people should secure the computers in their cars in order to protect them against the type of hacking attack that Wired magazine demonstrated was possible in controlled circumstances last summer.

 But even in light of such ominous warnings, the statistical chances of a given citizen being run off the road by a hacker with a vendetta are pretty small (at least at the moment). There are, however, areas in which being hacked—or being targeted for hacking—is a more likely possibility. For some business verticals, hackers know that the enterprises doing business in the space are collecting and storing incredibly valuable data. They know the best ways to get the data, and they target those verticals accordingly.

That’s why, for businesses in the following verticals, implementing or improving threat intelligence is an absolute must—for the sake of both these industries and the customers who depend on them.

Hospitals and Other Healthcare Providers

You have no doubt heard about the string of high-profile healthcare-related hacks over the past few years. Big-name insurance companies as well as hospitals have been successfully hacked, leading to the compromise of massive amounts of confidential data. Given all the different ways healthcare data could potentially be misused, nobody truly knows what the fallout of these hacks will be. Furthermore, healthcare providers that fall victim to hacks are often left on the hook for formidable HIPAA violation fines after cybersecurity incidents.

And how are hackers circumventing perimeter security measures? Many hacks are done through phishing scams that infect hospital networks with malware. Others are cloud hacks, because hackers know that many healthcare enterprises have chosen the cloud as an easy way to comply with HIPAA rules regarding backup accessibility, leaving sometimes undersecured data in the hands of third parties.

Threat intelligence can address both scenarios. Having actionable information about what threats are proliferating in the healthcare space, what tricks hackers are using in order to break into enterprises, and what has worked to stop them can save the day for healthcare providers. It can empower IT staff to get the word out to employees, set up IP blacklists, or even shut down parts of the network in order to prevent zero-day exploits from being used by hackers, and it can remind enterprises to keep an eye on their cloud backup solution.

Financial Services Enterprises

It’s no surprise that the financial services area is heavily targeted by hackers. It’s where the money is, and reports indicate that attacks on the industry have become almost ubiquitous. Credit-card fraud is rampant, banks are often targeted, and there are many different people with different interests, from organized criminals to resourceful individuals, all trying to make their way in.

With such a variety of people targeting the vertical in different ways, good threat intelligence is critical. If one day hackers are hitting banks with a specific newly revealed SQL injection, and the next day big-name credit-card companies are being targeted with a phishing scheme meant to release an advanced persistent threat onto the network, businesses have to know exactly what’s coming and whom is being targeted. Having an idea of which threat is targeting whom positions an IT department to deploy its security resources efficiently and effectively.

The Hotel Industry

Hotel chains big and small have been hit by hackers with what might seem like a surprising frequency over the past few years. But it makes sense—hotels use complex IT deployments, have tons of non-local customers passing through and swiping their credit cards, and keep a wealth of information on visitors stored on networks. The hotel point of sale (POS) has become a common point of entry for hackers.

Threat intelligence, then, is critical to keeping hotel chains on top of securing their POS technology. Connecting the dots between which malware is hitting which POS solutions and understanding how it’s arriving there can save hotel chains and their customers a tremendous amount of grief.

What other verticals have you seen benefit from threat intelligence?