Why don’t you all f-f-f-fade away, talkin’ ‘bout my generation—remember that tune? How magnificent it would be if Gen V attacks would f-f-f-fade away? Then there would be a lot less ‘talkin’ ‘bout ongoing cyber threats and a whole lot more about running business without the incessant fear of compromise. In case you don’t know, Fifth Generation attacks—or “Gen V attacks,” as they are frequently called—are defined by the type of technology used to initiate an attack, typically technologies that are cultivated by large companies or through a government-sponsored project.
You would think the sizeable attacks of 2017, like NotPetya and WannaCry, would shake large organizations into a state of preparedness for the next run of global and potentially catastrophic attacks. Infected systems across 150 countries total out to the merry tune of more than $1 billion in accumulative damage, but still, organizations leave themselves frighteningly exposed to consequences related to Gen V. There’s no getting away from the fact that we are in the midst of a new breed of cyber attacks, and they are thumping at every vulnerable door and disrupting things with a capital D. Gen V cyber attacks are targeting en mass, with no exception to networks, endpoints, mobile devices, or the cloud.
Why are we so ill-equipped for Gen V attacks?
Would it shock you to hear that understaffing is a key factor? Results from industry studies in 2018 show that more than three-quarters of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) actually believe they are in a state of unpreparedness due to a lack of employed hours in their organization, along with security-based technologies that fail to work in harmony with their business. The study also found a mere three percent have embraced cybersecurity products as a means of threat prevention and the thwarting of pending attacks—and a massive 79% are using software that was built to defend against attacks from two or three generations ago.
Let’s be real. No organization is safe from a Gen V attack. You are, however, more guarded if your organization embraces what’s known as comprehensive security architecture, or put simply, a holistic approach to cybersecurity that unifies both internal and external infrastructures and shares threat data in real-time.
There’s nothing hazy about the potential impacts of Gen V attacks.
Every day–actually, every minute of every day—billions of dollars are stolen or lost through attacks and the resulting aftermath. Both personal and business assets are increasingly at risk, with the reality of collateral damage weighing more burdensome than ever on the shoulders of those who are accountable.
Let’s give this some context. Gen V got its name off the back of the model that Check Point and Shwed use to compartmentalize the evolution of security in to “generations.” So, what are they?
- First Generation: Infected discs that were inserted into They attacked software one at a time. Antivirus software was introduced to ‘fight back.’
- Second Generation: Internet-based attacks, which took hold in the 90s, and the first firewall was implemented.
- Third Generation: Attacks on apps and web browsers. These peaked in the early 2000s and Intrusion Prevention Solutions (IPS) software was born.
- Fourth Generation: In 2010, the characteristics of malware multiplied. Its morphing capabilities meant that a multitude of hacks were possible and much less traceable than attacks of previous generations. Developers launched anti-bot software and sandboxing.
- Fifth Generation: Here we are in 2018, and today’s sophisticated attacks are significantly ahead of that of the fourth generation. A multitude of security solutions are available to us.
The most prominent obstacle organizations face, is how to defend against Gen V when the sophistication of attacks is generations beyond most security capabilities. Closing this gap would be a critical step in preventing attacks, with the potential to transform both the frequency and severity of attacks.
Is there anything we can do?
Yes, lots! Ask yourself these questions:
- Have I incorporated real-time threat deterrence into my business that halts attacks before they have the opportunity to leave a footprint on corporate networks?
- Could I gather and share real-time threat intelligence?
- Are my internal and external security measures synchronized across all networks?
- On set-up, did we divide our networks to help contain attacks to stop them from spreading?
- What are our reasons for not implementing cutting-edge prevention technologies in every corner where potential risk lurks, including networks, mobile devices, endpoints, and the cloud?
Let’s not underestimate safety in numbers. A community-based approach to protecting our separate assets through the sharing of real-time attacks might seem small, but these actions go a long way in educating and protecting nations and their citizens. If our combined strength encourages just one organization within our community to re-evaluate their cybersecurity prevention measures, that’s one less vulnerability for which we can be thankful. Let’s not stop talkin’ ‘bout our generation—we can’t afford to—because we must do everything we can to prevent our assets and our reputation from f-f-f-fading away.