Security: Survey Says, Not Buttoned Up

May 18, 2021

I read “Two Thirds of CISOs Admit They’re Not Ready to Face a Cyber attack.” Who would have guessed? Executives at SolarWinds, Microsoft, or Colonial Pipelines? Yet, we needed a survey to make insecurity visible it seems. The write up reports:

The 2021 edition of Proofpoint’s Voice of the CISO report — based on a survey of more than 1,400 CISOs in 14 countries — found 66 percent of the executives acknowledged their organizations were unprepared to handle a targeted cyber attack this year. In addition, more than half the CISOs (53 percent) admitted they are more concerned about the repercussions from a cyber attack this year than they were in 2020.

First, the good news. Cyber security executives are admitting that they are in reactive mode but admitting their work has been ineffective.

Now, the bad news. Bad actors can exploit the “gap” which exists between what executives license to protect their colleagues and their employers’ assets. That means that 2021 is not just going to be worse than 2020, one of the study’s findings. The survey data points out these findings:

  • 64 percent of the survey respondents are “at risk of suffering a material cyber attack.” (Are those other 36 percent that confident?)
  • 34 percent expect email compromises
  • 27 percent anticipate ransomware. (73 percent of the sample are apparently not that nervous about ransomware. Odd because insiders and phishing deliver the goods, and the Colonial Pipeline incident makes clear that authorities can apply pressure to bad actors after the event. Predictive marketing jabber, not too helpful it seems.)

And threat intelligence, Dark Web indexes, and “special” content available to some cyber intelligence firms are more like looking in a rear view mirror than watching what’s ahead. Of course, this is my opinion, and I am confident that the venture fund fat cyber intelligence firms will beg to disagree.

Stephen E Arnold, May 18, 2021


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