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Protecting Global Shipping Operations With XM Cyber

Hackers, Cybercriminals and Other Threat Actors Are Smart – You Need to Be Smarter

The modern cybersecurity battleground is delivering a new level of challenges to commercial enterprises and governmental institutions. Both entities are discovering that the process of protecting and securing their most critical assets has become more difficult and complex than ever before. This translates to higher financial costs, greater risk from serious national security threats, and even the specter of devastating damage to critical national infrastructure and/or human lives. The COVID-19 era, which brought a critical reduction in air traffic, caused a dramatic increase in maritime shipping traffic, which, on one hand, introduced a great opportunity for shipping companies to grow their business. However, on the other hand, it also created a critical dependency between the world economy and the supply chain in the naval shipping routes. While this unique situation introduces a great growth potential for shipping companies and operators, it also has been noticed by cybercriminals and cyber gangs, who look at these types of companies as low-hanging fruit for targeted attacks:
  1. Many of the shipping companies and operators are heavily dependent upon e-business processes to connect customers, suppliers, and the shipping operators under a unified digital marketplace.
  2. Modern vessels and containers use a full stack of various technologies for command and control, navigation, tracking, safety, refrigerating, and much more. These types of technologies are not designed to handle cyberattacks, especially not a sophisticated cyberattack.
  3. For many years, the shipping liners did not perceive themselves as “digital” companies, which drove a low investment in cybersecurity. However, the Maersk and CMA CGM attacks apparently demonstrated to cybercriminals that targeting the shipping industry could be very rewarding.
Cybercriminal groups and nation-state actors have a variety of advanced tools, techniques, and procedures at their disposal to launch and execute effective cyberattacks on potential targets. Most organizations are falling short in terms of preventing or blocking such attacks. Why? Because they lack the critically important visibility of their attack surface and thus fail to understand how attackers are exploiting existing weaknesses to get inside the network and take down their most critical assets.

Why Are Enterprises Still Falling Short With Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is an asymmetrical battle. Attackers have all the advantages and pre-conditions for success. They can choose the right timing, the right target, the type of attack, and, most importantly, they can keep it anonymized by deniability capability – something that is critical for nation-state actors. Conversely, defenders are saddled with all the disadvantages. They must operate around the clock to satisfy the needs of their business. Moreover, they must ensure no weaknesses or exposures exist in their systems that could allow attackers to break in. They must monitor for anomalies and suspicious events 24/7 and be ready to respond to any attempt promptly. In addition to these inherent disadvantages, security and IT teams are typically understaffed and often lack key skills and talent in the cybersecurity domain. Given all this, poor results are not surprising.

Putting the Hackers Under the Spotlight

To effectively protect themselves, organizations must level the playing field by adopting the attackers’ perspective to acquire visibility into the techniques the cyberattackers will likely use to breach their networks. Imagine a chess game in which you already know your opponent’s next move, allowing you to protect your king by anticipating and blocking attack strategies with ease. That’s exactly what the XM Cyber platform offers – a sophisticated tool that allows businesses to go on offense by playing defense, seizing the initiative, and leveling the playing field.

Predictive Analytics – The Next Generation of Cybersecurity Defense

The XM Cyber platform uses advanced predictive analytical algorithms to predict how an attacker will breach the network, identifying the multi-step attack vector toward an organization’s critical assets/crown jewels. The platform automatically detects risky user activity, IT misconfigurations, exploitable vulnerabilities, and over-permissive privileges. Adversaries may exploit such issues by launching an attack and moving laterally, leveraging and exploiting all existing weaknesses to eventually take down the critical asset.

Visualize Your Modern Attack Surface

The modern attack surface is expanding, and it now includes remote users and workers, third-party connections, cloud instances, serverless computing, and much more. Today more than ever, the modern attack surface is highly sensitive to human error and misconfigurations, which allows attackers to conduct successful breaches with ease (as was the case in the 2019 CapitalOne data breach, which was tied to a simple misconfiguration). The XM Cyber platform offers an unprecedented view of the attack surface and all the attack vectors any attacker could facilitate and execute. It does this by using unique offensive intelligence and a deep understanding of the attack surface’s weaknesses that could be exploited. Once the XM Cyber platform is deployed and the critical assets have been defined, the platform will continuously calculate all the possible movements that attackers can do in the network based on the contextual state of the network segmentation, IT hygiene level, user activity, and existing vulnerabilities. This means that for the first time, defenders have predictable visibility into how attackers can breach their network.

Remove the Risk – Effortlessly

Some people might claim that if you can patch all your vulnerabilities, harden all your systems, and monitor any activity, you will remain safe and protected. The truth is that this is an impossible scenario for any organization. In business, there is constant fluctuation in changes, misconfigurations, and narrow maintenance and change management windows. This means that the security and IT teams typically can only patch and harden about 5 percent of what they actually need to. So how do you pick and choose the right 5 percent of fixes that will remove 95 percent of the risk? The answer is XM Cyber. The XM Cyber platform advises you of the remediations and mitigations you need to take and how these actions will reduce your overall risk. Moreover, by fixing specific points that attackers must navigate (called “chokepoints” or “critical sections”), you can eliminate the overall threat of the attack vector, dramatically reducing the effort required by IT teams to eliminate a very elevated risk.

XM Cyber battleground

Let Executives Understand Their True Level of Business Risk

For the first time, the XM platform makes it possible for organizations to visualize their cybersecurity risk level, showing risk over time and mitigation trends, and allowing the board of directors to understand the link between a security investment, their actions, and the risk level they are assuming. It also serves as a decision support system for multiple functions and teams in the organization, offering guidance in how to prioritize remediation activities, demonstrating the relative importance of each step, and illustrating how attackers could exploit changes in the network while detailing the possible risk impact.

Conclusions

XM Cyber was founded by former executives in the Israeli intelligence community, people with deep knowledge in cyber offense. This unique knowledge was embedded into the platform, which is used by enterprises with the most complicated and demanding cybersecurity needs. There is no parallel technology that can bring such a unique understanding of how attackers can exploit a network, while also demonstrating the remediations you need to take to remove the risk completely. For shipping liners, which use IT and OT technologies, including multiple communications stacks, such as SATCOM, RF and IP, there is a critical need to view their network and critical systems holistically. XM Cyber allows the shipping liner companies to accurately assess their cyber risk and to take preemptive measures before they become the next victim of cyberwarfare. Uri Levy is SVP Global Sales and Field Operations at XM Cyber

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