The high-tech sector provides much of the infrastructure powering the digital transformation of businesses and personal life around the globe. High-tech organisations are the backbone of innovation that is pushing global economies forward and driving change towards a digitally dependent environment.

As such, the rapid expansion in high-tech organisation’s digital infrastructures now means that traditional network perimeters are exposed to new cyber threats, with high-tech organisations and their employees facing more cyber attacks than their counterparts in other sectors. In fact, over two-thirds (69%) of UK technology companies suffered a cyber attack last year, with almost half (47%) claiming the severity of these attacks has increased over the period according to Ponemon Institute.

This blog will identify the threats high-tech and emerging technology are facing alongside actionable solutions needed to mitigate said risks.

What Kind of Threats Should High-Tech Businesses Prepare to Face?

High-tech companies and their employees face a variety of cyber threats ranging from state sponsored attacks to social engineering fraud type phishing attacks. Unlike other sectors, high-tech companies are early adopters of new technology and embrace the opportunity to use new technology to challenge traditional working environments. This makes the attack surface more difficult to defend under traditional network perimeters and subsequently means high-tech businesses are falling victim to new threats outside the network perimeter that conventional IT teams cannot control.  But what are the threats they face?

Social engineering

Social engineering is a manipulation technique used to exploit human error to access and gain information from both the targeted employee and the company. Social engineering techniques take many forms and cover a range of deceptive tactics. Common social engineering attacks targeting the high-tech sector include:

Phishing-The most common form of social engineering attack is phishing. Phishing attacks exploit human error by ‘tricking’ individuals to reveal sensitive information usually via infected email attachments or sending individuals to malicious websites.

Spear Phishing-Spear phishing is a more sophisticated and elaborate version of phishing. It targets specific individuals within the organisations through using publicly available information. The attacks are personalised, and tactics such as sender impersonation are used.

State-sponsored cyber attacks

State-sponsored cyber attacks have become a common threat to the high-tech sector due to the invaluable Intellectual Property (IP) and data held. As such, states are actively employing organised criminal groups to facilitate illegal attacks on high-tech organisations to steal organisations ‘Crown jewels’.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts a victim’s files through user-initiated action, such as clicking on or downloading a malicious link. Once embedded on a victim’s device the software will encrypt data and only restore the data upon payment.


The consequences

For many businesses within the high-tech sector, the most fateful consequence of a data breach is the loss of Intellectual Property (IP). IP is the lifeblood of many high-tech organisations and fuels innovation, growth, and differentiation in the market. A compromise of IP is highly likely to result in large financial losses, stock devaluation, diminished trust, and competitor advantages.

With this being said, the majority of UK high-tech businesses (61%) are without the necessary in-house expertise to combat the cyber landscape. As such, high-tech businesses are becoming increasing exposed to cyber threats through extended network parameters, sophisticated attack methods and a lack of staff expertise.


Solution

The landscape of cyber threats facing the high-tech sector is diversifying, prompting the sector to adapt and improvise new methods of defences. However, with tight budgets and limited resources at their disposal, it is recommended that the high-tech sector invest in a 24/7 fully Managed Extended Detection and Response capability to mitigate their cyber threats. A Managed Service Security Provider (MSSP) such as KryptoKloud takes the burden of maintaining and managing your businesses overall cyber security program, allowing your IT team to focus on other important business tasks.

In summary, are you fully aware of how susceptible your business or organisation is to cyber attack without the appropriate security protection measures and systems in place? Are you able to manage the risk with not being fully protected and operating without an MSSP that can provide a professional and dedicated 24/7 detection and response capability?

If you’ve answered No – then it is highly recommended that action is taken now before it is too late.

To learn more about Advanced Threat Protection click here.