Monday, May 27, 2024

Cybersecurity firm unveils study of SME vulnerabilities in Asia Pacific

Blackpanda, a Singapore-headquartered digital forensics and cybersecurity firm founded by a former member of the US Army Special Forces, has released its first proprietary study analyzing cyber security vulnerabilities in SMEs across the Asia Pacific region.

For the study, Blackpanda utilized its in-house external attack surface management (ASM) scan to identify top vulnerabilities that represent significant risk level where threats are recommended to be resolved as soon as practicable or within a matter of days to prevent potential infiltration by attackers to launch an attack.

The study revealed three major vulnerabilities that pose significant threats to regional security:

  • Compromised Assets — Email breaches in the high-risk category constitute 71.68% of the total risk level combined, spotlighting a significant risk of information leakage and phishing attacks. This category represents the most extensive vulnerability, underscoring a critical need for advanced threat detection and incident response strategies.
  • Exposed Web Services — Making up 69.92% of high-risk exposed services issues, vulnerabilities in Web services indicate a widespread vulnerability to Web-based attacks which can disrupt operations and compromise customer data.
  • Known Software Vulnerabilities — Medium-risk level accounts for 59.96% of the system security issues where these vulnerabilities emerge as a crucial focus area, with practicable actions required to prevent data breaches that could lead to severe financial and reputational damage.

“The majority of the cyber incidents we encounter can be traced back to fundamental vulnerabilities that remain unpatched. Just as a burglar can easily enter through an unlocked door or opened window, cyber attackers exploit these open vulnerabilities to breach systems,” said Blackpanda founder and CEO Gene Yu, who majored in computer science at West Point before entering the US Army.  

“As part of our commitment at Blackpanda, and through our Pandamatics Underwriting arm, we are not only focused on responding to these emergencies but also on significantly reducing the occurrence of such attacks across the entire market. This data isn’t just a collection of statistics; it’s a roadmap showing us where the industry needs to direct its attention and resources to fortify its defenses effectively,” he said.

In addition to the top three vulnerabilities, the study also draws attention to other significant security risks, including:

  • Database and remote access services vulnerabilities, emphasizing the importance of robust access controls.
  • System services and DNS configuration issues, highlighting the need for improved security practices.
  • Underlying risks from software misconfiguration and SSL/TLS configuration gaps, which can lead to severe breaches if not addressed promptly.

Evelyn Del Monte, managing director for Blackpanda Philippines, commented, “In the Philippines, we see a significant number of high severity vulnerabilities that allow attackers to compromise administrative credentials, gain unauthorized access to email accounts, or disrupt server operations.

“Given this context, robust security measures and proactive threat management aren’t just advisable — they are critical. Our incident response capabilities are tailored to address these challenges head-on, ensuring that businesses can safeguard their digital environments effectively.”

The Blackpanda study not only maps out current vulnerabilities but also provides tailored recommendations for businesses to enhance their security architectures.

By implementing the suggested strategies, the cybersecurity firm said companies and national agencies can significantly mitigate the risk of cyberattacks, protecting their data and operations against increasingly sophisticated threats.

Blackpanda touted its flagship solution, IR-1, which integrates incident response, continuous vulnerability assessments, and seamless access to cyber insurance — all in one SaaS platform.

IR-1 is a yearly subscription designed for small and medium sized enterprises in the Asia Pacific region, combining proactive cyber security tools and hassle-free incident response.

One of the standout features of IR-1 is its 24/7 fixed-cost incident response service. This feature guarantees businesses immediate access to expert support in the event of a cyber incident, which is crucial for minimizing downtime and mitigating damage swiftly.

The company said the fixed-cost model also helps businesses better manage their cybersecurity budgets by preventing unexpected costs associated with emergency responses.

At the heart of IR-1’s preventative strategy is its continuous vulnerability scanning capability. This service works tirelessly to monitor and detect vulnerabilities within an organization’s digital environment.

“By identifying and addressing these vulnerabilities early, businesses can significantly reduce their exposure to potential cyberattacks and enhance their overall security posture,” it said.

Another aspect of IR-1 is its automated cyber insurance access, which is currently available in Singapore and Hong Kong through Pandamatics Underwriting, an entity of the Blackpanda Group.

This feature simplifies the process of obtaining cyber insurance, allowing businesses to secure coverage that aligns with their risk management strategies.

“IR-1 equips our clients with robust tools and resources essential for both preventing and mitigating cyberattacks,” explain Del Monte.

“We are not resting on our laurels; rather, we have several significant upgrades scheduled for this year. Our subscribers can look forward to rolling out even more advanced, technology-driven solutions tailored to their needs.”

In the Philippines, Blackpanda’s channel network partners are Exclusive Networks (EN), and iSecure Network (ISN).

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