FortiGuard Labs disrupts the bad guys from Burnaby, B.C.

Increased use of digital resources has spurred new and sophisticated threat from cybercriminals

Derek Manky, chief of security insights and global threat alliances at Fortinet's FortiGuard Labs.

People around the world have recently experienced something collectively: disruption.

The pandemic has disrupted our lives in almost every way imaginable, from how we procure manufactured goods to how we access healthcare, even to how often we leave our homes. And this disruption has been just as impactful to the digital resources we now all rely on with massive disruptions to networks and infrastructures, new and sophisticated types of ransomware attacking our supply chains, and a spike in exploits targeting Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices.

It’s time for us to do something about it, and Fortinet is here to help.

Cybersecurity presence in Canada

Since 2000, we have been helping protect customers across Canada’s largest sectors, including banking, telecommunications, healthcare, government, and more.

In addition to the over 1,500 Fortinet employees located across Canada, one of our largest cybersecurity footprints worldwide is located in Burnaby, BC. And it includes one of the most sophisticated cybersecurity data centres in the world, processing over 100B threat events a day.

Disrupting the disruptors

FortiGuard Labs is also engaged in creative countermeasures. We actively work with law enforcement agencies and other types of organizations around the world to disrupt cybercriminal supply chains and collaborate on takedowns. Exposing the cybercriminals’ infrastructure puts them at risk and exposes their campaigns, allowing us to beat them at their own game.

But these resources and activities are only part of the equation. In addition to the technology and threat intelligence services we provide, organizations need to do their part. Here are some additional things you can do to turn the tables and start disrupting the disruptors.

Be prepared

The threat landscape continues to dramatically increase, and given the amount of digital innovation most organizations have undergone, the stakes have never been higher.

Identifying your most vulnerable assets and entry points is a critical starting point in fortifying your networks and digital resources against threats. To effectively deal with rapidly expanding and evolving attacks, organizations need to make their security infrastructures more consistent and resilient. This includes:

•Endpoint security, such as endpoint detection and response solutions, to detect and disrupt malware mid-attack 

Zero Trust Access solutions and principles to restrict access and bolster permissions

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies to enhance prevention, accelerate detection, and intelligently block and mitigate threats

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), to protect off-network devices

Don’t fall for it

Technology alone will never be enough. Social engineering is usually the first step in most successful cyberattacks. But rather than targeting technology, it involves the exploitation of the human mind. These attacks often include topical lures, like the pandemic, to phish for end users and employees.

Ransomware Continues

Why is ransomware so pervasive and successful? Because it is really profitable. Stunned victims are often eager to pay, even against some law enforcement recommendations. But the fact is, paying a ransom “enables” their supply chain and reinforces their business model—the criminals might just come back for more. Organizations should look to disrupt their criminal business model by properly encrypting and backing up data, storing it off-network, and using deception technology to confuse attackers and trick them into revealing themselves.

Get educated

To beat the bad guys at their own game, it’s important to become familiar with the tactics they use. The Fortinet NSE Training Institute offers free cybersecurity training for beginners and experts alike to fill that knowledge gap and shore up end users as your first line of defense. Organizations should also be actively recruiting individuals with cybersecurity training. Fortinet recruits much of our top talent from Canadian schools, including BCIT, SFU, and UBC. (I was honored to receive the BCIT Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019.)

Derek Manky is chief of security insights and global threat alliances at Fortinet's FortiGuard Labs.