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Evolving cyberattacks call for shift to prediction and response

by ePLDT | Jan 16, 2018
Businesses all over the world are bolstering their Cyber Security capabilities to counter evolving threats in cyberspace. In the Philippines, IDC predicts that by 2018, cyber security will be a “tier-1 business priority”, receiving fixed capital spending for roughly 30 percent of the top 1,000 local companies. While this is a welcome development, a local leader in providing data security also reminds businesses that establishing cyber security protocols is just as important as acquiring the software and technology in order to combat the ever-evolving cyberattacks.

Angel Redoble, Chief Information Security Officer of ePLDT
“Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly large-scale and multifaceted as there are now newer targets such as the cloud and mobile devices. In addition, new types of malware are continually being created, making it difficult for countermeasures to keep up with these threats,” admits Angel Redoble, Chief Information Security Officer of ePLDT, an industry-leading digital enabler of enterprises in the country.
One form of cyber attack that is increasing in popularity is application layer attacks. Imperva Incapsula, one of the DDoS Mitigation partners of ePLDT subsidiary IPC, notes in its Q1 2017 Global DDoS Threat Landscape Report that application layer attacks reached an all-time high of 1,099 attacks per week in the second quarter of 2017, a rise of 23% over the previous quarter’s 892. When successful, application layer attacks can mimic real, human behavior which makes it harder to detect and mitigate. By interfering with the application interface of a website, cybercriminals can alter elements such as text, logos, buttons, and hyperlinks. The many cases of defacement, which made headlines last year during the period leading to the national elections, is an example of this.
“The evolving cyber attacks just prove how critical investing in cyber security is. A single attack can halt businesses completely, and with security gaps increasing with every new technology introduced, cyber security is a must-have for every company that wishes to thrive in today’s age where digital innovation is a key driver of success,” says Redoble, a 23-year veteran in the industry and is now overseeing the cyber security operations of ePLDT.
Cover all bases by being proactive

“Companies must realize they cannot prevent all forms of attacks. There will always be new gaps and vulnerabilities within a system. In order to face these new attacks, companies have to tweak their overall approach to cyber security by adopting a proactive technique that covers the moments before an attack occurs, while an attack is ongoing, and the crucial period after where it may be possible for an attack to happen again,” said Redoble.
Another factor is that every new technology just adds another layer of risk, such as how cybercriminals are now utilizing IoT (Internet of Things) devices to amplify their attacks. With this, ePLDT recommends that a better approach to security is to start focusing on detection through the analysis of data. By collecting data from various sources, such as network traffic, user behavior, and reported attacks, a company can stop an attack before it causes any damage.
“In cases when an attack successfully infiltrates a system, detection protocols play a critical role in identifying the kind of attack early on so the company can take appropriate steps to mitigate or even prevent damage entirely,” said Redoble.
Wanted: Pros in security

ePLDT recognizes that this strategy is difficult to implement considering the lack of dedicated cyber security professionals in many organizations. As a solution, the company suggests handing over the reins of cyber security to IT and data security professionals.
“This step helps remove the burdensome workload of data security, as it entails 24/7, 365-days-a-year coverage from someone who has the skills, technology, and process required to protect businesses against the most devastating attacks,” says Redoble.
A leader in Cyber security services in the country, ePLDT’s Cyber Security portfolio is a suite of solutions that cover homegrown expertise, globally-recognized frameworks, and best-of-breed platforms to defend enterprises from multiple security risks, evolving threats, and malicious software attacks. Its portfolio is further boosted by ePLDT’s vast infrastructure network due to its 9 state-of-the-art data centers and is recognized internationally through its ISO 27001:2005 Information Security Management System (ISMS) certification.
Through its Cyber Security Laboratory and Security Operations Center, ePLDT combats cyberthreats using a security framework that focuses on four quadrants: Prediction, Prevention, Detection, and Response. Some of the lab’s activities include Reverse Engineering, which tracks the source of vulnerability through malware analysis; and Digital Forensics, which identifies and analyzes the codes and methods used in an attack to further improve security.
“At PLDT we are committed, as the country’s leading technology provider, to making innovations as accessible as possible to our clients. That includes ensuring they are properly equipped against the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape of today. In the world we live in, businesses cannot afford to view this as ‘optional’. Together with ePLDT, it is our goal to provide customers with an end-to-end cyber security framework specifically for their needs, to anticipate, mitigate and prevent damages to their business and reputation,” says Jovy Hernandez, Senior Vice President & Head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Groups.  
“When it comes to cyber security, it is no longer enough for companies to employ the traditional security measure that covers skills, process and technology.  Nowadays, it is imperative for every organization to build a very strong capability on Cyber Threat Intelligence, aiming to identify the threat long before it reaches our respective network environment. Covering all of these, however, may be difficult for companies whose expertise is limited in the area of Cyber Security.  This is why we at ePLDT are fulfilling our mission as an enabler of businesses by offering an end-to-end cyber security solution that assures resiliency against the most devastating cyber attacks.”  Said ePLDT Group Chief Operating Officer Nerisse Ramos.

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