In today’s digital landscape, the cost of cyber security breaches to businesses is staggering. By 2021, the global cost of cybercrime was expected to top $6 trillion, and what’s more alarming is that around 43% of these attacks are directed at smaller businesses. As businesses continue to rely heavily on technology, it’s crucial to understand that a robust antivirus is no longer sufficient to safeguard your organization’s digital assets and reputation.
Limitations of Antivirus Software
While antivirus software has been a stalwart in the battle against cyber threats, it has its limitations:
- Signature-based Detection: Antivirus software primarily relies on known malware signatures to detect threats. However, this approach falls short when dealing with new, previously unseen malware.
- False Positives and Negatives: Antivirus software can generate false alarms, causing users to ignore real threats. Conversely, it can also miss sophisticated attacks, resulting in security breaches.
- Exploits and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs): Antivirus software struggles to defend against exploits and advanced threats that employ sophisticated techniques to bypass detection.
These limitations are further validated by statistics and industry insights:
- A study conducted by AV-TEST, an independent IT security institute, unveiled that antivirus software exclusively detects approximately 90% of known malware samples, while the Institute registers over 450,000 new malware and potentially unwanted applications (PUA), every day.
- As per findings from the 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, a striking 85% of data breaches involve human interactions, such as phishing or social engineering, which cannot be effectively mitigated by antivirus software alone.
Types of Cyber-Attacks that Bypass Antivirus
Several types of cyber-attacks can easily bypass traditional antivirus solutions:
Phishing: Cybercriminals use deceptive tactics to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information or installing malware.
Data Stealing Malware: Malicious software designed to exfiltrate sensitive data can go undetected by antivirus software.
Zero-Day Vulnerabilities: Antivirus software may not recognize attacks that exploit vulnerabilities unknown to security vendors.
IoT Risks: The Internet of Things (IoT) poses real risks for businesses. The more devices connected to the internet, the more vulnerable they are to hacking attempts that can spread through multiple devices simultaneously.
Third-party Vendor Breaches: Collaborating with third-party vendors can expose businesses to data breaches, as highlighted in our previous blog post.
Notable Breaches of 2023
In 2023, several significant breaches shook the cyber security landscape:
- More than 200 organizations were affected by the breach of the file transfer tool MOVEit in June 2023. Multiple federal agencies and schools in the U.S. were targeted.
- Over 37 million T-Mobile customers’ data was leaked in May 2023’s data breach, revealing PINs, full names, and phone numbers.
- Activision, publisher of Call of Duty, experienced a data breach in December 2023, with employee data accessed through an SMS phishing attack.
- Norton LifeLock suffered a breach in January 2023, with over 6,000 accounts compromised due to a “stuffing” attack, emphasizing the importance of multi-factor authentication.
Robust Cyber Security Solutions Beyond Antivirus
To bolster your organization’s cyber security posture, organisations must consider a combination of these solutions:
- Device Encryption: Protect data at rest on devices to prevent unauthorized access.
- Multi-Factor Authentication: Require multiple forms of verification for enhanced login security.
- Password Manager: Securely store and manage complex passwords.
- Endpoint Detection and Response: Detect and respond to threats at the endpoint level.
- Awareness Trainings: Educate employees on cyber security best practices.
- Network Security: Implement advanced network security measures.
- Regular Data Backups: Ensure data recovery in case of a breach.
- Security Monitoring and Incident Response: Proactively monitor and respond to security incidents.
- Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP): Highlighted as one of the most cost-effective yet comprehensive solutions, MSSPs offer cyber security services and expertise to safeguard your business effectively.
In a world where cyber threats are constantly evolving, relying solely on antivirus software is no longer an option. Businesses must adopt a multi-faceted approach to cyber security, combining advanced solutions like multi-factor authentication, network security, and partnering with Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs). By staying vigilant and proactive, you can protect your organisation from the ever-present threat of cybercrime.