Automation has certainly proved its potential in the recent years and has stood to be a replacement for humans. Though the inception was very dicey as the implementation was pain staking but today with modern technologies and platforms available, the prospects of automation is heading towards progression making our lives easier. Although automation has been widely used in various sectors, this article will focus on the application of automation in the cybersecurity space. Furthermore, it also examines some of the applications of automation that has been put to good use and on the other hand, about the bad actors who are making complete use of it to execute sophisticated attacks with more ease.
Nevertheless, phishing attacks have been long existing in the cyber world, automation has enabled the execution of the attack to be performed in an efficient fashion. One of the fears that has grown in the recent times is the automated spear phishing attacks. Phishing attack does differ from a spear phishing attack, the difference being that the former is targeted towards multiple individuals where in the latter is usually targeted towards a specific individual. Also, as society keeps on struggling with the effect of COVID-19, all things considered, these automated skewer phishing attacks will go after the feelings of fears around the pandemic, legislative issues and the economy.
Threat actors usually would host a site HTML document intended to imitate an authentic site like Microsoft 365 or Google Drive to derive credentials presented by clueless victims. However, in 2021, these organizations will make use of automated instruments and file validation techniques that will identify hoaxed authentication gateways. Additionally, with the current workflow environment aka work from home (WFH) is a huge benefitting factor for cybercriminals. In a fashion, the odds of the attackers to infiltrate an organization becomes comparatively easier to attack an individual working for a corporate organization. The only target that attacker needs to aim for is a VPN or Virtual Private Network or a RDP (Remote Desktop Program) and by compromising the VPN program, the gateway directly opens to the corporate network. As MFA or MultiFactor Authentication has also been proven that it can be breached, any services not employing MFA or continuous authentication are prone to attacks.
As we see the potential risk factors that automation has aided cyber criminals, on the other hand it has been a very valuable tool for cybersecurity professionals. One of the features that I would like to discuss here is the application for automation for threat intelligence. There is no second thought around the requirement of threat intelligence as it enables a better cyber defense and a detection when encountered with a possible attack or breach. Automation is known to improve and increase the accuracy of threat intelligence over manual intervention. Additionally, replacing human intervention to manually test for vulnerabilities, the automation platform has greatly enhanced the detecting of security vulnerabilities with effortlessness. Finally, it does reduce the margin for error which is definitely a factor that needs to be considered with manual intervention.
Automation has definitely proved its benefit in the cybersecurity world and is heading towards a progressive growth and at the same time attackers are making use of automation to launch sophisticated attacks with ease. I guess, notwithstanding, one ought to expect a significant increase in phishing attacks in 2021 because of automation. In addition, cyber criminals realize that nervousness and vulnerability make victims simpler to abuse. As society keeps on brawling with the effect of COVID-19, global political struggle, and general financial uncertainty in 2021, one needs to be more careful and more vigilant in comparison to the bad actors and make use of available security mechanisms to stay secure and safeguard our information against possible cyber attacks.