October 16, 2013

Three Reasons Cybercriminals Steal Data and Six Ways to Stop Them

Rose Ryan

The theft of intellectual property (IP) is changing the future of industries, economies and entire countries. Cybercriminals, hacktivists and nation-states are increasingly targeting the vital data of governments and businesses on a daily basis. These attacks are generally driven by three primary objectives:

  1. Gaining security credentials for future attacks. Cybercriminals want to open a door into a business-and keep it open for future data theft opportunities. Once security credentials are known, the attacker can re-enter the network, pilfer their desired data and cut and run. Alternatively, they can stay within the system and perpetrate ongoing attacks that continue to pump dollars into their coffers. We've all read the stories of bad actors repeatedly siphoning credit card data, for example. However, this door is increasingly being left open to enable IP theft, leading to the second objective in data stealing attacks.
  2. Seeking trade secrets to gain competitive advantage. The incentive for IP theft is clear; it can diminish the competitive advantage of one organization, subsequently benefiting another.
  3. Getting back at an employer. While we don't like to fathom a once trusted employee is capable of lifting IP, the threat is very real. According to Ibid, 14 percent of attacks involve an insider attempting to steal data, and more than 70 percent of these attacks occur within 30 days of their departure.

The common denominator among these is yielding a financial gain for the assailant. Simply put, cybercrime is a nameless, faceless way for those bent on doing harm to steal data and turn a profit. The anonymity of cyberattacks is appealing to those looking to damage free enterprise and make a quick buck.

Six ways to stop cybercriminals

Due to historically complex and costly implementations, many security professionals viewed data loss prevention (DLP) as a burden. There were also very few brave souls willing to cope with the high consulting fees that made ROI tough to gauge. Legacy deployment models seemed to cement the poor perception of DLP projects among information security professionals. This perception has carried over to present day despite the dramatic uptick in malicious activity and data stealing attacks.

But now, those attacks, combined with new deployment models, may be shifting the perception tide. More security professionals have waded into the waters of integrated DLP via email and web security solution. Full enterprise DLP implementations are rapidly increasing and anticipated to surge in the year ahead.

There is an emergent realization that, if implemented correctly, DLP strategies can protect your competitive advantages and prevent espionage by securing IP. Click here to download an article on the six steps to successfully deploy DLP controls, including: calculate the value of your data; make your ROI case; monitor and log your data; apply data security controls; find your data; and implement proactive protection and increase employee education.

The protection of IP is the primary impetus behind the growing number of DLP deployments. And as the number of organizations move from DLP functionality on their gateways to the implementation of comprehensive DLP solutions, they are beginning to see significant value.

What is your IP worth?

Analysis consistently shows that DLP projects that reach the prevention phase show positive results, including fewer data loss incidents, lower risk and definable ROI. Research also indicates that migrating from simple monitoring to the prevention phase of a DLP deployment greatly reduces data loss incidents. Over time, users learn the difference between acceptable and unacceptable use of confidential data.

Has your organization been the victim of an IP theft attempt? How are you preparing to stop these attacks? We want to hear your story. Please feel free to leave us a comment below.

About Forcepoint

Forcepoint is the leading user and data protection cybersecurity company, entrusted to safeguard organizations while driving digital transformation and growth. Our solutions adapt in real-time to how people interact with data, providing secure access while enabling employees to create value.