So now we know what ‘Gen 6’ is, what do we do about it?…:
Cyber Attack Generation Timeline
In the 1980s hackers were using viruses to attack standalone PCs. These were usually spread via floppy disks. They impacted organisations, as well as individuals, and led to the development of signature-based anti-virus products.
Defence: Anti-virus protection
Attack: Network attacks
By the mid-90s fast-spreading worm attacks came directly from the evermore ubiquitous internet, requiring companies to install firewalls at the perimeter of their infrastructure to keep cybercriminals out.
Defence: The firewall
In the early noughties attackers began exploiting vulnerabilities in applications, potentially affecting all the companies that use those applications. It is also around this time that the motivation of attacks appears to change from recognition to remuneration. The idea of cybercrime as a business comes into effect.
Early examples of botnets are used, particularly for sending out spam. This generation of attacks leads to the development of intrusion detection systems, which themselves quickly added remedial capabilities and became intrusion prevention systems (IPS). IDS/IPS was still based on signatures.
Defence: Intrusion prevention (IPS)
Attack: The payload
In the latter years of that decade, we begin to witness the rise of targeted attacks for which there were no signatures. This led people to adopt the phrase “unknown unknowns” coined by then US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, in a speech about the lack of hard evidence of weapons of mass destruction. The quality of malware code improves significantly and the first rootkits start to appear.
Defence: Behavioural analysis
Attack: Multi-vector attacks
Starting in 2017, we see large-scale, often state-sponsored mega-attacks, with the potential to affect many companies, since most enterprises are still stuck in the second- or third-generation cybersecurity tools, characterised by point solutions.
Attackers who are not sponsored by nation states also now have access to the same powerful infrastructure that enables such attacks, raising the prospect of greater, and wider, use of such strong-arm tactics against many more targets.
Defence: Multi-vector prevention
As 5G networks roll out, the use of connected IoT devices will likely accelerate dramatically. They will increase networks’ vulnerability to large-scale, multi-vector Gen 5 cyber attacks. IoT devices and their connections to networks and clouds are a weak link in security, according to Check Point researchers. This is because it is hard to get visibility of these devices that can have complex security requirements. What is needed, they says, is a more holistic approach to IoT security, combining traditional and new controls to protect these ever-growing networks across all industry and business sectors.
Defence: Nano security
The new generation (Gen 6) of security will be based on nano security agents. These micro-plugins can work with any device or operating system in any environment, controlling all data that flows to and from the device, and giving always-on security.