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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Professional Services Firms and Cyber Risk

Release Date: October 2022
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Since 2004 the President and Congress have declared October to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In support of this tradition, the Professional Services Practice at Aon is highlighting the cyber risk faced by professional services firms and bringing you thought leadership and solutions.


Highlighted Thought Leadership:


Highlighted Solution for Cybersecurity Awareness Month:


Cyber Threat Hunting

The focus of cybersecurity efforts over the last several years has been on ransomware, a large and immediate threat and one that has disproportionately targeted professional services firms.

However, hidden behind the noise and distraction of ransomware has been a more persistent and insidious threat, largely the work of state actors and often referred to as “APTs” (Advanced Persistent Threat).

As indicated by the label, these actors are extremely sophisticated, determined and relentless.

These actors are not motivated by the quick payoff of a ransomware attack; they work on longer term aims, primarily targeting valuable information that they can leverage for financial gain.

The primary operating method of these state actors is stealth. They want to avoid being discovered in order to maximize their long-term objectives, whether that is, for example, obtaining information about corporate activity to leverage for profit and competitive advantage, stealing intellectual property, or obtaining information about prominent individuals to advance geopolitical goals.

The sophistication of these actors is demonstrated by the persistence that is revealed when they are discovered. The Professional Service Practice at Aon has managed several cyber claims where logs confirmed presence of the threat actors for at least two years, often with no certainty of when the attack began. In 2016 two major law firms were named and “other major law firms” implicated, but not named, in an article in the Wall Street Journal as victims of such an attack.

Published reports indicate that the persistence of these types of threats is over 200 days on average, although even this number may be artificially low due to unavailability of log records beyond a certain point.

Finding and responding to one of these stealth actors is not as simple as waiting for, or expecting, existing tools, no matter how sophisticated, to pick up and alert the victim of anomalous behavior on the network. All businesses have a unique cyber footprint, which requires a cyber threat hunt designed to align with the specific needs of their network setup and layout.

Stroz Friedberg leverages its unique experience in digital forensics, law enforcement techniques, and technical and risk management programs bringing threat hunting capabilities built around the needs and capabilities of each client's business.

Learn more about cyber resilience here.

Learn more about Stroz Friedberg's threat hunting capabilities here.




Contact


The Professional Services Practice at Aon values your feedback. To discuss any of the topics raised in this article, please contact Tom Ricketts or Brian Kill.

Tim Ricketts

Tom Ricketts
Senior Vice President and Cyber Risk Leader
New York





Brian Kill

Brian Kill
Senior Vice President and Executive Director
Radnor