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CSC 2022 Predictions: Increased Focus on Preventative Security Measures across Forbes Global 2000 Companies including Retail and Insurance Providers

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual series exclusive.

Increased Focus on Preventative Security Measures across Forbes Global 2000 Companies including Retail and Insurance Providers

By Ihab Shraim, Chief Technology Officer, CSC DBS

With cybercrime on the rise, companies and government agencies in 2021 experienced increased threat vectors targeting corporate and government online domain name portfolios, including  ransomware (malware), phishing, online brand abuse, trademark infringements, business email compromise (BEC) and supply chain attacks. Looking forward to 2022, with domain cyber threats rising, we see companies and government agencies are more exposed to much higher risks in the coming year.

Improving their online domain name portfolio cybersecurity posture needs to be a greater focus for companies going into the New Year. Unprotected domain names pose a significant threat to their online overall cyber security posture, leading to potential data exfiltration, intellectual property theft, supply chain issues, revenue leakage and/or loss, and reputation damage.  

The Retail Industry Ups Its Domain Security Game: CSC's annual assessment of verticals' domain security practices showed the retail industry was lagging other verticals when it comes to domain name security measure implementations. However, this holiday season will be a forcing mechanism for the retail industry, which is faced with massive supply chain issues leaving their customers searching and guessing where they can find their next gifts. Unconsciously searching on domains that seem associated with the retail brand they love but are actually owned by nefarious third parties will put more consumers at risk, and retailers will respond in the New Year by implementing measures such as utilizing certificate authority authorization (CAA) records. This measure allows a retail brand to designate a specific certificate authority (CA) to be the sole issuer of certificates for the company's domains.

Phishing Attacks Will Increase in Frequency: Companies will continue to fall to cyberattacks, with the most dangerous types being phishing attacks that lead to ransomware (malware) attacks or impersonation fraud that leads to PII theft. Phishing campaigns launched by bad actors capitalize on targeting their attacks based on seasonal holidays and world events (e.g. COVID). In 2022, we will see these types of attacks mostly delivered via targeted email campaigns, as they are using them as an enabler for the next big attack. Adversaries are creating nefarious domains with legitimate brands consumers otherwise think are safe, adding them to different platforms such as the various types of social media, search engines, copycat websites, and fake online stores to give them a false sense of security. We will see more companies leveraging best practices for security protocols, and implementing preventative measures (e.g. registry locks to prevent domain hijacking, phishing partnerships, etc.) to protect themselves in this digital-first global economy.

See RSA Conference 2021 presentation on "Critical DNS & Domain Name Security Intelligence to Thwart Cyberattacks":

Brand Infringement and Abuse: We are seeing a continued spike in third party domain registrations since early 2020. In comparison to previous years, we are also seeing attacks being started earlier (i.e. registrations lying dormant for longer) before fraud taking place. Looking at our trending Q4 2021 enforcements, this tends to be coming from retail registrars. Looking to other trends, CSC is also seeing increased attention by social media platforms on developing greater tools for enforcement on their networks. Facebook, now Meta, has recently greatly advanced its tools and we expect to see others follow suit. Finally, 2022 may be the year where marketplaces are held to account for online counterfeiting in ways we have not seen before. We have seen a number of countries announce legislation targeting these issues; in fact, the UK and U.S. are in the final stages of passing laws. The key will be how these are implemented and if they fragment and decentralize their policies on a local level.

Security Posture and Threat Intelligence: CISOs have a huge responsibility toward detecting, analyzing and mitigating threat vectors targeting their corporation and/or government agencies. They need full visibility of external threats targeting their exposed online surfaces (domain name portfolios, DNS, websites, etc.) and of internal threats (shadow IT, rogue employees, etc.). Therefore, we predict that this topic is going to gain much more focus in 2022 as corporations and government agencies are going to have deeper focus on connecting the dots between these various threat vectors. Moreover, connecting the dots means analyzing and correlating these security events via machine learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. Lastly, it is crucial to corporations and government agencies to either do it themselves or pick partners who are specialized in detecting, analyzing, mitigating and applying global enforcements in order to address the various external threat vectors targeting them.

Emergence of Internal Domain Security Focus: Domain security will grow in importance in terms of protecting companies from a wide array of cyberattack vectors, including phishing. Due to increasing interest in securing domains, more organizations will be developing domain security councils and teams, which will be part of InfoSec, marketing and legal teams. This responsibility will be embedded in the DNA of the security posture.

In the past, brand protection bad actors were focused on three different types of attacks, namely brand abuse, brand infringement and brand revenue leakage. There is significant evidence the deployment methods of brand threats are now resembling fraud threat vectors (e.g. phishing). Therefore, the InfoSec teams will be more focused on securing the domain name portfolio to protect against these two threat vectors.

Increased Focus on Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC): We've seen a focus on DMARC in the U.S. as a way to protect organizations. However, moving forward in 2022, we will see this become of greater importance internationally as well. The recent CSC Domain Security research showed that only 50% of Forbes 2000 Global companies surveyed were using DMARC. In looking at a company's' security posture, we can see that they have DMARC, but what we can't see is if it is put into working order. DMARC is an email validation system designed to protect a company's email domain from being used for email spoofing, phishing scams, and other cybercrime. It's very easy to spoof email and make it look like it's being sent from a legitimate source when it really isn't. Authenticating the email channel with DMARC minimizes the incidence of email spoofing and potential phishing.

Cybersecurity Insurance Providers Start to Scrutinize Companies' Domain Security Practices: In 2022 and beyond, cybersecurity insurance will become more focused on including domain name portfolio scoring in order to evaluate the security posture of a particular corporation. In the past, this area was just a normal checklist item, however, with the rise of the various threat vectors targeting the domain name portfolio, there will certainly be more attention on it in the cybersecurity world.



Ihab Shraim 

Ihab Shraim is the chief technology officer (CTO) with CSC DBS. He is responsible for the vision, innovation, and product revenue growth within the company's cyber security, domain security, fraud protection, and brand protection lines of business.

Published Friday, December 31, 2021 9:35 AM by David Marshall
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