Palo Alto Networks: Spend 'smartly' on cybersecurity amid new tech threats

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 29 2022 04:52 PM | Updated as of Nov 30 2022 09:21 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) –– Companies must spend "smartly" on cybersecurity in 2023 as new innovations such as 5G and the Metaverse could deepen the scope of threats next year, officials of Palo Alto Networks Inc. said Tuesday. 

In 2023, the accelerated adoption of 5G could "deepen vulnerabilities," according to Palo Alto Networks’ 2023 APAC cybersecurity predictions. 

It said 5G delivery is built on cloud architecture and although the cloud provides scalability and performance, it also exposes 5G to cloud vulnerability. 

The rise of the Metaverse is also likely to widen the playground for cybercriminals since bad actors are attracted to the money, Palo Alto said, adding that an estimated $54 billion were spent on virtual goods every year.

Although seen to unlock new opportunities for businesses and consumers, the use of the Metaverse would also expose new vulnerabilities. 

"I would say spend more smartly. It’s not just about throwing money into the problem. They really need to think long and hard on how to make it more effective… The problem is that they’re not spending wisely," said Ian Lim, Palo Alto Field Chief Security Officer for Japan and the Asia Pacific.

Firms must use platforms that have the correct tools to respond to threats quickly, among others, which will also enable them to save money, Lim added. 

Being vigilant and aware of current and emerging threats will enable companies to defend themselves and ensure continued business operations, Palo Alto Networks Regional Vice President for ASEAN Steven Scheurmann said.

"The fluidity of today’s cyberattacks will require business leaders to reimagine their cybersecurity approach constantly. Leaders must consider innovative solutions, technologies, and approaches that outperform traditional mechanisms," he said.

SAFEGUARDING MEDICAL DEVICES, CLOUD SUPPLY CHAIN 

Palo Alto Networks said securing medical devices is also crucial next year as digitalization enables innovative capabilities such as virtual healthcare and remote diagnosis, among others. 

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital adoption in the healthcare industry, it added.

Aside from smart medical devices, huge amounts of patient data must also be secured, Palo Alto Director for Industry 4.0 Strategy Alex Nehmy told reporters in a virtual briefing.

Healthcare is "attractive" to cybercriminals due to the sensitive data linked to its systems, the firm said. Other possible risks include identity theft and intellectual property infringements, it added.

"All these combined can result in negative outcome for patients... Healthcare needs to have a cyber secure foundation in order to build that digital transformation," Nehmy said.

"It’s not just medical devices that are going digital but most of the medical records so that the whole healthcare industry is becoming digital both from the physical devices and the digital records. This does allow a lot of positives for health care…. But attackers are looking at weaponizing this digitalization," Nehmy said. 

Palo Alto also predicted more disruptions due to cloud adoption in the supply chain in the coming years. It said about 37 percent of organizations expect software supply chain attacks to increase most in 2023.

The firm also predicted that the debate on "data sovereignty" will intensify next year since the majority of the world is becoming "more reliant on data and digital information.

With these predictions in mind, companies must leverage partners that offer tools not just to respond to attacks but to also predict threats to fortify their systems.

Meanwhile, for those keen on entering the industry, Scheurmann said there is a "critical shortage" of cybersecurity talents and expertise globally. 

At least 3 in 4 Philippine firms have suffered from a form of cyber attack, according to an earlier report by another cybersecurity firm. 

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