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Business Risk Profile: Telecommunications

Telecommunications companies play an important role in providing the critical infrastructure that enables global interconnectivity. Each day, billions of people around the world rely on telecommunications services for business, personal correspondence, education, entertainment, and general information.

The pervasiveness of telecommunications in modern society—an estimated two-thirds of the global adult population either owns a smartphone or uses the Internet at least occasionally—makes companies operating within the sector an attractive target for a wide range of cyber and physical adversaries. First and foremost, telecom companies hold a wealth of personally identifiable information (PII) due to the sheer size of their customer bases. If compromised, this data can be used to commit fraud or sold to other cybercriminals on the Deep & Dark Web (DDW). Adversaries may also target the telecom sector to disrupt the day-to-day operations of subscribers or the companies themselves.

Given the sheer scope of the threats facing the telecommunications sector, a growing number of telecom companies are turning to Business Risk Intelligence (BRI) to gain comprehensive visibility into DDW communities where threat actors congregate, conspire, and exchange resources. By providing strategic and actionable intelligence, Flashpoint helps telecom companies mitigate a broad spectrum of cyber and physical risks, some of which pertain to:

Insider Threats

Since many companies’ enterprise security teams tend to focus on combating external threats, efforts to detect and mitigate insider threats may be hindered by a lack of specialized expertise or resources. In fact, the telecom sector has long been known to employ robust external defenses—a characteristic that has in some cases positioned current and former telecom employees as integral to malicious schemes involving the access and abuse of network credentials, intellectual property, and other invaluable company assets. 

DDoS Attacks

As one of the greatest threats facing the sector, successful DDoS attacks have been known to cause extensive periods of downtime for telecom services. Given the crucial role of telecommunications in today’s information-based society, severe service outages can be highly disruptive for subscribers, leading to considerable financial and reputational damages for the telecom providers. 

Emerging Malware

Cybercriminals are continually developing new strains of malware and exploits that target unpatched or unknown vulnerabilities in order to subvert the latest enterprise security measures. Before being deployed to wreak havoc on unsuspecting targets, emerging forms of malware are typically discussed, developed, and distributed within the covert cybercriminal communities of the DDW. Without visibility into these communities, however, telecom companies may be unable to proactively anticipate and mitigate what threat actors have up their sleeves.

Incident Response

When all else fails and a security incident or breach occurs, it is crucial that telecom organizations be able to quickly verify a breach and mitigate any additional exposure. In many cases, threat actors take measures to obfuscate their identity, the origin of the attack, the extent of the damage, and other key pieces of information. As such, extensive linguistic, social, and cultural expertise—in addition to a comprehensive visibility into relevant DDW communities—is required to piece together the full story behind an incident.

Business Risk Intelligence (BRI) for the Telecommunications Sector

To effectively navigate an increasingly volatile risk landscape, telecom companies must adopt a comprehensive, cross-functional approach to intelligence. BRI is quickly becoming the new industry standard for addressing a broad spectrum of business risks with insights gleaned from the DDW. To learn more about how Flashpoint can help telecom companies gain a decision advantage over adversaries, download our Business Risk Intelligence (BRI) for the Telecommunications Sector use cases.

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About the author: Chris Camacho

Chris Camacho partners with Flashpoint's executive team to develop, communicate, and execute strategic initiatives. With over 15 years of cybersecurity leadership experience, he has led initiatives across Operational Strategy, Incident Response, Threat Management, and Security Operations to ensure cyber risk postures align with business goals. An entrepreneur, Mr. Camacho also serves as CEO for NinjaJobs, a career-matching community for elite cybersecurity talent. He has a BS in Decision Sciences & Management of Information Systems from George Mason University.