Cybersecurity threats are a fact of modern life that puts all organisations and individuals at risk. With constant developments in the tools and tactics used by cybercriminals, there’s an ongoing need to be informed of the latest threats so you can be vigilant in defending against them. Here are some of the major threats that …
PayPal will establish a cybersecurity center in Israel, and also confirmed on Tuesday that it has acquired Israeli cybersecurity startup CyActive. CyActive technology predicts malware development to provide “future proof” security, the company says.
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Rather than concerning themselves with malicious hacker groups like Lizard Squad, business owners may want to learn from federal agencies and look at their insiders and employees as the next threat to their company’s cybersecurity. Bumping up company cybersecurity may not be very effective if your employees aren’t well educated on how they can both reinforce and hamper security.
Facts and Figures
SolarWinds is an IT software management company that conducted a survey with Market Communications in 2014 that shed new light on the true threats to the digital security of the military and federal government. For instance, insider data leakage and theft was named by nearly 30 percent of respondents as the largest liability to cybersecurity. Roughly 40 percent of breaches were the result of poorly trained and careless insiders.
An online survey conducted earlier this month by Stroz Friedberg revealed that senior management might be the biggest vulnerability to a company’s cybersecurity. In the survey, more than 50 percent of senior managers confessed to having sent sensitive information to the wrong address, much lower than the 25 percent of employees who confessed to the same blunder. If that wasn’t bad enough, more than half of surveyed senior managers admitted to taking company files with them when they left their positions. Now may be a good time to get in touch with your old employees to see if they took more than just their desk plants with them on their last day.
The Reason Behind the Risk
Employees and insiders aren’t going out of their way to leave gaps and cracks in federal agency, military and company cybersecurity. There are instances where survey respondents simply didn’t have the money required to beef up security. Competing priorities was another reason for lax cybersecurity, in addition to complex internal environments. While it’s entirely possible for users to set up their own cybersecurity measures, many of them may not truly understand just how intricate digital security is, or how their online and electronic environments truly work.
While the rate at which technology is advancing is all well and good, it can also be a unique liability for users who don’t realize just how outdated their software is. There’s also the fact that not all users give their cybersecurity the degree of time and attention it truly deserves. There may be an ongoing problem or vulnerability users have no idea exists, which means that employees, insiders and management may not be aware they need to take action. Any of these liabilities can lead to a company or federal agency operating at a higher-than-necessary level of avoidable risk.
Rectifying the Situation
Proper education is one of the most powerful and effective methods of boosting cybersecurity no matter if you’re protecting your personal files and information or the personal and classified data of federal employees. In October of 2014, the Department of Energy realized just how many gaping holes there were in the infrastructure of its cybersecurity. Rather than repeating the DOE’s mistakes, you can instead learn from them and use them as a cautionary tale.
Make sure that your information security staff receives proper and regular training on the full scope of their responsibilities. The identity of anyone who logs in to or out of any system should be recorded in order to easily identify where and how a potential security threat may have started. Officials should also keep a close eye on anyone who either deletes or alters any information. Not only should cybersecurity policies for system use be established, but employees should also be made aware of what those policies entail and if they ever change.
Other things you can do include taking regular inventory of technology equipment and creating reports for any stolen or lost assets. All of this might sound tedious and time-consuming, but these methods could also keep your sensitive information safe and in your hands where it belongs.
The True Cost of Recovering From a Cybersecurity Breach
Even the smallest of data breaches can result in major expenses if the stolen information was particularly sensitive. In many states, companies are legally required to inform their customers if they even suspect their cybersecurity was in any way compromised. Not only does this take time away from regular day-to-day business activities, it can cost as much as $ 30 to properly notify each customer. This cost can mount even further if it turns out the suspected cyber attack was an actual attack. When the Department of Energy fell prey to a cyber attack in 2013, it was reported that more than approximately $ 4 million was spent on the cost of recovery.
In addition to a loss of finances and resources, companies and federal agencies also have to worry about a loss of confidence. Current customers and potential customers are sure to think twice about dealing with or entrusting their private information to a business or organization that has sustained a cyber attack in the past. This ripple effect can last for months and possibly even years to come, spreading to shareholder value, financial performance and corporate stability.
The truth is there’s really no way to determine for sure how much a potential or actual cyber attack can cost, no matter if the culprit is an employee, insider or hacker. It’s common for companies to underestimate how vulnerable they are to a security breach, regardless of how sophisticated and up-to-date their security measures might be.
Account for Every Contingency
Even if you already have an insurance policy that covers data security, there’s a chance it’s limited to only certain exposures and includes dedicated limits. As you’re upgrading your security and making sure your employees and insiders are well informed on new and current security measures, talk with your insurance provider to see how protected you actually are from a cyber threat. It’s always best to have more insurance and assurance than you think you may need.
No matter how busy companies, federal agencies and individuals may get, it’s essential they all take time out to learn about major threats to their cybersecurity that exist interiorly and exteriorly. Keep your digital kingdom safe behind gates reinforced with education, preparation and preservation.
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US President Barack Obama has proposed a $ 3.99 trillion budget for fiscal year 2016 on Monday that includes $ 14 billion for boosting cybersecurity programs in the country.
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As part of his series of State of the Union Address previews, President Barack Obama recently spoke at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center. He announced his intention to introduce new legislation to prosecute more easily cybercriminals and promote the flow of information regarding cyberthreats between the government and the private sector.
National security, economic prosperity, and individual liberties are dependent upon a secure cyberspace and an interoperable, open, reliable, and secure Internet. Critical infrastructures continue to be at risk from cyberthreats. In addition, the economy is harmed by the theft of intellectual property. The threats are constantly evolving and quite serious, but when effectively addressed, the Internet platform can remain a safe area for economic growth and freedom of safe international exchange.
Principles to Strengthen Cybersecurity
Broadband networks and the related wireless signals combine to create the cyberspace that is an integral part of and surrounds our daily lives. Classified intelligence and military networks keep us safe while the World Wide Web keeps us interconnected. These massive grids power the infrastructures of our nation. Securing the cyberspace ensures the growth of the economy of the nation and protection of our accepted way of life.
President Obama indicated that the Administration is employing the following principles in its approach to strength the cybersecurity of the nation:
- Whole-of-government approach
- Network defense first
- Protection of civil and private liberties
- Public-private collaboration
- International engagement and cooperation
Top Five Priorities for Implementing Cybersecurity
Cyberspace is as real as the risks that are associated with it. The very technologies that empower us to build and create also empower those who seek to disrupt and destroy. This unseen paradox is present and experienced on a daily basis. In this age of information, our greatest strengths can also be our largest vulnerabilities. Economic prosperity depends on cybersecurity, making it a matter of national security and public safety. Pursuing a new comprehensive approach to securing digital infrastructures must focus on five priorities and key areas, including:
- Protecting critical infrastructures from cyberthreats. Working collaboratively with critical infrastructure operators and owners ensures protection of the most sensitive infrastructures from cybersecurity threats. Working with specific industries increases the sharing of actionable threat warnings and information between the United States Government and the private sector. In addition, spreading industry-led cybersecurity best practices and standards to the more vulnerable assets and companies develops collaboration and enhances cybersecurity.
- Identify and report cyber incidents. The ability to characterize and detect cyber incidents is enhanced by improving incident reporting and response. Additionally, sharing information and responding in a timely manner further encompasses law enforcement, network defense, and intelligence collection initiatives to further understand the potential adversaries in cyberspace.
- Promote Internet freedom to build a secure, interoperable, open, and reliable cyberspace. Cyberspace crosses international boundaries. For that reason, engaging with international partners is vital to the success of the global economy. Creating incentives and a building consensus on an international environment enables recognition of the value of interoperable, open, reliable, and secure cyberspace. By opposing efforts that restrict international freedoms, we can eliminate the multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance. This approach will also halt the imposition of bureaucratic and political layers that are unable to keep up with the speed of technological change.
- Set clear security targets to secure federal networks by holding agencies accountable for meeting the targets. Improving the security of all federal networks by setting clear targets for agencies includes holding them accountable to achieve those targets. Additionally, deploying improved technology enables rapid discovery of and response to threats of federal systems, data, and networks. In fact, the Cybersecurity Cross Agency Priority Goal outlines the leading cybersecurity preferences for protecting and guarding unclassified federal networks.
- Move beyond passwords by partnering with the private sector to shape a cyber-savvy workplace. Anticipating the future means working to develop a cyber-savvy work environment and to make cyberspace ultimately more inherently secure. Prioritizing development, research, and technology transitions and harnessing private sector innovation ensures that activities continue to respect the civil liberties, privacy, and rights of all Americans. The federal government is partnering with academia and the private sector to support and encourage the innovation needed to make cyberspace inherently more secure.
Web Hosts and Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has been gaining prominence within the Department of Defense over the last few years, referring to it as the ultimate team sport. No one single element of the population or the government has the complete answer to the growing problem. It will take the combination of working together to come up with a solution.
New cybersecurity legislation will promote greater information sharing between the private sector and government. In addition, it will provide liability protection for companies that share information on cyberthreats. This information includes potential safeguards to ensure that the government protects civil liberties and privacy while safeguarding critical information networks. Much of the nation’s critical infrastructures, such as financial systems, pipelines, power grids, and health care systems run on public networks connected to the Internet. However, the majority are owned and operated by the private sector.
The Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, scheduled for February 2015, will focus on addressing efforts to protect Americans and national companies from the growing threats to commercial and consumer networks. President Obama reiterated that neither the private sector nor the government can defend cyberspace alone. It must be a shared mission as partners.
For instance, if the proposed legislation passes, it will require companies in the United States to notify customers within 30 days after discovering a data breach. Currently, each state has different laws in place to respond to data breaches. This federal legislation would replace state laws to make it consistent across the country. Making it illegal to wait for months to notify customers of a data breach will limit the window of time that data thieves have to use the confidential information.
New Cybersecurity Partnerships
Cyberthreats pose an enormous challenge. For that reason, government and non-government entities must form new cybersecurity partnerships to ensure that they are working as closely together as possible. Additional steps call for modernized law enforcement, more information sharing between the public and private sectors, and updated security data breach reporting capabilities.
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Many of the major data breaches of 2014 affected large businesses and corporations, though a number of small- and medium-sized businesses also experienced malicious attacks on company data. Regional chains, municipal government agencies, and even non-profit organizations have had to tighten their security protocols in order to prevent similar breaches from occurring. A whole new population of business owners and security managers are exploring the most modern solutions to the ever-evolving problem of data security.
Learning From the Best
Major online corporations like Google are at the forefront of electronic security. Their on-going research helps raise the standard of data integrity for everyone, not just the people they directly serve. The Google security team has helpfully made available a number of lessons used for internal training. This information can be used by other agencies to improve their own security protocols. Other organizations can also follow Google’s example by fostering a company culture of security.
Along with video lessons, Google has also shared research on a number of topics related to electronic security, such as:
- Browser security
- Privacy and its preservation
- Cloud authorization
- Secure data outsourcing
- Account hijacking
- Access control
Exploring Free Security Resources
Every dollar makes a difference, especially to small and growing businesses. Luckily there are a number of free lessons and training courses in data security available for anyone to use. These lessons will introduce company employees to many essential subjects related to current electronic safety and security.
Infragard Awareness is a resource with tools and educational materials aimed at increasing overall workplace security through positive shifts in company culture. Infragard specifically offers tools that help businesses increase their resistance to identity theft and general cyber crime though customized training courses are also available. These tools make it easy to introduce essential topics regarding electronic workplace security to employees and other agents.
To begin using the training tools designed by Infragard Awareness, simply create an account on the website. You can begin using the educational modules and course materials right away
Another free online resource worth exploring is a series of webcasts offered by the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. The MS-ISAC National Webcast Initiative is a collection of educational materials developed by the cyber security division of US Homeland Security. These webcasts are intended to provide users with the means to protect themselves and their information on the Internet. This material is ideal for people without a technical background. The educational tools, videos, and other material can be used by businesses to begin essential conversations about company cyber security. Various technical subjects are also covered, so employees without a technical background as well as those responsible for implementing cyber security protocols will also find a great deal of relevant information.
SANS Cyber Aces Online offers a broad collection of training courses appropriate for technical and non-technical users interested in improving electronic security. The SANS Institute is widely recognized as one of the leaders in modern global computer security and aims to help raise the standard of this important aspect of personal and company safety. The educational modules offered on this website include networking, system administration, and operating systems.
These learning modules are excellent for individuals, schools, businesses, and educators. The information presented is specific to cyber security and introduces key concepts to users in an engaging way. Additionally, courses are updated periodically to preserve the accuracy and relevance of the educational materials. Explore this resource; you are sure to find many helpful learning tools.
Especially for Small Businesses
The US Small Business Association has several online video lessons specifically designed to address the security concerns of small and growing businesses. These can be viewed at your convenience right in your Internet browser. The lessons are approximately half an hour long and can be easily used to augment an existing training program. The material is geared to non-technical users in particular though some technical users will find these tools helpful, especially when seeking ways to communicate complex issues to people without a technical background.
You will find it worth your time to explore the US SBA website to discover other security-related tools and resources. The Small Business Association maintains a directory of local resources, too. There may be several relevant agencies not far away that can connect you with other free and low-cost training and educational materials that will help increase your business’s electronic security.
Lessons From Educational Experts
Cyber security degree programs are offered through many colleges and universities; a few of these institutions have made certain educational materials available for free to the public. Stanford University has a series of business and technology lectures on video that can be streamed instantly. These lectures are offered by university professors in classroom settings. Not only will these videos provide viewers with a comprehensive understanding of various technology-related subjects, they can be used to augment training materials obtained from other organizations. Additionally, the videos can be downloaded for later viewing.
And finally, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers a non-credit version of their Network and Computer Security course that can be taken online for free. The course covers all essential aspects of computer security, including software protection, operating system security, cryptography, authentication, and risk assessment. This is a great course for anyone interested in the technical side of cybersecurity. Simply follow the steps on the website to register for the non-credit class.
Other Security Resources to Explore
There is a wide range of cost-based security courses and training programs that are worth exploring, too. Cost-based programs tend to involve more time investment and so may not be the right fit for every organization. Still, a few security courses stand out from the crowd; you may find these worth exploring at a later time.
Texas A&M Engineering offers several web-based training programs in cybersecurity. These can be taken for college credit; courses specific to the needs of technical and non-technical users are offered. Carnegie Mellon University can boast of its computer science program, which is currently ranked as one of the top five in the world. Educational materials and course offerings can be explored in more detail in their CyLab.
Enhancing Security Through Education
Education is a key part of security enhancement. Non-technical employees have to understand the relevance of cybersecurity in order to properly support the efforts of technical security measures. These free resources will help begin this important training dialogue and can be used to introduce this complex, yet essential, topic.
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