To the average business owner these terms are pure mumbo jumbo. But if cyber security is defined as integrity, confidentiality and availability, then it is certainly something you need to understand, and if not then you need to get help to protect your computer information. It’s time you found someone who does understand the meaning of these terms and knows how to protect your business from the damaging effects of these vulnerabilities.
Known in the industry as ICA (Integrity Confidentiality and Availability), proper ICA methods allow your company to recover from and defend against network accidents, hard drive failures and server system power outages. But equally as important, proper vulnerability preparedness can defend against cyber attacks by hostile outside forces, competitors, script kiddies, hackers and fun seekers who derive pleasure simply from taking you down. To be safe and secure, your business needs to plan for business continuity and vulnerability disaster recovery in the event of a PC network security breach.
No Ifs, Ands or Buts
Security must start at the top of your organization. Protection against data breaches is something even your CEO should embrace. The information world we live is a fragile – one that can be entered and attacked – so it demands powerful and constant cyber security controls. All systems – no matter whether you use a server or keep your data in the cloud – should contain certain security standards all employees must be properly trained in and vigorously adhered to. Anything coded by one human can be decoded by another and all code has flaws and bugs that can be exploited.
Security Training Is a Must Do
The weakest link is always the human element which means that if you use developers, they need to be trained to produce secure code. Staff must be trained to take a strong security stance. End users need to understand and look out for phishing and social engineering attacks. Internal panic can be averted when you know what to look for.
It Will Happen – A Breach through a Security Vulnerability is Just a Matter of When
At some point, every company is in danger of a cyber attack even with the best cyber controls. Hackers are always going to attack the weakest point. But if your company practices basic security control many of those attacks are preventable. That operation is often referred to as “cyber hygiene.”
It’s is no different than washing your hands before you sit down to dinner. But in the world of Internet privacy it means employing strong authentication practices and never storing sensitive data where it can be accessible. This may mean finding a good Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP), using cloud security or specialized data breach systems.
The point is you need to be proactive and go well beyond the basics. Hackers today are sophisticated and shrewd. They can circumvent most defenses and their methods are growing in complexity and proficiency every day. And all of us are increasingly vulnerable.
Everything Connected Can Mean Everything Open to Attack
The electric grid, banks, even cars and power plants can now be threatened. Even the once sacred election process is now compromised by foreign sources. And as more and more organization migrate to the cloud, as more employees bring their own devices into the workplace and new challenges arise, businesses need to be prepared and bump up their data penetration testing, as well as their server hardening systems.
A strong, vigilant and constant check and defense of your systems has never been more important.
Privacy Is King
Now more than ever, privacy is king around the globe. Consumers want their information kept safe by vendors and the regulatory climate around consumer privacy is a huge issue today. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a strict framework for this. It demands that organizations meet the privacy and security mandates of the GDPR and other regulations.
Cyber Professionals Are in High Demand
Business of all types need to protect themselves from a compromised situation. In doing so they need to hire managed security services providers, which means cyber security is a growth industry and will continue as advances are instituted and hackers seek to undo them. Companies need to sharply access their areas of greatest vulnerability and seek out professionals that can defend them.
What Level of Cyber Security Do You Need?
Every company and system is different but there still are general rules and steps we can all use
Network security is a must. Paying attention to network security helps you guard against unauthorized intrusion. Your staff must remember that there are a number of creative hackers out there and they constantly deploy destructive viruses and malware that can compromise your information. In the end, once you implement a few cyber security best practices, you may hear some griping about double passwords or extra logins, but it is worth the effort because just one hack can ruin your day. You may have to sacrifice some productivity, but imagine the productivity loss if your systems get hacked.
Here are a few tools you may want to implement to keep hackers from achieving a data breach:
Flag Alerts – There are tools to monitor security, but they can lull you into a false sense of security because valid alerts are often missed. To avoid that, real time flags and alerts should be considered.
Store It in The Cloud – The cloud opens new opportunities and poses new challenges to cyber security. The problem is that data usernames and passwords are usually insecure. Breaches occur now with great regularity because of poorly configured cloud instances. As such, cloud providers are rapidly creating new security tools to better secure data, but as we all know, if there are treasures to be found, the diggers will be searching.
Secure Your Applications – Application security (AppSec), begins with secure coding. That is the weak point of most applications. Few companies mitigate to all the OWASP Top Ten web vulnerabilities. Fuzzing and penetration testing remains a must. Unfortunately, DevOps was developed to prioritize business needs over security. That focus will likely change given the proliferation of threats as more and more companies migrate to the cloud.
Internet of Things (IoT) Security – The things referred to include many critical and non-critical cyber physical systems. Examples are appliances, sensors, printers –even security cameras. These devices are often in an insecure state with no security patching. This poses threats to users as well as others on the internet. Botnets are springing up in many systems posing unique security challenges for all of us.
What Cyber Threats Are Out There Looking for You?
There are five general categories of Cyber Threats:
Confidentiality: Many cyberattacks begin with a target’s personal data. Identity theft, credit card fraud, bitcoin wallets – these are all prime targets of hackers. Other nations – our adversaries or enemies – are on the lookout for confidential info for political, military, or economic leverage.
Integrity: Another name for simple sabotage. Integrity attacks attempt to corrupt, damage or destroy information or systems, as well as the people who need them. They can be subtle or overtly seeking to do real damage. Everyone from script kiddies to nation-state attackers can and do employ this tactic.
Availability: The number one method attackers use to breach almost any business system is through the use of ransomware. Ransomware encrypts a target’s data then demands you meet their demands before they will decrypt it. Ransomware and denial-of-service attacks can be lethal and flood a network resource with requests, often crashing it and making it unavailable. This type of breach is usually handled through social engineering. In this method, attackers trick you into running a Trojan Horse program, usually from a website the user trusts and visits. Phishing is another method used. This works for hackers because it tricks you into revealing your password. Even well-trained users can be roped in. The best defense for this is the two-factor authentication method where a secondary password is sent to the user’s device.
Unpatched software: Really, this is the worst type of hacking for businesses because it is caused by cyber security oversight. It is a failure of due diligence. It happens simply because your team does not make the necessary updates on time. If you know about it and don’t fix it, the burden is on you.
Social media threats: These happen all the time and can get in as easily as attaching a phishing or malware program to your LinkedIn or FaceBook account. This is one that you need to expect to happen and be prepared for it when it does.
Advanced Threats May Already Be There
Don’t be surprised if multiple breach hackers are already messing around in your corporate network. If you’re working on something other competitors might like to get their hands on, they will find a way to take it from you unless you are prepared to stop them. This is especially true with intellectual property.
These are only a few ways in which your system can be and will be breached someday. This article is not meant to scare you, but to help you realize that cyber security breaches are not a joke and happen to businesses of every size. This is why it is important to take necessary data breach security measures and protect your data.
If you would like more information, contact LP3. We will be glad to help you make an informed decision on cyber security for your business or organization.
Scott Lawler is CEO of LP3 and provides enterprise cyber security architecture advice to government and commercial clients.