Cyber Security: How real are the threats? Very.

I published the below article nearly two years ago. It’s very interesting to see where the cyber landscape lies today, compared to back in 2015. In the last two years, has your firm made any radical changes to their infrastructure to improve on security? Have you changed your behaviour to ensure you are more cyber-focused?

Most of us know just how real the threats of Cyber Crime are; but how many of us are really aware of their impact and severity? Cyber Crimes are not just limited to corporations, they can also drastically affect our personal lives too.

Here is a scary fact: the SEC considers cyber risks to the Global Economy to be the same as terrorism. Think about that for a second.  For firms in Financial Services, the impact of damage from a cyber-security breach can be very harmful, quickly leading to investor-retraction, as well as reputation damage decreasing market confidence. The Regulators simply cannot afford another bail out.

Every firm is a target, not just Financial institutes. Major Global firms and household names such as Sony, Argos, and Talk Talk, have all fallen victim to Cyber Crime this year. None of us can stand the invasion of our own privacy. However, last week, things got a little worse.

VTech, the well-known children’s toy maker, was added to the growing list of companies targeted by cyber attack. A group of hackers broke into VTech servers and were able to gain access to a database containing personal information on over 6.5 million children, and 5 million parents.

It was this very attack which struck a personal chord with me, stimulating this article.

Children’s names, gender, D.O.B’s, photographs(!), and parents’ E-mail and postal addresses – were all extracted from VTech servers. It’s frightening to me that children’s data is now being targeted, as they are fast becoming as vulnerable as us adults.

It is our responsibility as individuals, using both corporate and personal technology, to reduce risks to our families and to our respective firms.

In business, correct steps are already being taken. The 20th century approach of “Prevent-then-Diffuse” was a very re-active cycle. The paradigms are changing; CTO’s and COO’s today are much more pro-active when it comes to the protection of corporate networks. The model has shifted from prevent, to Detect. Identify the threat intelligently, and then decide how best to manage each risk.

However, having the most cutting-edge and most capable IT teams in the World will not matter, if you – whilst on the internal network – click on a tempting link or act on a suspicious looking email. Trust your gut instinct and do not be afraid to ask the sensible question; I assure you, your manager and IT department would much rather you took the time to do so, than make a costly mistake.

Outside of work, we must increase vigilance and raise awareness of the associated risks to our family & friends. Ransomeware, Phishing Scams, Malware, Viruses: these can all be prevented with some simple diligence.

As Technology continues to play such a fundamental part of our lives, our digital foot print and online consumption will only increase year-on-year. Cyber Security affects us all.  Let’s work smart to ensure we are not negatively impacted – both at home and in the workplace.

Read our guide on Security Solutions to protect your business, here.

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