I recently spoke to Chris Phillips, a counter terrorism expert and keynote speaker on the European leg of the Carbon Black Beyond AV Tour. The conversation highlighted to me just how vulnerable so many businesses really are. They make it easy for hackers to cause digital havoc by having inadequate cyber security.

When, not if

When it comes to cyber-attacks, it’s when, not if. Hackers will definitely try to break down the defences of a business at some point, but it’s not inevitable that they’ll be successful. Or is it? While many businesses are now aware of the dangers of the modern, digital world – having data stolen, losing the ability to function, damage to their reputation – there’s still a huge number of them that have no protection at all, or have such out-dated protection they may as well just hand out their passwords to the nearest hacker.

New technologies, new hacking methods

Technology develops at a rapid pace and people change how they interact with it almost as quickly. But hackers too are changing how they operate, constantly developing new methods to break down digital defences.

As an example, let’s look at the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT includes all sorts of physical devices that can interact with each other, and us, through the internet. They’ve even made their way into our homes, with devices such as Philips Hue lightbulbs, Nest smart thermostats, and even refrigerators.

But devices such as these can also be used as tools by hackers, as the world saw in late 2016 with the Mirai botnet. Mirai is a malware that took over IoT devices to mount a DDoS attack which left large parts of the internet unreachable, affecting websites including Twitter, Amazon, Netflix, Reddit, and Spotify.

It’s the same problem with applications – everybody uses them nowadays, which means they’re the biggest target for hackers. Web apps are the number 1 entry point for hackers, yet less than 1% of security budgets go to application security. Equally as scary is that 93% of cyber-attacks take just minutes. Many businesses still put all their resources and focus on their network security because that’s what worked in the past.

Cyber Warfare is a reality of the modern world

Cyber-attacks are an ever-increasing threat and reality. The stereotype of hackers being lone wolves sitting in dark basements doesn’t apply anymore; entire countries are now engaging in cyber warfare – Russian cyber operations may have influenced the 2016 US election, meaning 2017 could be the Year of Cyber Warfare, and recent leaks from WikiLeaks showed that the CIA potentially has the ability to use IoT devices to spy on anyone, anywhere.

But it’s not too late for businesses to beef up their security and protect themselves from attacks, as I discovered recently while working on numerous campaigns for cyber security firms.

Please get in touch if you want to talk more about how cyber security firms can educate businesses on the importance of being digitally secure.

Posted by Jessica Hinchliffe, Events and Marketing Director at MOI Global


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