Cyber Issues

Cyber hacking is always in the news. The recent hacking of the emails of the Democratic National Committee once again reminds us that cyber security should be a major concern for all of us. We have to continually update our security plans and processes -- and our employee education -- so we can keep up with the advances made by hackers and other cyber criminals. This week's articles may shed some light on how you can continue to protect your organization.

To close the gaps in their security, CEOs can take a cue from the U.S. military. (Item #1)     Former National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander speaks about cybersecurity and the new threats posed to the U.S. economy and military. (Item #2)     Digital thieves' most crucial adaptation in recent years has little to do with their technical tools and everything to do with their business model. (Item #3)    

Is it conceivable to convey to machines a responsibility as complicated as cybersecurity? (Item #4)     Here's how company leaders can protect--and strengthen--the business with the right approach to information security. (Item #5)     IT and security experts discuss the leading causes of security breaches and what your organization can do to reduce them. (Item #6)    

As always, I look forward to hearing about your concerns with regard to business continuity. If there are any topics that you'd like to see covered, email me at [email protected].

Bob Mellinger, President
Attainium Corp

1. Cybersecurity's Human Factor: Lessons from the Pentagon

The vast majority of companies are more exposed to cyberattacks than they have to be. One key lesson of the military's experience is that while technical upgrades are important, minimizing human error is even more crucial. Mistakes by network administrators and users--failures to patch vulnerabilities in legacy systems, misconfigured settings, violations of standard procedures--open the door to the overwhelming majority of successful attacks.

2. Does Cybercrime Really Cost $1 Trillion?

Gen. Keith Alexander is the director of the National Security Agency and oversees U.S. Cyber Command. Alexander warned that cyberattacks are causing "the greatest transfer of wealth in history," and he cited statistics from, among other sources, Symantec Corp. and McAfee Inc., which both sell software to protect computers from hackers. Crediting Symantec, he said the theft of intellectual property costs American companies $250 billion a year. He also mentioned a McAfee estimate that the global cost of cybercrime is $1 trillion.

3. The New Economics of Cybercrime

The forces of cyber law and order have made lots of headway in the past decade. There are still large-scale data breaches, but credit-card companies are getting better at detecting them early and replacing customers' cards as needed, payment networks are pushing microchip-enabled cards that render transaction data worthless to criminals, and law enforcement has gotten smarter and savvier. The biggest shift in the past decade is that it has gotten much less profitable - the price of a stolen payment-card record has dropped from $25 in 2011 to $6 in 2016.

4. Exploiting machine learning in cybersecurity

Thanks to technologies that generate, store and analyze huge sets of data, companies are able to perform tasks that previously were impossible. But the added benefit does come with its own setbacks, specifically from a security standpoint.

5. Cybersecurity: The new business priority

In today's global, digital world, data rule. Safeguarding intellectual property, financial information, and your company's reputation is a crucial part of business strategy. Yet with the number of threats and the sophistication of attacks increasing, it's a formidable challenge.

6. Six Biggest Business Security Risks and How You Can Fight Back

Security breaches again made big news in 2014. Yet despite years of headline stories about security leaks and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and repeated admonishments from security professionals that businesses (and individuals) needed to do a better job protecting sensitive data, many businesses are still unprepared or not properly protected from a variety of security threats.

Quote of the Week:

"We are vulnerable in the military and in our governments, but I think we're most vulnerable to cyber attacks commercially. This challenge is going to significantly increase. It's not going to go away."

-- Michael Mullen

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