Tom Bowles and Taher Hamid spoke recently at a seminar with a focus on security. The group in attendance learned the most recent statistics about security breaches, vulnerabilities, and trends in cyber attacks.

Watch part one of our two-part series below.

After watching part one above, tune into part two below.

Many attendees face the same critical issues and concerns as businesses who have recently made the news by being targets of cybercriminals. According to Tom, a high level of security breaches (71%) targets small businesses because hackers believe these are the best targets that are least likely to have security in place.

Why is security important?

  • Over half of small firms go out of business within six months of a data breach.

The challenge today is to stay ahead of hackers, but with 350,000 new malicious programs introduced to the Internet every day, programs like ransomware are costing businesses more than $75 billion per year, with nearly 70% of those funds unrecoverable.

What is lurking out there?

  • Malware
    • Any software that causes damage to a computer or network.
  • Ransomware
    • Malware specifically designed to restrict a user’s access to an infected machine or system, demanding a ransom from the user for the malware developers to allow the user to regain access.
  • Spoofing
    • When a caller deliberately falsifies the information shown on a Caller ID to hide their identity.
  • Phishing
    • An attempt to acquire sensitive information, like usernames and passwords or credit card numbers, through electronic communication, often through scare tactics or mimicking a legitimate organization to reduce the user’s hesitation to enter these details
  • Pharming
    • Attempts to redirect a website’s traffic to another website, fake in nature
  • Keystroke logging
    • Tracking keyboard activity in a way that is undetected by the user, to monitor activity, which is then used without the permission of the user.

Hackers are constantly upping their game, which is why security measures are always being improved and strengthened.

Physical safeguards all businesses need:

  • TLS/SSL encryption
    • Security measures designed to enable network communications
  • Firewalls with the ability to detect encrypted traffic
    • Network security system that monitors incoming and outgoing traffic based on a set of defined network rules
  • Updated security patches, protocols, and upgrades
  • Current antivirus programs

The Human Condition

Humans are the weakest cybersecurity link; in this regard, humans are unpredictable and apt to failure and forgetfulness. A layered approach to security is insufficient if ongoing training with a focus on employee security isn’t included.

Traditional physical security layers are designed to prevent opportunities for human error, with the average SonicWall customer avoiding 900 attacks per year by TLS/SSL encryption – that’s 900 blocked human errors!

TotalSafe: A Three-Layer Approach

  • Employee Cybersecurity Training

“Every layered security strategy must include something to protect personnel from their own mistakes.”

The majority of successful malicious attacks start with a human unknowingly providing system access and could otherwise have been prevented with education and training.

Tom and Taher dove into two-factor authentication, password protocols, and best practices, and the importance of providing training to employees so everyone knows what to watch for to avoid causing the next data breach. Ongoing training is the best way to ensure all cybersecurity protocols are followed and the information is protected from operator error.

  • The Internal Layer

Since internal elements, like employees, are the primary cause of many cybersecurity incidents today, the importance of detection systems that monitor internal security issues is critical:

    • Anomalies
    • Changes
    • Threats

Separate from employee training, internal network detection monitors for access to data at odd times, saving sensitive data to external resources or devices, or accessing others’ devices remotely.

These efforts to detect threats include monitoring for:

  • Unauthorized logins or attempts on restricted devices
  • New user profiles on existing machines or devices
  • Newly-installed application on an unauthorized system
  • Unauthorized wireless connections to the network
  • Logins at odd times
  • Dark Detection

The dark web is enigmatic and complex, primarily because it exists in the part of the web not indexed by web search engines and requires specific software or authorizations to access.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, all data inevitably ends up on the dark web, which also happens to be criminals’ favorite place to lurk in hopes of discovering easy – and cheap – access to personal information that can be used to hack into accounts and steal sensitive data.

How do you know if you currently have data on the dark web?

Tom and Taher talked about Alltek and Dark Web Protection that can scan and find any information connected to a domain and provide a detailed report of all information easily accessible on the dark web.

This ongoing service monitors real-time activity for immediate notification to ensure passwords can be changed and the information is protected, as part of the Alltek TotalSafe Platform:

  • DarkWeb Protection
  • Employee Cybersecurity Training
  • Alltek Detector

The primary takeaways from Tom and Taher in the Security Seminar:

  • Traditional layers of security are critical even in dynamic, fast-paced times
  • We cannot rely solely on traditional physical security anymore and must expand our efforts and measures to ensure total protection
  • Do everything you can to prevent human error from bringing your downfall!