The Security equation has changed. This week I’ll be speaking to business execs in Atlanta on some of the changes they need to be aware of over the next 12 months…Thanks for Milestone Systems for hosting the event. This is much needed in every city! Here’s a quick overview of what’s happening – companies have to change to compete – and this changes everything they’ve ever known about securing data.
Twenty years ago we thought math would solve this problem. Encryption algorithms and authentication keys were the answer. We all realize now that keeping thieves out is more difficult than we originally thought. And with digitization, expect the problem to get worse.
Who Is Behind The Latest Cybercrime Disasters?
Experts tell me there are three primary “actors” in the hacker world; Traditional Cybercriminals, Hacktivists, and Spies (Think – Espionage.) In addition, significant threats may exist internally among full time employees as well as with contractors and partners (a major topic of conversation these days among business leaders.)
Over the past decade the emphasis has been on credit card theft and skimming money. But more recent attacks focus on IP (Intellectual Property.) This is what Mike McConnell, former director of national intelligence, secretary of homeland security, and deputy secretary of defense, means when he writes, “The Chinese government has a national policy of economic espionage…in fact, the Chinese are the world’s most active and persistent practitioners of cyber espionage today,” He is accusing China of carrying out Nation-State Sponsored Attacks. In reality, these are well-funded acts of war.
Recent U.S. security advisor reports add Russian hacker groups to this problem. Russian groups are thought to be far more sophisticated than the Chinese and therefore pose an even greater threat. Evidence suggests they are actively stealing U.S. innovations right now.
Many have called these acts of war, “The greatest transfer of wealth in history.” When you read about large complex cyberattacks, both Russian and Chinese groups are the primary suspects.
How Is Cybercrime Impacting Businesses Around Us?
Obviously there is the financial loss. But these crimes also cut into jobs, your competitive advantage, and even national security. McConnell comments how large-scale this problem is, stating, “We think it is safe to say that large easily means billions of dollars and millions of jobs.”
The Internet is the ideal medium for stealing intellectual capital, money, and power. Hackers can easily penetrate systems that transfer large sums of data, while corporations and governments have a hard time identifying specific perpetrators.
In a recent study, the 9/11 Security Commission reported back stating, “Our most pressing problems are the daily cyberattacks against the nation’s most sensitive public and private networks.” They later added, “Yet, because this war lacks attention-grabbing explosions and body bags the American people remain largely unaware of the dangers.” In the case of 9/11 we didn’t awaken to the gravity of this terrorist threat until it was too late – we must not repeat this mistake in the cyber-realm.
What Are Cybercriminals Really After?
As just mentioned, Company Secrets and IP are the newest hacker targets. So who is at risk? The truth is, no business is safe. But small business and entrepreneurial startups are often the primary targets for these perpetrators.
A recent WSJ headline reads, “Hackers target startups that secure early-stage funding.” Startup companies are now detecting cyberattacks just after they raise their Series “A” funding. They’re watching to see when funding is made available, knowing that there will be a sudden influx of cash. Another target would be new innovation. These groups are looking to advance without the R&D cost. To further exasperate this problem, recent patent law changes actually encourage the theft of intellectual property. The person who files first has an advantage over the patent right. That means that as you are inventing, others are watching. Suddenly credit card theft is of little consequence compared to your ten-year R&D effort. A copycat product overseas might be enough to put your company out of business.
How Will A Digitized World Worsen This Problem?
When it’s digital it’s connected, and that means it’s accessible. It doesn’t matter if something has a password on it. It doesn’t even matter if it’s encrypted. Firewalls are no match for today’s cybergangs. But as we necessarily move more toward the use of transformational technologies and IoT we expose ourselves more and more.
Over the past decade your clients have probably safeguarded their data behind network perimeters. Using firewalls, passwords and encryption, They have felt fairly secure. However there’s an underlying flaw in this approach. See my free ebook below for a thorough description of this flaw…
But a move to transformational technology is necessary. And that means moving away from traditional perimeter security. Digitization means connectivity, mobility, and a necessarily open computing architecture. If you’re clients are going to compete, all of this is necessary. As I’ve already stated, this is a great opportunity for the small and medium business leader. But with it comes exposure. People can’t control their data in someone else’s cloud, and they don’t oversee the network their employees are using at Starbucks. Their systems will, by design, face the public web, and their company no longer has any definable perimeter security. In the new world, their data is everywhere and accessible by just about anyone. And so, security approaches must change…
This is your opportunity. They need an advisor. But this is not a product sale – it’s an advisory role. One IT can’t really fill…
Make sure you have my book, The House & the Cloud – and get access to the House & the Cloud private resource page, only accessible by those who have the book!
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© 2014, David Stelzl