You’ve probably heard by now about GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation, passed by the EU and set to go into effect in May 2018. At it’s core, the regulation is intended to protect private party’s data and give citizens increased control over how their data is collected, used and stored. It’s important to recognize that the regulation does not apply only to businesses in EU member states, but to any organization who processes the personal data of EU citizens.
Has your company's network been compromised? If you're not sure, you should know how to tell because it could prevent the loss of critical data.
"Companies, both big and small, may appear to be indestructible, they're always at the mercy of their IT security systems."
While large and small companies may appear to be indestructible, they're always at the mercy of their IT security systems. When their networks are breached, cybercriminals can typically steal important data with ease such as a customer's personal and financial information. The end result is often damage to the company's bottom line because of lost customers.
But what if a company could prevent (or at least slow) these cyber attacks by not only building a robust IT defense system but also by knowing when a hacker is attacking? In this article we'll discuss how companies can tell when a cybercriminal is already in their network. In turn, this will allow IT teams to quickly react and avoid losing crucial data.
Passwords may be one of the most misunderstood elements of network security. The critical importance of the role passwords play in thwarting cybersecurity breaches cannot be downplayed or understated. Weak passwords undermine a company’s network. One of the key points of security tools, such as network security monitoring, is to flag unusual (and therefore suspicious) activity on an organization's computer systems. If passwords are so simplistic that hackers can guess them correctly in a normal number of attempts, then cybersecurity software is much less likely to notice and flag these cybercriminals' efforts.
The 2015 cyber attacks on SMEs may be in the past, but the damages caused by these hundreds of security breaches have left their digital scars for good. And at the rate that cyber attacks occurred in 2015, we know that 2016 is going to get even worse. What this means for vulnerable SMEs is another year of fending off countless sophisticated cyber attacks and hoping to not become the next data breach in the news. Hackers know that SMEs tend to have weaker defenses than larger organizations, usually due to lack of financial and human resources. They also know that there is a wealth of customer data and intellectual property hiding behind easily penetrable defenses within these SMEs that can be a route to a bigger score (particularly if the SMEs contract with larger companies, who may be harder to penetrate directly). So if big enterprise companies such as Sony Pictures Entertainment, Hilton Hotels, and Anthem Inc. can’t protect themselves, what’s an SME to do in such a volatile world? Below are 3 options for SMEs to pursue to enhance their cybersecurity posture in 2016.
Hackers are part of the terrain that businesses today find themselves operating on. The term “hacker” has multiple meanings. Some, such as Richard M. Stallman, the creator of GNU, define the word quite broadly to signify someone who, with playful cleverness, explores the limits of what is possible for a given system. That does not necessarily entail criminal activity. Individuals who create modifications for a favorite game or a cherished device might refer to themselves as hackers and their inventions as hacks. In contrast, the term “cracking” is often used to refer specifically to what is commonly thought of as hacking: breaking into computer systems. So while a hacker may or may not be compromising digital networks, a cracker is.
In November 2015, EiQ discussed the minimum requirements for an in-house cybersecurity team, which included 24/7 coverage, dedicated roles, defined processes, and quality security tools. But those are not the only components a security team needs in order to be productive and efficient in defending an organization's servers. Here are three additional components that are integral to a network security team:
Security Monitoring of the Entire Network
Network security monitoring is at its best when security tools achieve full visibility into an organization's IT infrastructure. If some devices—and the traffic to and from them—are not monitored, then the IT team is blind to any cyber attacks that attempt to compromise those assets. For network security monitoring to truly work, the right data needs to be collected from all of the devices on an organization's systems.
When users browse online, they often forget to clear the data from their web browser cache. However, this means that browsers can locally save sensitive website information such as bank account numbers and email passwords. If there is no company practice in place for staff to perform basic security measures like clearing their cache, malware can enter their systems, find private data, and send it to hackers, leading to dire consequences for companies.
How Browser Caches Store Web Data
A cache is a repository of stored data that is used to speed up the process of retrieving data. If a user accessing a resource already has some of its data stored in a cache, then the user does not need to retrieve that data from the resource—he or she can simply use it from the cache. But if the cache is empty, he or she must obtain all of it from the resource, which can be time-consuming.
Many small- to medium-sized enterprises haven’t given enough attention to network security monitoring of their cyber defenses. But not properly surveying an organization's network for threats can lead to dangerous results. Here are three of the biggest misunderstandings about network security monitoring.
Assumption #1: Endpoint Security Is Enough
It’s a common assumption that if the network entry points made by individual devices—employee laptops, warehouse processing terminals—are secure, then nothing else needs to be done. Familiarity with common endpoint security such as anti-virus scanners and anti-spyware programs breeds a false sense of security. Simply because individual devices are secure does not mean the overall network is safe from cyber threats.
To defend an organization's cybersecurity, it is essential to be able to see the threats. If IT personnel can't detect hackers' efforts, the organization may be caught off guard when an attack hits their servers. But with good security visibility, tech staffs are empowered to protect business assets.
The simplest network is anything but. Our tendency is to reach for things that promise us a single, strong answer to our fears and needs. But networks are bespoke and their solutions have to be as well.
To start, look over these five common misconceptions about network security. If you have said, or can hear yourself saying, any of them, stop, drop and roll. You have some work to do.