Written by John Walp, Vice President of Cyber Services
Holding someone or something for ransom is an age-old, effective technique that has found a new home: the internet. This venue offers a level of anonymity and scale that is sometimes difficult to comprehend.
An estimated 40,000 people attended this year’s RSA Security Conference, February 13 through 17, in San Francisco, California. Security professionals from across the globe gathered to discuss the latest and largest cyber security threats and ways to keep consumers and businesses safe. The RSA Conference identified Ransomware as one of the biggest and fastest‑growing threats. Numerous sessions were dedicated to helping security pros understand the threat from Ransomware and, most importantly, what can be done to combat it.
For the advantageous traveler, flying is a comfort. Your seat folds into a bed, your meal is prepared by five-star chefs, and your email is hacked via the in-flight WiFi.
Wait, what was that last one?
It turns out that when you travel, your data is at a greater risk than usual. In-flight WiFi is just one example—hotels, airport lounges, and even cars have vulnerabilities that can allow hackers to glean valuable data while you’re in motion.
These vulnerabilities all have a common root—publicly available WiFi is easy to hack. The business owners who set up these networks aren’t security professionals, and may overlook common security measures. This makes it easy for hackers who are on the same network to intercept other communications conducted via WiFi.
It’s pretty safe to say that 2016 was a rough-and-tumble year for a number of industries, and the number, size, and scope of cyber security breaches was off the charts. These include two huge data attacks against Yahoo! users, as well as smaller breaches of sensitive data from the FBI and the IRS, among many others. Even the United States Presidential Election is rumored to have been tampered with by hackers.
So what does this mean for business owners, medical clinics, and law firms that need to protect both their own private data and the data of their customers, patients, and clients? It means that 2017 needs to be the year of network security. Let’s take a look at the best ways to make that happen.
If Melissa McCarthy was behind every identity theft, it might not be so terrifying. Unfortunately, that is likely not the case (although, it has not been confirmed).
Identity thieves are getting more sophisticated by the day. They used to steal your credit card number to buy a video game and grab a slice at the food court, but now they’re stealing identities to file tax returns and collect refunds.
The IRS has certainly improved its defense against phony refund requests—last year, as of March 5, 2016, the IRS identified 42,148 fraudulent tax returns involving identity theft, and identified 20,224 prisoner tax returns for screening, with $227 million claimed in fraudulent funds. But these are simply the cases the agency is aware of, and there are likely many more. The IRS continues to expand its efforts to detect tax refund fraud.
Buffalo, NY (October 4, 2016)— Avalon Document Services and DIGITS LLC (a division of Avalon) have successfully completed the Shared Assessments Program Standardized Information Gathering and Agreed Upon Procedures (SIG AUP). The SIG AUP is an audit used by organizations to evaluate their information security program, which is inclusive of data protection, privacy, and business resiliency from IT failure. Avalon/DIGITS retained and independent CPA firm to complete the audit, which consisted of the evaluation of policies, procedures, and controls for the purpose of alignment with current regulations, industry standards, guidelines, and information security best practices.
Nothing illustrates root causes of data breaches (among other things) quite like a nice pie chart. The Ponemon Institute’s 2016 study showed that malicious or criminal attacks still contribute to half of the pie, while negligent employees and system glitches share the other half.
The three top ways the 50% get to your sensitive data is insecure passwords, outdated software, and careless downloading.
If my inbox had a bouncer, I would make sure it kept out the “work from home”s and the “financial freedom”s that continue to find their way into my e-mail — and my heart. I’d like to think I’m not the only one still falling for these e-mail subject buzzwords, but I know you’re all smarter than that.