As most people are already aware, Cybersecurity threats have become the biggest internet safety issue of our time. It was not that long ago that our biggest security concern as IT Pros were keeping our clients computers and servers protected from destructive viruses with names like Code Red (2001), My Doom (2004) and the Conficker Virus of 2009. The decade of 2000-2010 were definitely the years of the destructive computer viruses. The current decade 2010-2020 will go down in the Tech History books as being the decade of Cybersecurity threats.
It seems like every day in the news you read about the latest target of a cyber attack. It could be a retailer with a name that we are all familiar with, a bank or a government agency. Cybersecurity is big business for firms like Managed Security Services Providers (MSSP) that work closely with small to large organizations to harden, monitor, protect and provide remediation services to their clients networks. Keep in mind that Cybersecurity is also big business for the bad guys on the other end. Need proof? Each month there are over 33,000 searches on Google for the search term ‘How to Hack’. On a smaller scale there is almost 4,000 searches performed on Google each month for the term ‘How to Become a Hacker’.
The latest evidence of just how real these virtual internet attacks have become is from an NBC News report showing a map of the United States that was obtained from the NSA displaying documented successful Chinese hacks that have happened on U.S. soil over the past 5 years.
Fact: Every device that we use on a daily basis that touches the internet is vulnerable to attack.
Think for a minute about each device in your home or office that uses the internet for one purpose or another. Devices such as smartphones, tablets, Smart TVs, DVD and Blu-Ray players, Roku’s and similar media streaming products, VoIP phones, computers, servers, security systems, thermostats, vehicles and the list goes on. And did you know that there are now home appliances that are internet ready so that you can control them via an app on your smartphone? If you would like to pre-heat your oven for dinner you can turn on and control your oven’s temperature right from your smartphone app before you leave the office. The list of internet ready appliances goes on to include water heaters, dishwashers, washers and dryers etc. Very convenient, but very scary too. Granted most hackers are not going to make a living for themselves hacking into and disabling your home dishwasher, but you get the idea. For most people, just the thought of someone, a stranger, more than likely from another country, on the opposite side of the world gaining access into the privacy of your home via your internet connection is enough to make most people re-think or re-plan all of their internet security practices.
No one is immune from cyber attacks.
Organizations of all size and types have been and are currently investing in proven methods to harden the security of their networks. Will cyber attacks ever stop? Probably not, but as IT Security practices are put into place, it will become more difficult to penetrate networks of all types. And even when a network is penetrated, security professionals will know about it sooner, not later.
Next: Stay Tuned for further articles in our series on Cybersecurity Awareness.