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Cyber Security. It’s Up to You.

Posted by Kathleen Smith

It seems we hear something on a daily basis about cyber security. But through all the noise are you paying attention? Cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and targeted, and the most effective deterrent in your personal cyber security arsenal is you.

We attended The Business of Cyber Security Conference yesterday and the experts had some enlightening thoughts to share. Cyber threats have evolved over the past decade from hobby hackers putting random worms on the web for fun to very targeted attacks being used by organized crime for financial gain.

Criminals can purchase highly sophisticated malware kits that include site support for as little as four figures. They’re increasingly targeting us with solicitations that are more personal — and therefore have a higher rate of success — than ever before. Chad Fulgham, CIO of the FBI, noted as an emerging threat smartphone applications with embedded malware. Did any of us think of that as a potential threat before?

Chris Boyd, Information Security Director for ARINC, suggested that passwords be a minimum of 15 characters long. Did we just hear a collective groan? Even that length cannot protect you entirely if a highly skilled hacker were to target you. What you’re doing by making your password more difficult to crack is removing yourself from the low-hanging fruit category. Just as you couldn’t keep a highly skilled criminal out of your house if they really wanted to get in, 100% security online is not an achievable goal. But you do want to make it as difficult as possible for the bad guys. 

Chad concluded with an emphasis on responsibility being in the hands of the end user. FBI agents don’t have safeties on their Glocks, so they’re trained that their finger is the safety. That’s an excellent analogy for cyber security – your fingers are key to your online safety.

What can you do to protect yourself? For some great tips and advice on staying safe online, check out Stop | Think | Connect.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 9:04 pm

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