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Cyber threats

Posted by Mark Mcintosh 10-10-2017 11:15 am

News Millenium Micro - Cyber threats

In today’s world we see so many different threats against our safety and security. However, one of the biggest and growing is cyber threats. With the world running on technology, this is the one thing that can grind a company to a halt in seconds.

There are many different attacks we see on our technology, from simple, fake pop alerts stating your computer is infected to a complete lock out of your company’s data. Recently, there was a large-scale attack called “WannaCry” that hit nearly one hundred and fifty countries around the world infecting over 230 000 computers. This was an attack known as “Ransomware”. This locks out all your files and the attackers require money to unlock them. This can cripple a company. The question many corporate officers wrestled with was, “do we Pay?”. Is the cost of paying these criminals worth the cost of lost business? There were many that did pay and paid a lot of money. There are times that companies have paid and still could not get their data back. So, how does a company avoid this problem? The best answer is to ensure a proper backup and disaster recovery plan is in place, tested, and confirmed functional. Better known as a “Business Continuity Plan”. The organizations that avoided the payment to these criminals as well as costly downtime, were the ones that had current and operational backups of their critical data and were able to restore the files leaving the criminals without their ransom and little downtime.

The ransomware issue is one of many to infect organizations. Others include viruses that cause many different issues, including locking data and illegal access of information and control of an organization, better known as hacking. In reality no one is one hundred percent safe. Hackers have accessed NASA, Sony, Revenue Canada, and many more. So, if these organizations are vulnerable then what chance does the little guy have? The answer is really none in the big picture. However, what can be done is simply perform due diligence in ensuring proper security is in place to stop most of the threats that crawl the internet. Not all threats are on this large scale. This includes proper firewalls designed for the systems you have in place, anti-virus for the systems that have internet access, and... KNOWLEDGE.

There are many devices and software packages on the market that all say they can stop cyber attacks. Yes, some do a great job... most of the time. However, these claims leave a false sense of security. So, how does an organization combat threats to their systems and data? Well, the answers vary depending on the threat, but “Knowledge” is one of the biggest weapons. Many infections occur when they are let in through E-mail attachments that may seem legitimate or a fake message that pops up on your screen asking to call a
number because the computer is infected. The list goes on. Continue to communicate and educate employees (or anyone that uses your organizations computers) about these types of threats. When people know what they’re up against it helps to combat the attacks leaving your system that much safer.

Many organizations look at the bottom line cost to implement backup and restore systems, security, and time to educate staff. This upfront cost often finds organizations pushing these items to the bottom of the pile for later consideration. However, one major thing to consider is the cost of data loss or system attack. This often far exceeds the cost of implementation and sometimes can put a company out of business. According to Gartner (a large
technology research company), only six percent of companies survive longer than two years after a major data loss. It goes on to say that forty three percent of companies were immediately put out of business from a major data loss.

If your organization doesn’t have a business continuity plan or is unsure if there is one in place, it is highly recommended to contact a professional business IT Consulting firm to assist. Ensuring your data and online safety helps ensure the future of the organization.

Mark Mcintosh, markIT

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