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Featured Article

July 31, 2015

The Internet Threat Landscape Just Got A Lot Scarier

Remember when just about everyone smoked cigarettes (including your doctor)? The majority of people seemed to know that cigarette smoking was a big problem. But it took quite some time for the reality to sink into the consciousness of the American public about the dangers of tobacco use. Then, the public finally got scared and started to take action.

We are just now reaching this point of awareness with cybersecurity.

Up until recently, it was as easy for executives to ignore pestilent words like “malware,” “hackers” and “data breaches” as it used to be for cigarette  smokers to ignore health warnings before lighting up. After all, these words occasionally spring up in the news when a major company is attacked, and then they tend to go away until another company is hit. It’s a desensitizing process, and one that leads many executives to believe that their organizations are either impervious to cybercrime, or so far off of the radar that nothing bad could possibly happen.

This week, America finally got its big, sobering wakeup call about its growing cybersecurity problem. And now, many business leaders are in fact panicking.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg announced an important link between three recent cyberattacks on Anthem, United Airlines and the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM). According to Bloomberg reporters Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley, the attacks can be traced to a group of hackers closely tied to the Chinese government.

Through the series of cyberattacks, the hackers successfully obtained not only the personal information of millions of American citizens, but also millions of data files from two major organizations at the heart of our industry and government. This group is responsible for hacking at least 10 major American organizations (that we know of). 

The really frightening part about all of this, however, is the liklihood that many more organizations are also infected with dormant malware. At the opportune time, such malware could be strategically released to breach private databases or wreak havoc on our core infrastructure.

Recently, Hillary Clinton spoke about the issue of hacking following the high profile breach of several federal U.S. databases. Here, her words were  specifically directed at Chinese hackers. 

“They’re trying to hack into everything that doesn’t move in America—stealing commercial secrets, blueprints from defense contractors, stealing huge amounts of government information—all looking for an advantage,” she said. “Make no mistake: they know they’re in a competition, and they’re going to do everything they can to win it.” 

It’s time, therefore, to wake up to this problem and take action to protect your organization. Embrace the attitude that it’s not a matter of if, but when, your company will be hit with a cyberattack. And when it does, your level of preparedness will determine how quickly you recover. 

So, will you continue to ignore the problem, hoping that your organization continues to fly under the radar? Or will you take active measures to make sure that your comapany’s network is up to date with the latest security  provisions?

The choice is yours to make.

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