Cyber damage is like the Corona virus it won’t go away
A word from Robert Marshall
I can go on and on about the problems with cyber damage and most still view it with a sense of casual indifference. “It won’t happen to us”, “They only attack the big guys”. “I don’t get what all the fuss is about” I think you may have had similar thoughts.
The USA is so far ahead of us it’s embarrassing .There, cyber cover is compulsory for businesses. We really have to wake up and start making changes to the laisse faire approach we have all adopted and start employing ransomware protection and greater due diligence to protecting our data.
I’m not here to plug any company as they are all more than capable of hyping their own products without me doing it for them. But, I do want to alert you to the fact that ransomware attacks are growing dramatically.
Ransomware is when hackers gain access to a company or organisations networks, mostly by random email that may have an interesting subject line. Once opened, your system may black out or you will receive a ransom demand by email to be paid in bitcoin, but not always.
Yes you may laugh it off and you may report it to the police if you can get through, but with so many demands coming from external parties to the UK with external IP addresses there is bugger all you can do!
With most computers built to a similar design the attack starts and knows what it has to do;
1) You get the interesting subject line and think its legitimate and open it
2) Once you open it and click the URL the attack starts
3) Once the malware is released it hunts for key data or folders and can disable backup recovery mechanisms
4) Then within the network the malware can literally establish command and control and communicate back to the attacker, encrypting your files and slowly screwing you
5) Your computer network may be new but that does not mean much unless it is cloud based as it takes a lot of muscle to counter attack. So new PC’s and laptops shining in your office, home office will not be sufficient. As most IT sold is literally out of date by the time you buy it
You won’t get cover unless you show you are aware that a casual attitude to your PC’s or Laptops is redundant. The questions are not easy but will show all too clearly what you are not doing!!
Yes any mix of letters and numbers matter a lot and if you can go to 10 or 12 mixed letters and numbers that is better.
In 2019 ransomware attacks hit 43% of small business in some way, and that’s numbers collected from those who reported the matter. Many are too embarrassed to admit as much and please do not think paying a ransom will secure your data back. How can it stay confidential when your customer’s information is now out there freely, and maybe sold on a dozen times? General Data Protection Regulations apply to all business sizes
The speed of attacks is scary and it’s not like a burglar who susses out a break in, watching who arrives and leaves and then attacks. Cyber just needs an opening second, which can be created by your laxity or apathy, and then it embeds itself if it can’t find anything until it can.
Malware is pre-programmed to be smart, super smart in fact and we all need to be aware about it and take actions to prevent it. Just like when you lock the front door at night before you go to bed so you have to take precautions with your technology and not think “It’s got all the gizmos, so I’ ok”
Always turn your computer fully off when you are done with it, make it a habit to diary and change your passwords monthly and make them 10 – 12 digits. Please don’t open an interesting subject line on an email from an end party you don’t know because you have time and fancy a quick read. Your computer won’t spot all spam ware or junk
Yes you can buy off the shelf insurance for cyber attacks which may pay up to £5k, but as with all insurance the benefits are usually subject to certain exclusions and exemptions which many a time make the policy worthless or at least the bit concerning ransom attacks
Doing some basic research reading will help, and not a lot is necessary, but the precedent that you need to make an informed decision goes hand in hand with finding out information what doesn’t seem familiar until you do understand.
The reading element will wake you up to the fact that you can’t continue being laid back with what belongs to you or your company. Rightly or wrongly we are getting evermore digital and that thought and fear scares a lot of folk and I am no exception.
Getting cyber cover is not also just about you alone, we can all be indirectly affected.
When a company uses external computer networks there is a risk of contingent system failure, so you are always only as secure as the weakest link.
When there is a direct attack on a company’s network everything is exposed, so checking and re- checking who is operating what has the correct authorisations in place have to be done. It’s a cost of time and money but it’s a necessary cost and in today’s world if you don’t organise the preliminaries you can say good bye thinking you are covered.
Will we get back to normal with the Corona virus? Personally, I want to, but know deep down we will have to work with a new normal and that’s not there yet. With cyber is there a level that is really secure? No, because technology is always morphing and upgrading to new levels and we always have to be on our guard.
I’m not here to scare the pants off you but just to say the days of “I’m ok” are long gone, and to insure your business from cyber-attack which all brokers can arrange, you have to put the leg work in to start getting more secure.
If your business is paying for your mortgage and family are you really going to continue to ignore where cyber and malware can attack because you didn’t wake up or chose to stay in denial?
This is not a topic that is easy, but it is a necessity in the world we all work in and once you accept it has to be done like accounts, the burden doesn’t go away but it’s easier to handle
Robert D Marshall