3 Important Questions to Ask in Light of Recent Security Breaches

December 13, 2016

Tuned in to any IT-related news over the last month or so? Then you may have noticed the avalanche of cybersecurity breaches. First, in mid-September, Home Depot admitted that a malware-based data breach had compromised the credit card information of more than 56 million customers — the largest retail data breach ever, not to mention the gross negligence involved in their security. Later that month, JPMorgan Chase revealed that a summer cyberattack put the details of 76 million customers at risk.

In early October, the security of flashlight apps on mobile devices came into question: were they stealing passwords, accessing calendars, even tracking us via geo-location services? (Turns out they could, but most of them probably aren’t.) Then, on October 15th, Google researchers working with a team of international IT experts discovered Poodle, a bug in the 15-year-old open-source web encryption technology SSL 3.0. And on October 20th, a New York Times article revealed that hackers were amassing hundreds of thousands of dollars of charges on small-business phone bills thanks to the fact that most lines now run over the Internet and are subject to breaches if left unprotected.

Luckily, most of these problems  weren't quite as bad for small business as originally anticipated. However, the endless litany of stories highlighting security flaw after security flaw certainly highlights the need to take IT security seriously.

  • So, what are the main threats? Data breaches, malware, and viruses represent the Big 3. Due to the persistence of hackers and cyber thieves, data can be compromised anywhere, at any time. Meanwhile, the difference between malware and viruses is simple: malware is a broad term that includes viruses, spyware, adware, Trojan horses, and worms, among other bugs. A virus is a program that copies itself from one place to another. All viruses qualify as malware, but not all malware qualifies as a virus.
  • Where do these threats exist? Unfortunately, they have popped up everywhere. In the cloud, where data might be compromised on the way “up” from your computer or on the way back “down” from data centers; on mobile devices, where malware attacks increased nearly 100% from 2013 to 2014; on any operating systems new or old, Windows or Mac; and on social networks, where clicking on that shocking video or too-good-to-be-true offer can end up compromising your data — and that of all your friends.
  • How can these threats be stopped? The solutions seem simple — it’s putting them to work that often presents challenges. Strong, unique passwords are a must, as is top-flight data encryption to protect your information and that of your clients. What does the future hold? User-centric managed ecosystems, which deemphasize the number of physical computers and systems and instead consider the employee and however many devices he/she uses as the focus, are becoming increasingly popular.

If you’re still not sure how to navigate the tricky terrain of IT security — or whether you even need to worry about it in the first place — nology can help. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you defend your network, protect your data, and empower your team to be more productive. We worry about IT, so you don’t have to.

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