Cybersecurity at a Glance
November 20, 2018
By Evan R. Waxman, CPA
- In today’s technologically advanced society, individuals and businesses are prone to digital attacks on their systems, networks and programs – and one happens every 40 seconds, according to Kirsten Bay, managing partner at BoxTop Growth Partners LLC.
Jerry Ravi, partner and practice leader of EisnerAmper’s Process, Risk and Technology Solutions, had the privilege of interviewing Kirsten at EisnerAmper’s 10th Annual Private Wealth and Family Office Summit. The duo’s fireside chat included a discussion on best practices that should be used to deter electronic breaches that are aimed at accessing, altering and destroying proprietary networks. Kirsten, a risk intelligence professional, recommended a variety of advanced cyber defense policies, initiatives and information management solutions programs to protect sensitive data.
According to statistical studies, phishing emails account for more than one-third of cyber-attacks today. A phishing email is the fraudulent attempt to obtain confidential information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. These attacks through social media and other platforms attempt to steal identities and extort money from targeted individuals or general population groups that may be more vulnerable to attack.
Further, an alarming amount of phishing emails contain ransomware that tricks the intended victims into downloading a file that contains a malicious software from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim's data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. According to Kirsten, it is reported that the average cost to recover the data from hackers is approximately $4,500. In addition to paying ransoms, cybercrimes have cost businesses millions of dollars over the years through remediation efforts and interruption of normal business and processes. Over 22% of small and mid-sized businesses were forced to temporarily shut down operations last year to correct cyber breaches.
Kirsten acknowledges that there is a continuing concern over the protection of sensitive data. However, endpoint devices such as computers and smart devices as well as servers, networking hubs and cloud-based files can all be protected if proper “diet and exercise” policy and procedures are strictly followed.
Education and awareness is the greatest protection. Individuals and business should be vigilant and comply with basic data security principles such as backing-up sensitive data and avoiding emails with attachments from unfamiliar sources. Always choose strong passwords that are required to be changed often and consider using two-factor authentication to access devices and networks. For additional security protection, invest in antivirus software, malware protection, domain name service filtering and a firewall that is combined with network device filtering functionalities.
In the modern digital era, the necessity for innovative cyber protection is endless. Always continue to recognize the inherent risks associated with technology and follow an advanced cybersecurity policy that embraces proper awareness and discipline.
For more content stemming from EisnerAmper’s 2018 Personal Wealth and Family Office Summit: