3 minute read

We are under attack

In late October of 2019, the FBI and Homeland Security joined the IT community at a well-attended IT conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The annual conference is called IT Nation and is intended to keep IT service providers up to speed with the ever-changing IT landscape.

The message the FBI gave the IT service provider community was clear. They simply stated that billions of dollars are leaving North America and the money is going to areas in the world where they can’t go. Places in China and Russia where the FBI can’t simply waltz in and capture hackers stealing our hard-earned money.

IT hackers are more sophisticated and organized than the mafia was back in the ‘40s and ‘50s. These cyber criminals have nineto-five jobs and work in shifts around the clock. They are using the most sophisticated tools and training. They are relentless and remorseless. So what companies are hackers attacking?

I used to tell people that it was the bigger companies that were at most risk… then a statistic came out showing 43 per cent of attacks are on the small- and medium-sized companies. Now I simply say that they are attacking every business. The successful attacks are simply on companies that are not prepared – big or small, it doesn’t matter.

How do I know if my company is safe?

No companies are safe. The ideal company for a hacker is one that pays no attention to their computers and how they are used for their business. Companies that haven’t made serious changes recently (over the past two years) are most likely to get hacked. Companies used to be safe with three levels of security; they had a decent firewall, some pretty good anti-virus, and a solid backup. These three things kept most businesses secure for decades. That’s not enough with today’s IT threats. Employees are blurring the lines between work and personal. Work from home has added to this as well. What this means is that people use their work devices for personal use, and vice versa. So why is this bad?

No companies are safe. The ideal company for a hacker is one that pays no attention to their computers and how they are used for their business.

Here is a typical example. Let’s say Jerry is an employee at Acme Company. He decides to get a membership at a local gym and uses his work email to create an account, and he uses his work password because he hates remembering so many passwords. Now, let’s say the hackers end up hacking that gym company and now has Jerry’s username (work email) and password. The hackers will take this username and password combination and start trying them everywhere they can until it unlocks the doors at Acme Company and they walk right in through the front door with no alarms!

So, what can companies do?

Go find an IT partner that attends these conferences and find one that cares about and won’t stop talking about IT security. Find one that talks about all the new layers of security… layers like cyber awareness training, password management, AI-driven anti-virus, endpoint detection and response, and security operations centres. Bigger IT companies don’t necessarily mean they are better. It may even mean the opposite as large IT companies are too large to adopt all these changes into their services portfolio. Smaller companies, if driven well, can accommodate the new threat landscape and make necessary changes over night. Look for an IT partner that spends a lot of time analyzing and planning rather than providing ad-hoc break-fix services. Band-aid reactionary services are more expensive in the long run.

For more information, contact Pat Kolysher, chief experience officer at Anchor Managed Solutions Ltd., at info@anchorms.com. s


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