Often when it comes to privacy and our daily lives, media outlets and political advocates warn that we may be destined to a society similar to what George Orwell wrote about in his cautionary science fiction novel, 1984. When you stop and really think about it, though, we are living in a science fiction novel, just one penned by William Gibson.
It is as if we are living the cyberpunk classic Neuromancer considering how connected we have become as a society. From our laptops to smartphone to tablets, we are all tapped into that wellspring of information and misinformation, the Internet. Even refrigerators are coming to consumers Bluetooth-enabled. The present-day cyber-community—embodied in social networks, connecting through WiFi hotspots, and streaming data of all kinds through Bluetooth—continues to be volatile and develop rapidly. While this change in how we socialize, how we educate one another, and how were inform the world invites a broader understanding of culture and global understanding, this change also invites unbelievable threats.
The Internet and the technologies that drives it have been dissected by black hat hackers, uncovering vulnerabilities that have resulted in a variety of cyberattacks on an unprecedented scale. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 472 data breaches have been documented in 2015 to date; and these are the documented cases. These rates are expected to increase more rapidly in the coming years if both consumers and businesses do not prepare. We as a connected society need proactive measures. We need to raise awareness and we need to employ the latest approaches in cyber defenses.
Hackers and their actions get front page attention in national dailies as we have seen with the recent Ashley Madison breach. The intent is hardly noble or moral—data breaches are a means of siphoning away personal details through carefully planned malicious operations for their gain, whether it’s monetary or self-gratification. There are also socially engineered attacks where emails are designed to fool recipients into giving out our credentials on phishing websites. According to Symantec’s 2014 report on identity theft, phishing attempts—bogus emails posing as respected, trusted business–increased by 91%. These attempts increased because these tactics work.
Viruses, Malwares, Spywares and most notorious Ransomeware are becoming more sophisticated.
They have become stealthy and sophisticated cyber crimes. It is an uphill battle for the cybersecurity community to continuously defend themselves against such criminal activities. Cyber Criminals find ways to get into our systems and create havoc in no time and when we are least expecting it. They have never stopped to innovate and produce more sophisticated threats. This is one of the reasons we need to put our guard on and reinforce whatever cyber security measures we have these days. This is why we need cybersecurity professionals—in order to stay ahead of our online game.
Stratford University, in association with Key Cybersecurity, is offering CISSP, CISA and CEH training and certification courses at many of its Northern Virginia campuses. We will be providing students the hands-on experience with state of the art security solutions like HeurekaCyber’s Cyber Armor and others. Join us at http://www.stratford.edu/cyber in becoming the first line of defense in cybersecuity.