News on cybersecurity and cyberwar has been bleak, but Peter Warren (P.W.) Singer & Allan Friedman, co-authors of “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know“, published last year, believe 94% of attacks can be prevented using simple everyday “hygienics.” They also believe the other 6% of attacks can be prevented by much the same means: get your “security house” in order, and nearly all attacks will fail.
SONY A Case in Point
According to experts, the recent attacks on SONY, reportedly carried out by North Koreans in response to the move “The Interview“, occurred when a phone voicemail system was hacked, providing access to the company’s internal phone system data. Hackers, posing as internal SONY security, then placed a fake call from “SONY Headquarters” to a branch, requesting an employee’s username and password. With that, the large “hack” began, running into the tens of millions of dollars in damage to SONY. In this case, the “weakest link” was a human.
According to Singer, handing off a security problem to the FBI, the NSA, a knight in shining armor or even your company’s IT department is seldom necessary. Most security problems are not about software or hardware but the “wetware,” also known as the people.
Adequately dealing with threats requires people who are aware of the types of threats so that they act in ways that don’t compromise security. Learning about hackers, their incentives and the organizations trying to hack into companies is key to alleviating the threat.
McAfee, provider of security software, offers the following list of tips to avoid problems:
- Create smart and strong passwords.
- Use email wisely.
- Be smart when using instant messaging (IM) programs.
- Shop safely.
- Watch out for phishing scams.
- Fun and carefree online gaming.
- Pay attention to your children’s online activities.
- Subscribe to McAfee computer security services.
In the following videos, Singer discusses a number of important topics related to cybersecurity and cyberwar.
The Growing Importance of Cybersecurity:
What’s the biggest security threat facing the United States?
What are the vulnerabilities of the US government in terms of cyber-awareness?
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References and related content:
- Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: A QA with Peter Singer – The Washington Post
- Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know. and How to Talk About It | Brookings Institution
- A book review by Jeffrey D. Simon: Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know