26th April, 2012 - Posted by admin - Comments Off
Major security breaches are becoming more and more commonplace, with the topic no longer one solely for technology experts.
The most recent Data Breach Investigations Report, which is published by Verizon on an annual basis, just goes to demonstrate the threat that hackers pose to workplace productivity today.
According to the research outlined in the report, there were 855 security breaches recorded in 2011 alone. This in turn resulted in around 174 million records being compromised.
Another worrying statistic emerging from the Data Breach Investigations Report is that the number of security breaches is the second highest since the issue began being tracked and published by Verizon in 2004.
Business managers who opened a newspaper or switched on a news channel over the past 12 months will likely have come across news of at least one of these security breaches.
This is because 2011 was the year that hackers obtained the details of around 60,000 bank card holders at Citigroup, while Sony’s PlayStation Network saw the data of more than 12 million users compromised.
Global Payments and Lockheed Martin are also still recovering from being the focus of major hacks, which goes to demonstrate that even the largest of organisations are not safe from the actions of cybercriminals.
Giving his insight into why security breaches seem to be cropping up more frequently now, Mark Lobel, principal with PricewaterhouseCoopers, acknowledged to the Financial Times: “The attack methods continue to get better, unfortunately.
“I wouldn’t say I have seen a shift in the number of attacks, but I would say the pie has got larger.”
So if security breaches are becoming more frequent and damaging, is there any way that businesses can heighten their defences? The following tips may help:
Don’t fall for the common password pitfalls
Employees who are given default passwords when accessing a secure website for the first time should never look to keep the same string of characters.
Go for a password which is more familiar and personal, as well as – and this is an important point – one which only you know.
Much along the same vein, the same password should not be used for every website and account. This just gives hackers a free ticket to even more valuable data should they breach one of your accounts.
Wave goodbye to an employee’s digital account when they leave
So a member of staff has handed in their notice, they have cleared their office desk and are leaving through the workplace’s front door one final time.
However, if a manager does not take action to disable an ex-employee’s internet account, then valuable information will still be available for prying eyes to view.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that a plan is in place to disable all computer operations once a person leaves an organisation, no matter if it is on good or poor terms.
Education can go a long way
It is all well and good a manager and a handful of staff members knowing the ins and outs of how to prevent a security breach.
But this preparation will be for nothing if Joe Bloggs, who only started at the company last week, causes an inadvertent breach simply because he did not know otherwise.
Make an effort to ensure that everyone in an office space knows the A to Z of IT safety – it can be covered in a one-hour PowerPoint presentation and can have so many valuable benefits.
Right then, the issue that security breaches are increasing in frequency has been covered, as has how companies can cut the risk of getting caught up in one. But what if all of this advice does not work and a firm still suffers a major hacking problem?
UK science and universities minister David Willetts believes in a very honest approach by such companies.
“I want large companies to be very frank about the problems they face and much more open about threats and cyber security attacks,” he explained in a speech at this week’s Info Sec conference.
This way, customers will be better informed about the problem, fellow organisations can learn from others’ mistakes and the firm in question may actually find it easier to trace the source of the breach.
For more information, see our advice on securing your online services.