Faronics Tech Roundup – July in Review

Cyber threats never take a break, and July was no exception. Organizations and federal entities are doing more to help strengthen their security posture and prepare for the next wave of advanced attacks. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest events that happened this month in the realm of cyber security:

SMBs Increasingly Targeted

Small and medium-sized businesses often believe that they can afford to relax because there are bigger entities that hackers can go after. However, SMBs are being increasingly targeted for their general lack of security measures and availability of valuable information. The Zurich SME Risk Index recently revealed that 875,000 SMBs in the U.K. have fallen to online attacks within the past 12 months, The Scotsman reported. That means that one in six businesses are affected by cyber threats. To make matters worse, these events are costing victims considerable money to recover, but business leaders still aren’t committing to investing in cyber security in the coming year.

SMBs cannot afford to take a back seat when it comes to preventing cyber attacks. One breach can be enough for a business to lose customer trust, compromise sensitive data and pay significant money to recover. Even after restoring operations, it’s difficult for organizations to restore relationships with clients and undo reputational damage. As more SMBs around the world are targeted by hackers, it’s important for leaders to heed warnings provided by large attacks and expert advice.

SMBs are being increasingly targeted for their lax security.

World Leaders Discuss Cyber Security Unit

Cyber threats are threatening organizations and governments across the world. As a result, it’s becoming important for entities to share information that will help prevent damage and better secure sensitive assets. The Russian and U.S. governments are in discussions about establishing a joint cyber security unit that would guard against election hacking and other attack vectors, CBS reported. While two heads are certainly better than one, solidifying policies and other details will be a work in progress.

Although there are a number of opinions around this possibility, the truth is that creating a better information sharing procedure both internally and externally will help cut down on potential attacks. Government entities should work together to handle threats like WannaCry and other advancing malware strains. Although a joint unit might not be the solution, a better information sharing system will be beneficial to eliminating attacks quickly and providing other entities with the means to defend themselves.

“Organizations are rushing to put policies in place that will protect cars.”

Standards Set for Autonomous Vehicles

The technology within our automobiles has become more sophisticated over the years, enabling cars to parallel park and even drive without manual interaction. However, this advancement also introduced a lot of vulnerabilities that could put drivers and passengers at considerable risk on the road. The lax security meant that an attacker could easily get into the car’s system and take over. As autonomous cars increasingly look to be the future of the automotive industry, organizations are rushing to put policies in place that will protect these machines.

According to The Bureau of National Affairs, The House Energy and Commerce Committee brought up a bill that would regulate autonomous vehicles and establish cyber security standards for this technology. There is also more emphasis on sharing risks and providing guidelines for determining when a vulnerability should be considered a safety defect. While it’s still unclear who will be enforcing these measures and what entities should be creating the requirements, it’s a good step forward in ensuring that consumers stay safe.

Girl Scouts Fuel the Next Generation of Cyber Experts

With the widening gap of IT skills and general lack of women in technology careers, organizations are doing more to teach kids about their potential in the field. Girl Scouts of the USA recently introduced 23 new badges involving science, technology, engineering and math, New Hampshire Union Leader reported. Girls will be encouraged to design robots, create algorithms and collect data. The organization also partnered with Google to offer coding activities. This shift will help teach the next generation how to protect themselves online as well as expose them to a potential future career.

The Girl Scouts have developed age-appropriate curriculum for each group, including basic computer skills and practice in securing private information. This movement will help facilitate progressive as well as traditional activities to prepare girls for a future in tech. While the organization hasn’t purged its longstanding badges, the addition of STEM-related achievements opens a new world of possibilities for young girls and could be a step forward in arming the next generation of cyber experts.

Cyber threats are increasing, and it will be vitally important for organizations to prepare themselves accordingly. Movement has already been made to create better information sharing systems, set standards for connected objects and prepare upcoming experts for the future. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore their risk and must take action now to protect sensitive assets and maintain operations.

Suzannah Hastings

Suzannah is interested in all things digital, from software security to the latest technological advances. She writes about ways in which the increasingly internet-driven landscape changes our lives, and what we can expect in the future.