Using up-to-date security software is pretty much at the top of recommended defense measures. Anti-virus and anti-phishing software filter out daily attacks from network communications. However, it is important that users can trust this software to intercept malicious software, harmful links, and other threats no matter who they come from. Threats may originate from criminals but also increasingly government organizations. Users also expect that data remains stored confidentially on their devices, especially considering that security software has the capability of viewing and intercepting data. Recently, the Russian antivirus company Kaspersky has made headlines for exactly this reason. US authorities claim that Kaspersky stole top-secret software from a government employee’s PC and delivered it to the Russian intelligence service. This included exploits for previously unknown vulnerabilities.
Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning are coming together to bring about a sea change in how we use buildings, at home and at the office. Smart infrastructure makes domestic households more energy efficient and allows companies to optimize their real estate. Almost every large enterprise and government organization is currently working on smart infrastructure projects at some level. It’s no surprise that the market for smart buildings is expected to increase four-fold by 2021. The pursuit of greater efficiency and convenience, however, introduces new risks. Many IoT devices and management systems still run on legacy software and lack any kind of security standards. This makes them vulnerable to attacks by hackers. The answer is to build-in cyber-resilience from the beginning starting with securing all connection points using virtual private networks (VPNs).
Major sporting events are always popular with businesses. The 2018 World Cup tournament in Russia promises to be no exception. The corporate sponsorship opportunities on offer are an ideal way to entertain influential decision-makers of important customers and prospects. Set against this are recent reports of Russia’s tough new internet censorship laws – set to come into effect from November 1, 2017. The move is a security concern for Western company executives anxious that employees and VIPs visiting the event may be unable to prevent sensitive information being exposed to Russia’s extensive surveillance network. The good news is that the new regulation only blocks access to web services and online information that are outlawed already and does not extend to personal or legitimate business Virtual Private Network (VPN) use. With a corporate VPN and some simple guidelines it should be possible for visiting executives to conduct business over the Internet securely during World Cup 2018.
Authentication is an important part of working on a computer, whether logging on, opening encrypted data or using web services like PayPal. Usernames and passwords still play an important role, even if many experts advise against using passwords as the only authentication method. Even approaches to passwords have changed over time. Until recently, experts recommended choosing complex passwords using special characters, numbers and uppercase and lowercase letters. However, many professionals now consider that complex passwords are inconvenient for users, especially if they must be changed frequently. Phrases such as a quote from a book or a sentence which is relevant to the log-in context are more meaningful for users. Such phases can easily reach more than 20 characters and are nevertheless much easier to remember than complex, eight-letter combinations of letters and numbers.
Starting May 2018, any business offering goods and services to EU citizens will have to comply with new GDPR rules. These rules explicitly require companies to take all measures necessary to protect the integrity of consumer data that they process or store. A key principle of GDPR is “privacy by default” which requires the digital information in everything from emails and mobile apps to cloud storage systems and M2M communications to be kept private and secure at all times. Studies show that U.S. organizations are no less committed to compliance as those in the EU. One of the most powerful protection measures a company can take is to encrypt data at every stage – in use, in motion and in storage. A tried and tested way to transport sensitive personal data securely across public networks is via business-grade VPNs. VPNs provide an encrypted tunnel to communicate privately between email and mobile connections as well as internal databases and cloud storage facilities.
Measures for cybersecurity are to be regulated at the European level in the future, according to the mandate of the European Commission. IT products and services may pass through a voluntary certification scheme in future under the aegis of the European IT security agency ENISA. At the beginning of this year, ENISA applied to the European Commission to extend its remit, including introducing an EU-wide program for certifying the security of IT products. This ranges from simple certification for IoT devices to complex evaluations of high-security systems such as banking applications. The significant cost differences in national certification schemes was named as an important consideration for establishing a centralized certification program.