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Cyber attacks demand better defence

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Cybercrime incidents are on the rise, which is a great concern for any business. CRAIG ROSEWARNE, MD of Wolfpack Information Risk, highlights a few of the solutions to thwart these crimes as well as what the pending Cybersecurity Bill will do to lessen the security burden.

According to the 2015 International Business Report (IBR) focused on cyber security, one in ten South African businesses have experienced a cyber-attack in the past year. While cybercrime incidences have been on the rise over the past few years, the sheer level of these attacks is now starting to make business sweat.

A major trend that experts have started to pick up on is whaling, referring to targeted emails that pretend to come from the likes of senior executives within the organisation. Due to the fact that these emails are coming from positions of power within an organisation, there is little reason for employees to suspect foul play.

Organisations are also forking out large sums of money in a desperate attempt to stop cybercriminals from leaking illegally obtained company information.

With the cost of cybercrime in South Africa reaching nearly R5.8 billion in 2015, according to the Global Cost of Cyber-crime report, organisations feel that they’re now in dire straits, but where do they go from here?

A solution on the horizon?

Contrary to popular belief, South Africa is in a very good legislative position to prevent cybercrime and malicious attacks. But beyond legislation, the issue we currently face is the inability to put the structures in place and manage them appropriately. Having the right structures in place to report crimes, monitor them, and enforce the law is something the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill hopes to address.

The bill aims to keep the people of South Africa safe from cybercriminals and breaches. It also consolidates South Africa’s cybercrime laws into one place, providing an excellent mechanism to bring criminals to justice.

While the bill looks to eventually level the cyber playing field, it is still currently stuck in the deliberation pipeline. So how do businesses move forward until it comes into action? Third party solution providers, like Mimecast, are there to provide safety nets to keep criminals at bay.

One solution to protect employees from phishing emails, provided by Mimecast, is its Targeted Threat Protection service. It protects again common spear-phishing email attacks where the victim is given a malicious web link to click on or a malware-laden attachment to open. Each link and attachment is reviewed by Mimecast before it can be clicked or opened.

Getting savvy

But technology like Mimecast Targeted Threat Protection is only part of the story. Education is key when it comes to keeping your personal and organisational information safe from prying eyes. By educating employees about the threats they face and giving them the means to report suspicious activity, organisations can unlock the power of their human firewall to thwart attacks that are growing in sophistication.

An educated workforce protected with the best security technology will help to ensure that your private data is kept just that – private.

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Bring your network with you

At last week’s Critical Communications World, Motorola unveiled the LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. It allows rescue personal to set up dedicated LTE networks for communication in an emergency, writes SEAN BACHER.

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In the event of an emergency, communications are absolutely critical, but the availability of public phone networks are limited due to weather conditions or congestion.

Motorola realised that this caused a problem when trying to get rescue personnel to those in need and so developed its LXN 500 LTE Ultra Portable Network Infrastructure. The product is the smallest and lightest full powered broadband network to date and allows the first person on the scene to set up an LTE network in a matter of minutes, allowing other rescue team members to communicate with each other.

“The LXN 500 weighs six kilograms and comes in a backpack with two batteries. It offers a range of 1km and allows up to 100 connections at the same time. However, in many situations the disaster area may span more than 1km which is why they can be connected to each other in a mesh formation,” says Tunde Williams, Head of Field and Solutions Marketing EMEA, Motorola Solutions.

The LXN 500 solution offers communication through two-way radios, and includes mapping, messaging, push-to-talk, video and imaging features onboard, thus eliminating the need for any additional hardware.

Data collected on the device can then be sent through to a central control room where an operator can deploy additional rescue personnel where needed. Once video is streamed into the control room, realtime analytics and augmented reality can be applied to it to help predict where future problem points may arise. Video images and other multimedia can also be made available for rescuers on the ground.

“Although the LXN 500 was designed for the seamless communications between on ground rescue teams and their respective control rooms, it has made its way into the police force and in places where there is little or no cellular signal such as oil rigs,” says Williams.

He gave a hostage scenario: “In the event of a hostage situation, it is important for the police to relay information in realtime to ensure no one is hurt. However the perpetrators often use their mobile phones to try and foil any rescue attempts. Should the police have the correct partnerships in place they are able to disable cellular towers in the vicinity, preventing any in or outgoing calls on a public network and allowing the police get their job done quickly and more effectively.”

By disabling any public networks in the area, police are also able to eliminate any cellular detonated bombs from going off but still stay in touch with each other he says.

The LXN 500 offers a wide range of mission critical cases and is sure to transform communications and improve safety for first responders and the people they are trying to protect.

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Kaspersky moves to Switzerland

As part of its Global Transparency Initiative, Kaspersky Lab is adapting its infrastructure to move a number of core processes from Russia to Switzerland.

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This includes customer data storage and processing for most regions, as well as software assembly, including threat detection updates. To ensure full transparency and integrity, Kaspersky Lab is arranging for this activity to be supervised by an independent third party, also based in Switzerland.

Global transparency and collaboration for an ultra-connected world

The Global Transparency Initiative, announced in October 2017, reflects Kaspersky Lab’s ongoing commitment to assuring the integrity and trustworthiness of its products. The new measures are the next steps in the development of the initiative, but they also reflect the company’s commitment to working with others to address the growing challenges of industry fragmentation and a breakdown of trust. Trust is essential in cybersecurity, and Kaspersky Lab understands that trust is not a given; it must be repeatedly earned through transparency and accountability.

The new measures comprise the move of data storage and processing for a number of regions, the relocation of software assembly and the opening of the first Transparency Center.

Relocation of customer data storage and processing

By the end of 2019, Kaspersky Lab will have established a data center in Zurich and in this facility, will store and process all information for users in Europe, North America, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea, with more countries to follow. This information is shared voluntarily by users with the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) an advanced, cloud-based system that automatically processes cyberthreat-related data.

Relocation of software assembly

Kaspersky Lab will relocate to Zurich its ‘software build conveyer’ — a set of programming tools used to assemble ready to use software out of source code. Before the end of 2018, Kaspersky Lab products and threat detection rule databases (AV databases) will start to be assembled and signed with a digital signature in Switzerland, before being distributed to the endpoints of customers worldwide. The relocation will ensure that all newly assembled software can be verified by an independent organisation and show that software builds and updates received by customers match the source code provided for audit.

Establishment of the first Transparency Center

The source code of Kaspersky Lab products and software updates will be available for review by responsible stakeholders in a dedicated Transparency Center that will also be hosted in Switzerland and is expected to open this year. This approach will further show that generation after generation of Kaspersky Lab products were built and used for one purpose only: protecting the company’s customers from cyberthreats.

Independent supervision and review

Kaspersky Lab is arranging for the data storage and processing, software assembly, and source code to be independently supervised by a third party qualified to conduct technical software reviews. Since transparency and trust are becoming universal requirements across the cybersecurity industry, Kaspersky Lab supports the creation of a new, non-profit organisation to take on this responsibility, not just for the company, but for other partners and members who wish to join.

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