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Ripple cost of cyber attack

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Organisations are not always aware of the cost a security breach, as the ripple effects of cybercrime are often more damaging than the actual theft of information, writes DOROS HADJIZENONOS, Country Manager of Check Point.

The cost of any type of theft is often a lot higher than just the value of the stolen goods. If your house was broken into, you would feel violated. While your insurance company would reimburse you for the items stolen, you might not have the same sense of security as you did before the break-in. To feel more secure, you might invest in security system upgrades and even change your habits, like going out less often or not coming home in the dark. At the end of the day, you end up spending more – and not necessarily just money – in order to feel safe again.

Corporate breaches are no different and the ripple effects of cybercrime are often more damaging than the actual theft of information. The loss of confidence – both from your company and your customers – make you overspend on security solutions, feel obligated to pay impacted suppliers and cause your customers to flee.

Tallying the cost of cybercrime

According to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach is $154 (R2,180) per record. With many incidents involving thousands or even millions of records, the average cost of a single breach is often in the region of $3.79 million. The initial “splash” costs of a breach – when the stone first hits the water – includes several direct expenses:

  • The value of stolen intellectual property
  • Downtime analysing, repairing and refortifying all compromised systems
  • Checking all systems for additional infections
  • Restoring systems from backups and checking backups for vulnerabilities
  • Changing security procedures and training personnel on new safeguards

The less obvious “ripple” costs, however, can quickly overshadow these direct costs, and include:

  • Reputational damage. Brand value decreases 21% as a direct result of a security breach.
  • Loss of business resulting from breach of trust. Research found that 73% of US customers switch their financial service provider due to personal data theft, and 44% of financial services companies reported business loss of 20% or more due to reputation issues.
  • Knock-on attacks. People often use the same passwords to access different websites. Stolen passwords from one site are used in multiple breaches targeting other sites.
  • Disruption caused to other businesses, such as suppliers and partners. In the case of critical infrastructure, if one grid goes offline, hundreds or thousands of businesses could be impacted in ways not easily quantified.

In 2013, US retail chain Target suffered a data loss event in which 40 million debit and credit card records were stolen. Direct expenses added up to $248 million over two years but some sources estimate costs will exceed $2.2 billion when including losses from fraudulent charges, reimbursing suppliers, and penalties from class action lawsuits.

The ripple effects to company reputation are difficult to estimate, but very real. If a company has strong customer support and handles the situation carefully, customers may be shaken but not leave.

Organisations can protect themselves by taking a holistic approach to security instead of patching together point solutions, and by focusing on threat prevention as opposed to threat detection and remediation. To further reduce risk, they should include data loss prevention in the security mix and use best practices when configuring security.

When considering their cybersecurity goals, organisations should ask the following questions:

  • Understand the situation. How confident are we that our cybersecurity is effective against zero-day threats? How well trained are my employees about cyber threats and the potential consequences of their actions?
  • See what’s coming. Do we have clear visibility of log activity in all of our network segments?
  • Secure workloads not servers. Do the workloads I run in virtual, cloud and software-defined environments receive the same protections as workloads run in my data centre?
  • Get prepared. Do the company’s policies protect information and resources in all environments? How is the executive leadership informed about the current threat level and potential business impact of cyber-attacks?

The volume of attacks and attack points requires complete visibility into operations and centralised security management, but not complete transparency. Security officers should be cautious about exposing protection methods or discussing attack details because when cybercriminals see where attacks have an impact, they adapt their tactics. Because of this, organisations – especially financial institutions – now share attack information through shared threat intelligence feeds. Since most hackers use the same successful attack methods against multiple victims, it increases their costs if a hack method only works once. The more expensive hacking is, the lower the number of hackers, making everyone safer.

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CES: Most useless gadgets of all

Choosing the best of show is a popular pastime, but the worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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