What every CEO and CIO should know about cybersecurity

The problem with cybersecurity is it is not sexy.

In most cases it is down right boring.

Although not sexy and down right boring it is still something that every CEO, manager, owner and board member has to focus on.

With all of the automated attack vectors available to the cyber criminals, we can no longer say we are not a target. We cannot say we have nothing worth stealing.

The more and more reliant business has on the digital world the greater the chance that a cyber event will cripple the organisation.

What are the main things that every management type needs to focus on when it comes to prevention of a cyber event.

Here are a few!

The cost of a cyber event.

The cost of a cyber even can range from lost time and functionality within the organisation to more money than the organisation can find to pay for the breach.

Cryptovirus is an example of lost time and functionality. If you do not have a functioning and tested backup of the data, you have to rebuild the offending device but you will also have to also replicate all of the data.

A full blown breach by a dedicated black hat hacker can steal everything and then use your system as a platform to target your clients, suppliers and staff. When that happens you realize that you are NOT too small to be a target

How they get into your system

The go to weapon of most cyber attacks is social engineering. Two parts of a very effective attack strategy. The technology to effect change, follow a link to an infected website, click on an ad in social media or open an attachment in an email, combined with getting you to trust them where you let them in.

Either way they are now in.

Risk and problems just compounded.

Simple ransomware for instance, the initial encryption of data is only one of the stages of the attack. What about stage 2,3 and 4.

Wannacry showed us that a combination of 2 attack vectors allowed a single infection to traverse a whole network. One computer is a problem for any organisation. All of the computers is a nightmare.

The protection challenges

In most situations managers, owners, executive and board members do not understand the digital realm. Risk management of data (a critical component in today’s business world) is often overlooked and considered an ICT problem.

Its not! Today’s digital security challenge is everyone’s issue and the sooner it gets noticed as a business risk and treated as such the faster we will see a reduction in attacks.

From the largest organisations to smallest single entities, we all keep critical data in places that are easily accessed, relatively unprotected and mobile.

What are you doing to manage the expected cyber events that could cripple your organization?

There is no single, simple fix. If there was everyone would be safe.

It is a complex issue and one needs to dedicate some time, money and expertise to understanding the issues and risk associated with a cyber event.

Come to one of my intensive workshops it will open your eyes on your business requirement to be safe as an organistion.

Roger Smith is funny, scary, on point and is focused on one thing – increasing everyone’s awareness and understanding of the problems and issues associated with the digital world.
He was Runner up in the 2017 worldwide Cybersecurity Educator of the Year award and has been nominated for the 2018 Cybersecurity Educator of the Year award.  
He is a highly respected expert in the fields of cybercrime and business security and is a Lecturer at ADFA (UNSW – Australian Centre of Cybersecurity) on Cybercime, Cybersecurity and the hacking techniques used by the digital criminal.   
He is an Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime with his best selling book, Cybercrime a clear and present danger, going to number one on Amazon.   
He is the primary presenter for the Business Security Intensive (BSI) and author of the Digital Security Toolbox which is given away for free at the BSI.   He is a speaker, author, teacher and educator on Cybercrime and an expert on how to protect yourself, your staff, your clients and your intellectual property from the digital world.

Cyber event – Why does it take so long for answers?

Have you ever thought to yourself – that hack – Cyber Event –  happened 6 weeks ago why do we not yet know what happened?

The problem with today’s cyber events is actually how complicated and complex that hack or breach was to achieve.

Like every criminal they like to cover their tracks and there are a huge variety of ways to do that in the digital world.

How many out there have fudged on our profiles – old photos (missing the gray hair), wrong birthdays, wrong year of birth.

So the first problem – who just hacked my system?

Everything can be fake.

If you, an honest law abiding citizen, can lie on your profile why then can’t the bad guys.

We only lie about our profile out of vanity, they do it because they are legitimately trying to hide.

This is the first hurdle when it comes to identification.

Little or no information.

In addition they use what we call handles – think old radio speak “over and out rubber ducky”.

Today’s handles are a little more complex, or they convey some level of anonymity.

The calling card of a cyber event

The calling card of a cyber event

The second problem – what system did they use to hack my system?

The internet is full of systems, information and attack weapons that are easy to use, have large quantities of how to’s, help and videos.

That is just the internet.

If you want to know more get onto a chat room on the dark web and see what happens.

In addition to this there are also a vast range of ‘Proxies’.

These are devices and systems that have either been hacked and the owner has not discovered it or have been put together in other countries and locations specifically used as a way to hide the next attack.

The third problem – what has actually been stolen?

Everything today is data.

If I steal money from your credit card or bank account it is noticeable in the real world. I can see that someone has removed money from my possession, in some way. Stealing money from you then comes down to making you trust the transaction.

If I can steal $20 from you with an illegal pay wave transaction will you notice it?

But data is different. When i steal data from you, the information stays in the same place.

I am stealing a COPY of that information.

What I now do with that information will not have an impact on the original copy of the information.

If I have removed that data, how do you know that I have done that?

Each one of these steps can take hours, weeks, months or years to unravel. In that time the general public, industry, regulators, government and press are screaming and carrying on. To find out what happened.

Roger Smith is funny, scary, on point and is focused on one thing – increasing everyone’s awareness and understanding of the problems and issues associated with the digital world.
He was Runner up in the 2017 worldwide Cybersecurity Educator of the Year award and has been nominated for the 2018 Cybersecurity Educator of the Year award.  
He is a highly respected expert in the fields of cybercrime and business security and is a Lecturer at ADFA (UNSW – Australian Centre of Cybersecurity) on Cybercime, Cybersecurity and the hacking techniques used by the digital criminal.   
He is an Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime with his best selling book, Cybercrime a clear and present danger, going to number one on Amazon.   
He is the primary presenter for the Business Security Intensive (BSI) and author of the Digital Security Toolbox which is given away for free at the BSI.   He is a speaker, author, teacher and educator on Cybercrime and an expert on how to protect yourself, your staff, your clients and your intellectual property from the digital world.

 

Can you be a great CEO by ignoring Cyber?

The digital world, the cyber world, is creating huge problems for business.

People like me and the security community have been screaming for the last 10 or so years about the problems, issues and dangers that the digital world delivers to business.

We have shown numerous times that the digital realm is a huge problem for anyone who thinks that:

  • they are not a target,
  • have nothing worth stealing or
  • cyber security is too expensive.

Time and time we have seen data breaches and ransomware attacks that have crippled organisations, both large and small.

We have seen the most secure people in the world get breached time and time again.

Still no one is listening!

We are told we are being scare mongers, unrealistic, even calling our reputations into question. BUT, we still see the problems and although we are screaming we cannot convince people to do something about it.

Like me there are a number of people or organisations who are more interested in education and the process of education and training than selling tin (unnecessary technology) to a business.

We are more interested in raising awareness, and raising awareness is where we need to start.

As a CEO, manager, owner or board member you already have a handle on risk management. You live and breath cashflow, revenue streams, management teams and HR, it is all part of the process of being in charge. All this is taught in managers school or more importantly the school of hard knocks.

If you don’t learn these basics then you are going out of business. Slow or fast you will eventually go out of business.

There is a saying that “you don’t know what you don’t know”, in todays business world that is a specific reference to the digital realm.

We are all focussed on new and shiny, even I get caught up in the hype of new “whatever”. Most of them have a digital component incorporated into that new shiny thing.

We seldon look at the complex systems that make that part of the digital world work for you. It is complex!

As a CEO you need to understand the risks that cyber delivers to your organisation. Where do you get that understanding?

In most organisations business security lands smack bang on the desk of the IT section, the person who knows computers or the risk compliance officer.

They do not know what to do, they need guidance, direction and most importantly they need the AUTHORITY to enact change.

Business security is a very specialised area of expertise. You need to enact a framework.

You need to spend money wisely.

You need to continiously work on making the organisation more secure. Today we are more secure than yesterday!

Without understanding the risks, implementing change and giving a responsible person the authority to make change you are ignoring the Cyber Realm.

Without enacting a framework, you are at the mercy of the next cyber event.

Without a framework for business security you are not a very good CEO. That would really hurt.

Roger Smith is a highly respected expert in the fields of cyber crime and business security and is a Lecturer at ADFA (UNSW – Australian Centre of Cyber security) on Cyber crime, Cyber security and the hacking techniques used by the digital criminal.   

He is an Amazon #1 selling author on Cyber crime with his best selling book, Cyber crime a clear and present danger, going to number one in 3 sections of Amazon.   

He is the primary presenter for the Business Security Intensive (BSI) and author of the Digital Security Toolbox which is given away for free at the BSI.   He is a speaker, author, teacher and educator on Cyber crime and an expert on how to protect yourself, your staff, your clients and your intellectual property from the digital world.

The importance of a NIST rating

10 very good reasons you should know your NIST score!

NIST is not new.
In fact it has been around since its first iteration in 2014.
The National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST) developed a cybersecurity rating system to make it easy for any organisation to show where they are in protecting their digital information, systems and organisation.
Like other frameworks, and there are a few, it has its good points and bad.  One of its better points is that it is easy to implement although it can be a little labour intensive to start off.
The most important part is that it is a standard.  A standard figure that any business can compare with any other business, no matter the size, who they are or where they are located.
NIST is not a competition.   It is just a rating system, but it does become competative, both internally and external.
It is a way for any organisation to compare its cybersecurity capability internally as well as a standard for anyone else who may ask for it in the process of doing business.
It allows management to make decisions on who and how they want to do business with other organisations.
This framework is based on 5 areas of expertice: identify, detect, protect, respond and recover.
Each area of expertice has a number of questions and each question has a range of predetermined responses.   The answers are scored ranging from 0 (nothing is in place) to 4 (a process is inplace, used at all times and supported and signed off by management).   Once all the questions have been answered the score is talied up and devided by the number of questions (98).
This gives everyone a score beteen 0 and 4.
Most organisations when first questioned come in under 1.   Still it is not a competition, so this is your start point.

1 – NIST is easy to understand

Every organisation can have a NIST score, it takes a couple of hours to sit down and honestly answer the 98 questions.   This gives everyone the ability to have a starting point in protecting their organisation from a cyber event.

2 – NIST can be used to compare with others in your industry and across all industries

When it comes to camparing one NIST rating to another it is easy.   If your score is 2.8 and you want to do business or a joint venture with another organisation who has a NIST score of under 1 then you need to be able to manage the risk associated with that score.

3 – You can use your score to track your progress

If your original NIST score is 1.2 and you have upgraded your technology, implemented policies and added proceedures then your NIST score will start to increase.   For every change for the better that you put in place it increases your score.   Small infremental changes that have a big impact on your protection in the digital world.

4 – NIST is Objective

We all have an opinion and we all look at life differently.   NIST takes this into account and delivers an objective view of your business.   The 98 questions are designed to apply objectivity to a sometimes subjective decision.

5 – A NIST Score is credible

Giving every organisation the ability to compare their cyber event capability on a level playing field means that you are comparing apples with other apples.   You get a true rating of your cyber risk visibility.   It also weeds out the unscruptious who think that can bluff their way through the world.

6 – NIST shows your cyber event risk

The difference between a rating of 1 and a rating of 3 is very different.   A rating of 3 means that the risk of a cyber event is greatly reduced.   Greatly reduced, faster recovered from and easier managed.

7 – Your NIST score is easy to understand

If the policy within your organisation is to only do business with organisations that have a NiST rating above 2 you have an understanding that the information that is going to go between the organisations is correctly managed.

8 – NIST is community based

There is a huge community that is starting to use the NIST rating as a measure for their cyber event resilience.   They are there to help and best of all they have been there and done that.

9 – NIST adapts to the future

One of the best things about NIST is that in will handle the changes that are on the horizon.   they will handle those changes not because the changes are known, no one knows them, but because it is a framework designed to protect your organisation.   That framework allows an organisation to adapt its protection no matter what the changes are.
Not many people predicted the impact of social, mobile and IOT but it didn’t matter with a NIST environment because all you had to do was ADAPT to the changes.

10 – NIST gives your business a competitive advantage.

Any advantage in business is better than no advantage but the advantage that NIST gives to an organisation can be significant.   NIST allows an organisation to develop policies and procedure that can be deployed within the organisation that predicts how other organisations will interact with it.   In addition it allows an organisation to make management decisions based on fact.   Nist can also be used in the marketing of the security around your organisation.
Management has now got a scientific way of managing the internal and external risk to the organisation in the digital and cyber arenas.  This allows them to make objective based decisions, create systematic policies and invest in the right technologies to protect the organisation.
NIST is also great at weeding out those people that you are going to do business and organisation that are looking to do business with you.   A NIST rating allows you to manage who you are going to do business with.
If management has a policy of only doing business with organisations that have a NIST rating above 2.5 it means that information passed to that organisation is going to be secured in the same way and with similar protective practices that you have in place.
So what is your NIST rating?
Contact me: to discuss your cyber risk and business security
If you want to know more then come to one of the Business Security Intensive Workshops in a city near you.   https://www.business-security.com.au/intensive
Roger Smith is a highly respected expert in the fields of cybercrime and business security and is a Lecturer at ADFA (UNSW – Australian Centre of Cybersecurity) on Cybercime, Cybersecurity and the hacking techniques used by the digital criminal.   
He is an Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime with his best selling book, Cybercrime a clear and present danger, going to number one in 3 sections of Amazon.   
He is the primary presenter for the Business Security Intensive (BSI) and author of the Digital Security Toolbox which is given away for free at the BSI.   He is a speaker, author, teacher and educator on Cybercrime and an expert on how to protect yourself, your staff, your clients and your intelectual propert from the digital world.