Stopping Cyber Events, It’s all about focus

Until the people in charge, managers, board members realize that

  • cyber crime is not going away,
  • no one is immune and
  • protection is everyone’s problem but needs to be addressed from the management down

We will continue to have spectacular cyber events.

Spectacular cyber events that cross over from the internet into the real world.

Stop the blame game and focus on the solutions.

The solutions need not be expensive, but they have to be implemented.

They are your first line of defence.

In today’s social media driven world any mistakes will be highlighted, in some cases spectacularly.

People no longer keep they mouths shut.

They open their mouths for political gain, to score points, to settle old scores, for just plain vindictiveness or they are just being idiots.

The information will come out.

The information will come out whether you want it to or not.

I was told something a long time ago.

It was called the today tonight test.

and i think that it still applies today.   If i had made a mistake and someone put a TV camera and microphone in my face would I still be able to say that i acted in the best interests of what ever i am talking about.

If i could then OK, if not why not?

Armed with this piece of advice I have kept it in mind with everything that I have done since.

I think it is about time that government officials, politicians, board members and C level executives went back to applying the same principle.

If you stuffed up, admit it, take the bumps and bruises and get on with fixing the problem.

The Japanese attitude of fixing the problem not assign the blame is really important in today’s world.

The rain of cyber events

We are all still looking to assign the blame

In the last cyber attack (wannacry) the blame game has once again come to the fore.

  • Stop thinking that the cyber event will not happen – it will
  • Stop thinking that the cyber problem is going to go away – it will not
  • Stop thinking that investing in cyber event prevention is too expensive – it is not
  • For F!?k sake, Just stop

Today’s cyber criminal needs you to think that the operating system is fine even though it hasn’t been updated or patched in years.

Needs you to think that easy to remember passwords are not a problem.

Needs you to think that your staff are informed or trained enough to prevent a cyber event – they are not

Needs you to not invest in better security around everything digital.

Needs you to think that the whole cyber problem is an IT problem.

The cyber criminal is happy that you think that, because that is how they get in.   Once in, well we saw the repercussions on the weekend of the 12 May 2017.

Roger Smith is the CEO of R & I ICT Consulting Services, Lecturer at ADFA (UNSW – Australian Centre of Cybersecurity), Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime, Presenter for the Business Security Intensive, author of the Digital Security Toolbox and Digital Security Framework.   Rapid Restart Appliance Creator.   He is a Speaker, Author, Teacher and Educator on cybercrime and how to protect yourself from the digital world. 

Why do i need a Managed Security provider?

Why are we the weakest link in cybersecurity – we just don’t care!

The threats are NOT imaginary.

The threats are real!

The visibility of the wannacry attack actually highlights how vulnerable the world is with its reliance on all things digital

Zero day exploits and known vulnerabilities are available for every operating system, including IOT devices.

 Anything with a digital signature can be hacked.

Where it all breaks down is that in most cases there is a human who is attached to the device.

A human who has the ability to veto all security measures in their hurry to do something, anything with the device.

How often have we seen the “updates available” on our server, laptop, smart device or application and have been in too much of a hurry to apply them.

In most cases it would take 10 minutes out of our busy daily schedule, 10 minutes where we have to find something else to do – not screen related.

cybersecurity We are so busy that we cannot find that 10 minutes?

Most systems are now being designed to make it obvious, and will persistently tell us that we need to update.

What do we do?

We complain that we do not have enough time.   We are too busy.   We cannot stop for that brief space of time to increase our security.

The SMB patch for wannacry has been available since march, that is almost 8 weeks before the cryptovirus attack, but the impact was significant because we were too busy.

I thought that we had learned from the “code red” attack in the early 2000’s, that patching is a very important part of digital security, obviously not!

“Code Red” crippled the internet because of un patched SQL servers, the patch had been available for 3 months prior to the release of the virus.

Most of the problems with security in the digital world is US.

We are too focused on our tools to see the underlying features that have actually been put in place to protect us.

There is a quote I often use in my training “THERE IS NO PATCH FOR HUMAN STUPIDITY”

 We are the weakest link in cybersecurity, in the digital chain where we should be the strongest.

In most cases we are very stupid!

Roger Smith is the CEO of R & I ICT Consulting Services, Lecturer at ADFA (UNSW – Australian Centre of Cybersecurity), Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime, Presenter for the Business Security Intensive, author of the Digital Security Toolbox and Digital Security Framework.   Rapid Restart Appliance Creator.   He is a Speaker, Author, Teacher and Educator on cybercrime and how to protect yourself from the digital world. 

Ransomware – So you think you have nothing worth stealing?

Lets just look at that for a moment

In today’s world we all use the internet to do business, to communicate, to have fun.

What we forget is this!

  • You have a Mobile phone or tablet = target
  • You have email = target
  • You have a web site = target
  • You own a Smart TV = target
  • You live in a Smart home = target
  • Have anything that is part of the Internet of things = target

There is no getting away from it.

If you are connected to the internet, the digital world, the cyber world, in any shape or form – you are a target.

Do you now agree that you are a target!

By being a target, what are they after?

Most people think that they have nothing worth stealing?

In today’s digital world, that is bull.

If I was a hacker – What could I steal from you?

Lets just start with just the basics –

  • money or access to money
  • Intellectual property, trade secrets or restrict access to information
  • PI information about you

Additionally, Technology – your computers, phones, tablets, your smart devices.

Things you may not even consider your phone systems and your gaming console.

So you are also saying that you have nothing worth stealing!

So lets look at the phenomena that is the fastest growing digital crime ever seen – ransomware.

Ransomware Why is ransomware so effective?

To anyone who has been a target of ransomware, you realise very very fast that not having access to things that you considered not inportant, suddenly become very important.

With a ransomware attack you have three actions –

  1. its not important so I won’t worry about it,
  2. I will pay the ransom or
  3. I will restore from backup

Your choice, but i can guarantee that not having a tested and secure backup will haunt you.

The problem with the digital world is we are all exposed.

We are all targets.

More importantly, if you don’t do something about it who will?

Want to know more about business security?

Join us for the business security intensive

Roger Smith is the CEO of R & I ICT Consulting Services, Lecturer at ADFA (UNSW – Australian Centre of Cybersecurity), Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime, author of the Digital Security Toolbox and the SME Digital Security Framework.   Rapid Restart Appliance Creator.   He is a Speaker, Author, Teacher and Educator on cybercrime and how to protect yourself from the digital world. 

Why do i need a Managed Security provider?

Compliance is only as good as the people doing the audit.

There are two real noticeable ways of doing compliance, when it comes to business security.
The first is looking at the audit requirements and only doing what is required to meet that audit.
If you change a part of the compliance requirements you then fail the audit.
The second is to actually do the process correctly.
Making the system as secure as possible within the constraints of finances, time and capability.
Using a decent business security framework (mine or someone else’s) is the first step in building a secure environment for your technology, money, intellectual property, staff and clients.
The impact of a failed compliance audit can cause a number of issues for any size business.   The biggest one is that your organisation is vulnerable to a cyber event.
The impact of a cyber event on the owners and managers of small business, on C level executives of larger organisations and on sitting board members can be be devistating in a number of ways.
Loss of revenue, falling stock prices, fines and legal suits to name a few.   They can have a significant impact on business capability as well as at an individual level.
The right compliance audit can show that you have done everything that is possible to protect the organisation from cyber crime and still be compromised.

That is the nature of the cyber beast.

We are all playing catch up.
We are at the beck and call of the cyber criminal.
So protecting the organisation at a strategic and tactical focus stops the knee jerk reactions of the events that we all hear about in the news and on the internet.
This is why a framework is so important.
For instance, the newest version of a ransomware variant is targeting a zero day exploit that was patched a couple of weeks ago.
This would not have any significant impact on an organisation who has a software patching policy in place and active.   The patch for that exploit would have been applied in the patching process.  Reducing the risk of that vulnerability being exploited.
Another example is 2 factor authentication for VPN log in.   Two factor authentication works on the principle of username and password and a third component.
The third component only comes into play if the first two are correct.  The third component can be an SMS to a phone or a 6 digit number on a fob.  Put in the information and you have access.
Increased security, auditable and easy to use.   It also increases the security of your business.
For more information on compliance sign up for our business security intensive using the NIST framework at a location near you.

A business security framework for the cyber insured

The introduction and subsequent uptake of insurance focusing on “cyber” have shown that the insurance industry is serious about protecting the assets of businesses all over the world.
The level of protection is dependent on the policy, your business requirements and also how much protection you need for your business.
Insurance without looking at increased protection however, will not work.  A breach would / could put you in the situation where you are not covered.
If you do not get your business security and protection correct then you will be in a situation where a cyber crime against your business will not be covered under your insurance policy
Here is a basic framework that aligns with most cyber insurance policies.
  1. Technology.  There are a number of areas where technology investment is paramount.   Here are a few
    • Router, modem, firewall – get the best you can afford.   Definitely get rid of the system supplied by the ISP or the shop bought one from a home retail shop.  As a level of protection they will not protect your organisation.   Minimal spend should be around $600 for a small business up to more than $20k for a large organisation
    • End point protection – 2 things about end point protection, they will catch malware and suspect applications because, like us the hackers are inherently lazy and use old known code.   The second is doing a regular scan, this will allow systems to catch up with malware that has been recently discovered.
    • Wifi – access to your wifi allows access to your systems, whether it is set up to have access or not.   Once again spend a little and invest in the best you can afford.
    • Encryption – if you are collecting staff, user, client and financial information then it need to be protected from ease dropping with encryption.   Encryption needs to focus on data at rest, where and when it is stored as well as in transit.
    • Patching and updates – operating systems – do it, applications – do it, websites – do it, tablets and phones – do it.   Absolutely critical to protecting anything digital in today’s world.
    • Up to date operating systems and applications – if you are using old versions of MAcOS, windows XP, android – replace them ASAP
  2. Management.

    • Policies procedures and processes – policies are very important as they tell your staff where you stand on passwords, internet usage, email usage, education and training.   Make sure everyone reads and understands them.   Procedures allow you to specify how things are done so that anyone can walk in and do a task without supervision.   Processes will also allow systems inside the organisation to be implemented as a standard
    • Audit and reporting – it is no use collecting information from the system if no one is going to look at it.   You need to implement a standard process that audits the information and reports it to management.
    • Logging and alerts – all systems have some level of logging.  In a small organisation daily checks of individual logs can be done, in larger organisations there is a need for a central location and a system that alerts staff to issues coming from firewalls, intrusion detection or AV.
    • Password management – in today’s world passwords are your passport to the digital world so they have to have 3 components – must be more than 10 characters, must be unique for each location and must be complex, having letters, numbers, capitals and symbols.
    • Education and training – there is a 300% ROI on education in an organisation.   Your staff are the first and last line of defence, when the technology fails an educated user will be the last line of defense
  3. Sustainability
    • Disaster recovery – when it alls goes to custard (and it will) you better have a way back.   This is what disaster recovery is all about.   It doesn’t matter if it is physical (flood, fire), digital (cyryptovirus, failed hard drive) everything that is stored digitally is vulnerable.
    • Risk management – you need to way up the risks of a issue impacting your organisation.   The higher the risk the more you need to mitigate it.   If you use the NIST framework to manage your risk and exposure it will benefit the process of risk management
    • Backups – everything that is important need to have a backup made of it.   If it is business critical then the risk of something happening needs to be weighed up against mitigation and cost.   Virtual imaging backup software is a huge solution to this priblem
    • Business continuity – what happens if the district where you office is locked down and noone can access the office.  What contigencies have yo got in place.
  4. Compliance – if you are collecting PII (personal identification information) then you will have a compliance requirement.   If you are collecting financial information then PCI DSS compliance requirements come into the situation as well
 So insurance is all very well but unless your organisation invests in the additional components of your cyber protection you may find that the cryptovirus that has encrypted all of your data is not covered.
If you want to know more get my book or ebook
Roger Smith is the CEO of R & I ICT Consulting Services,(, Lecturer at ADFA (UNSW – Australian Centre of Cybersecurity), Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime (, author of the Digital Security Toolbox ( and the SME digital security framework (   He is a Speaker (, Author, Teacher and educator ( on cybercrime and how to protect yourself from the digital world.

Cybersecurity and business security training when it is working, you WILL know!

Joining the Cybersecurity IN Crowd

When it comes to proving that your Cybersecurity and business security training is working there is usually not much to show!   In most cases there is a general rumbling within an organisation, like every other training: wasting time, effort and sometimes money.   

BUT, there is a little known fact that when cybersecurity training is embraced there is an overwhelming camaraderie created.

Complete the course and you are one of the crowd.  

A part of the IN crowd.  

Look at that you, know a little more about computers, security and that is important for moral within any organisation.

Like any other training and education program we need to know how to use the tools that we are given in the organisation.   Cybersecurity and business security focuses on protecting the information that those tools generate.

How do you know that your training is being embraced

If they are discussing the training – you win

Getting people involved in any training is hard – most people just want to do their jobs.  More importantly, in todays world they either think they know it all or management doesn’t think it is important.  

If you have delivered any type of business security or cybersecurity training or presentations and they are talking about it in the break room then that is a vast improvement.     

This increase in awareness allows the organisation to concentrate on other areas of core business namely products and services.   In addition this level of discussion also makes for increased awareness, better protection for the organisations infrastructure.   

A win for the staff as well as a win for management.

There is a distinct lack of visible passwords

If your training is working you will find that everyone is more aware of the organisations password strategies.   This awareness should be visible with a distinct lack of post it notes all over peoples work stations, monitors and under keyboards.   

When everyone has been taught how to create complex passwords that are unique to every website or location, that are easy to remember and are longer then 10 characters, security within the organisation just has to improve.

Errors and mistakes with digital information start to disappear.

Once a training package has been completed there is a distinct decrease in the number of silly mistakes made by the people who have received the training.

Why don’t People make as many silly mistakes.   They do not open email attachments, follow links, email critical information outside the organisation, make silly regretful comments on social media and are less susceptible to social engineering attacks.   They think about the consequences and the have a higher awareness threshold

They have been taught to follow the “trust no one” philosophy, are paranoid of the digital world, show an increased awareness in what and how the bad guys are targeting them, your organisation and their access to money.  

Bragging about recognizing a specifically sneaky phishing / spear phishing email

The biggest off shoot is when staff members start to brag about cyber attack failures that they have been involved in.  A targeted email that was aimed at the accounts department.   A phone call they thought was fishy.

When that happens everyone feels good.

There is an increase in business interaction

With an increased awareness of what is a true business proposal and what is krap, business can start to make an impact in their areas of core business.

If you combine a true cybersecurity, business security training package with an above average NIST score you can start to influence your market niche, control who you do business with and improve their business capabilities.

As we all know training and education of staff, management, C-Level execs and board members is very important.   The significant changes in internal attitudes to cybercrime and fraud increase significantly if a decent training.

If you are interested in a decent inexpensive training package for small and medium enterprise then contact us on one of the following links.


Roger Smith is the CEO of R & I ICT Consulting Services, Lecturer at ADFA (UNSW – Australian Centre of Cybersecurity), Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime, author of the Digital Security Toolbox and the SME Digital Security Framework.   Rapid Restart Appliance Creator.   He is a Speaker, Author, Teacher and Educator on cybercrime and how to protect yourself from the digital world.