Home » MBJ FEATURE » WESLEY McGREW — The reality of cybercrime

WESLEY McGREW — The reality of cybercrime

» You’re reading the first in a series of columns that will describe how to keep your organization from being a victim, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you about your concerns and questions.
WESLEY McGREW

WESLEY McGREW

Computer networks have given us the ability to operate, communicate, and conduct business more easily today than ever before. It is, however, hard to imagine a more dangerous time for businesses to operate than right now. While technology has provided us with great opportunities, it has also exposed us to attacks that threaten our business operations. At no other time in history has a business stakeholder faced as many criminal threats on a daily basis as we face today.

Thinking of your primary business location, can you imagine experiencing hundreds of break-in attempts every night? What if masked men casually waited in line at your safe, patiently waiting their turn to try guessing the code or cutting it with a torch?

Would you be concerned if someone was taking photos of every document that came out of your printers, or grabbed the hardcopy and insisted that you pay them to give it to you? Then, imagine calling for help and being met with confusion and disinterest.

It sounds like madness, but this is the new reality for businesses, as everyone is under the constant threat of cyberattack.

Most businesses who fall victim don’t know that they have been attacked until customer records are leaked publicly, intellectual property turns up in competitors’ hands, or operations halt with an accompanying demand for ransom. This is when law enforcement gets involved, but it’s too late for you: the damage is done, and in the absence of an identified criminal, you and your business will be convicted in the court of public opinion for negligence and inadequate response.

As I’ll describe in the future of this column, these attacks frequently transcend computer networks and start impacting the physical security and communications of victimized businesses. So, what can you do? How can you protect yourself? These are complex questions that I plan to address, but for now, consider the following:

» Get educated about cybersecurity. You can’t defend from what you don’t understand. Cybercrime is real. It’s a threat to all organizations. Its no longer a matter of “if” but “when”.

» Implement a cybersecurity strategy. Are you taking the proper measures to adequately protect your organization? How will you know if a hacker is on your network?

» Have an incident response plan. How will you bounce back after an attack? Have a plan in place to respond and bounce back after an attack.

» Dr. Wesley McGrew is the director of Cyber Operations at HORNE Cyber. Understanding that businesses are under constant cyberattack, and simultaneously held ultimately responsible for their own victimization, Wes stepped away from academic research in order to develop talent and services that help organizations improve their resilience. He has made a career out of studying attacker techniques and applying them in offense-oriented services like penetration testing that identify vulnerabilities before they are successfully exploited by real criminals. 

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