June 9, 2014 A recent publication from Verizon Communications that analyzed data breaches across the country has identified public entities as the #1 target of domestic hackers. In over 63,000 confirmed hacker attacks in calendar year 2013, 75% of the targets were public agencies.
Verizon does note that this massive percentage may be due to the more stringent reporting policies followed by most public entities, and that a more realistic number may be closer to 60%.
Even still, why are the majority of hackers out there targeting public organizations? Don’t private enterprises have more cash? They may, but the ugly truth is that public workers are generally using older, less sophisticated, and less secure computer systems than their counterparts in the private sector.
“You can’t go a week without seeing (public entities) in the press having some kind of a cyber-breach event,” states Mark Greisiger, the president of Pennsylvania-based NetDiligence, a cyber-risk management and information security services firm. While public entities generally have access to high-value personal information, such as addresses, birthdates, and Social Security numbers, “they don’t have the most sophisticated (information technology) departments.”
The ugly truth of it is that public agencies are easier to break into than private companies, and the payoff for hackers in stolen consumer data is often just as good or better when breaking into a public firm.
While it might be impossible to shore up every possible avenue of intrusion, there are a few simple changes that could make all the difference. This first is making sure that everyone changes their login passwords at least twice per month. According to Verizon, stolen passwords remain one of the most common entry methods of electronic intruders. The second is investing in some form of encrypted data storage for confidential records.
The LOK-IT drive from Systematic Development Group is an ideal choice for many public agencies – it’s portable, it’s encrypted, it’s affordable, and it can be shared by multiple users. Unlike encrypted data servers that can cost thousands of dollars, each LOK-IT flash drive is less than $100.
In addition, the LOK-IT drive features a unique hardware lock that prevents unauthorized electronic access without first entering a secure code in the attached keypad, rendering it virtually impervious to remote hackers, and making it an excellent investment for a public agency of any size.
No-Nonsense Data Security Tips from an Expert
June 2, 2014 Tobin Conley is the senior consultant and technology director at DelCor Technology Solutions, a consulting firm dedicated to assisting private and public organizations with managing and implementing technology and security solutions effectively. Last week, Conley released a short list of no-nonsense tips for smaller enterprises looking to shore up electronic defenses in the wake of an increasingly hostile online environment. “These aren’t super-sophisticated,” adds Conley, “but they knock out a good many liabilities.”
1. Have unique passwords
Using easy to guess passwords is a bad idea, since a password is often the first and strongest line of defense. In addition, it’s wide to change your passwords frequently, and it’s important never to share them with anyone.
2. Encrypt sensitive or confidential data
Using encryption should no longer be considered optional – in fact, many organizations, especially those in the health care industry, are required by law to keep volatile data encrypted.
3. Invest in an antivirus software
Browsing the Internet without using some form of virus protection is just asking for trouble. While no virus protection program can stop everything, most can stop well over 90% of attacks that could target you from ever occurring.
4. Keep multiple data backups and store them separately
One data backup simply isn’t enough anymore. With the increasing amount of connectivity in the workplace, a virus that attacks a local copy of a file can often jump through the network to infect backup copies as well.
Ultimately, keeping your data fully protected means using an off-network storage device. The LOK-IT flash drive from Systematic Development Group is an ideal choice for nearly any organization. Not only is the LOK-IT drive fully encrypted, it utilizes a unique hardware lock that prevents all communication without first entering a secure code into the attacked keypad.
While it’s true that no protection is foolproof, the LOK-It drive combines three elements of Conley’s list into one powerful data protection package. Only one device lets you tore your data off-network, keep it encrypted, and protect it with a unique password, all at the same time – the LOK-IT flash drive. Get yours today.