Cyber Crime Facts Executives Need to Know

I came across an article on PCWorld entitled "7 Cyber Crime Facts Executives Need to Know" and thought I'd add some comments:

Cyber crimes are far more costly than taking steps to harden an environment beforehand
Prevention is always cheaper than cure (cheaper in time, resources and dollars!). This doesn't just go for security, but other areas such as software development as well. Retro-fitting is always difficult, always expensive and never as good as if you'd 'done it right the first time'. The quote:
"the appointment of a single top executive responsible for enterprise risk management, a la a Chief Security Officer, or better still, a Chief Risk Officer is a critical factor for success" is an interesting one, as in my experience (and from talking with peers) many CROs in Australia are still primarily focused on financial and operational risk, with little understanding or appreciation of Information Risk. Perhaps it's a bit different in the US however (and I hope the trend is slowly changing here as well....thanks Julian Assange!)

Cyber crimes are pervasively intrusive and increasingly common occurrences
Recent high-profile events such as Wikileaks and the recent Vodafone breach have probably helped raise some awareness about Information Security and the 'reality' of cyber-crimes, although your less tech-savvy executives may think that having anti-virus installed = magical cyber-crime prevention forcefield.

The most costly cyber crimes are those caused by web attacks and malicious insiders
Web attacks I agree with, but I think there has always been some controversy about the real threat of insiders. While they can't be discounted (OK Wikileaks again....), they shouldn't be overestimated either. Insiders know they're more likely to get caught than the anonymous hacker in Russia or some other place with no extradition laws....
IMHO your web stuff is more likely to get attacked than you are to suffer an internal breach, especially with the rush to throw as much as possible onto the internet.

At onset, rapid resolution is the key to reducing costs  
Rapid identification and handling of incidents is a must in order to reduce damage and cost. Like point #1, preparation is the key and will make all the difference when the bits hit the cyber-fan.
Oh and notice I mentioned identification - you can't handle or resolve that you don't know about!

Loss of information due to theft represents the highest external cost, followed by the costs associated with the disruption to business operations
This may vary industry to industry and country to country as laws such as breach disclosure are different across the world. But in general, if it was worth breaking in and stealing, it must be worth something to someone - a competitor, a rival government, etc. Resuming operations is certainly easier than retrieving data posted on the Internet or consumer confidence in the face of a privacy breach.

All industry verticals are susceptible to cybercrime
If you have data worth something, then you're a potential target. Whether you're in medical, finance or widget manufacture, you may be a target for cybercrime. Unfortunately it's a fact of life today. Of course some industries (like finance) are far more likely to be targeted.

If you deal with senior or Executive Management in your organization, these make great starting points to present some information to them. Use sites like datalossdb to find incidents in your area or industry to emphasize your points. Don't assume they know these things, go out there and educate them!

1 Response to "Cyber Crime Facts Executives Need to Know"

  1. Ana Cyber says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info. Cyber security expert

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