“Many believe that increasing cyber-related spending is fully protective but it isn’t enough,” said Meghan Hannes, Cyber Product Head for Hiscox in the U.S. “A holistic approach is needed.”
The Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2019™ found that cyber incidents in the past 12 months cost an average of $119,000 while spending on cybersecurity per year averages some $2,300, according to a Deloitte study.
“Cybersecurity is tricky because there’s no silver bullet,” said Raj Bakhru, partner with ACA Aponix in New York City. “We need the public sector to help the private sector so that the FBI is empowered to pursue hackers.”
Overall, some countries are better off than others when it comes to protection. The 2018 Hiscox study surveyed companies in the UK, U.S., Germany, Spain and The Netherlands while, in 2019, France and Belgium were added to the list.
“The addition of France and Belgium this year skewed the results because they have poorer protection when, in fact, the more developed countries on the cyber front like the U.S., the UK and Germany are actually doing better,” Bakhru said.
Below are three ways to reduce the risk of an attack.
1. Establish an active VPN connection
“Before hackers can infiltrate your servers, they would have to penetrate the heavily-encrypted VPN connection first, which would be incredibly difficult to do,” said David Janssen, CEO of Vpnoverview.com. “It masks aspects like your actual location, the websites you access and your activities.”
VPN packages range from $7 to $12 per month, however, added encryption or security, can boost the cost to some $70 a year, according to Jannsen.
“Over the years, we have created an extended testing protocol to determine which VPNs are the best,” Janssen told Newsmax. “Low-cost VPNs that still cover a number of key factors from safety and speed to user-friendliness include PIA, TunnelBear and ProtonVPN.”
According to an Accenture report, multiparty credential and identity theft is among the top five threats followed by data theft and manipulation, disinformation, disruptive and destructive malware and emerging technologies like blockchain, crypto currency, and artificial intelligence.
“Combining VPN with emerging technologies, like blockchain, creates a powerful decentralized privacy solution,” said Janssen.
2. To combat multiparty credential and identity theft, couple two or more authentication with risk engines that identify a device.
“Protecting your online traffic is an issue that gets more serious by the week,” Janssen said. “Therefore, a VPN hub is compulsory for everyone for privacy, security, and content unblocking.”
Multifactor authentication is a layer of protection that can combine biometrics, a password and a rotating cell phone code, for example.
“An attack is not a matter of if, but when,” said Valerie Abend, a managing director who leads Accenture’s North America Financial Services Cybersecurity and Global Cyber Regulatory Practices. “The job is less about pure protection and more about remaining resilient.”
The threat is so persistent that increasing cyber-related spending isn’t enough and awareness alone does not equal action or preparedness. That’s because hackers are well funded, according to Bakhru.
“Every successful attack puts more dollars in their piggy bank to invest in new attack techniques,” he said. “Unfortunately, they’ve had some very sizable payouts and will continue to have very sizable payouts, which will draw more attackers into the space and which puts us constantly on the defensive.”
To make matters worse, authorities, such as the FBI, are limited when hackers are state sponsored by foreign governments.
“The FBI, Interpol and others run into foreign state agencies that pretend to be cooperative, but at the end of the day aren’t actually cooperating,” Bakhru said.
3. Segment networks to reduce the median cost for losses associated with cyber incidents, which soared from $229,000 to $369,000, because any one defense is not a sure-fire solution. For example, logging onto a different device for money transfers so that if one network is breached, all is not lost.
“VPNs, simple in their design, can be combined with segmentation to make all processes safer,” Janssen said.
Juliette Fairley is an author, lecturer and TV host based in New York.
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