Stories abound about one of the presidential candidate’s campaign email accounts being hacked and leaked, during the election campaign. Internet security is rapidly becoming a huge worry. So much so that the new administration is considering an executive order holding cabinet secretaries accountable for cyber security of government records. It is generally thought that the hackers were Russian.
Alan Crowetz, President and CEO of InfoStream Inc, Internet Security expert for Ch5 News, appeared on To The Point to discuss this worrying issue.
He said it would have been difficult to hack campaign emails, but by no means too difficult. He went on to say there is a lot to protect but there are a lot of vulnerabilities out there. It is a wild frontier which we don’t yet have it fully under control.
Too many people have their heads in the sand. We are still woefully behind, and there is still a lot of ignorance as to the full extent of the risks.
One of his big concerns is the electrical grid. The infrastructure and the equipment is old and therefore quite vulnerable. It could relatively easily be breached and shut down by foreign hackers without targeting any particular sector. It would effectively take everything down.
We’ve already seen how easy it is for foreign hackers to map out our grid, our utilities, but so far, no attempt has been made to attack. I fear it’s only a matter of time.
The Financial services sector is however, way ahead of the curve, they are better educated and better prepared meaning they are more aware and as such, more alert to the dangers.
Education leading to awareness is the key. Making everyone aware of the risks is paramount. Every day we hear something about it on the news which is making everyone concerned making them more alert.
I actually see some of the breaches as a positive thing – they are acting as a wakeup call that something needs to be done and quickly. It’s sad to say that nothing will get done until something potentially bad happens and these frequent breaches are serving to make us much more aware of the need to greater security measures.
The dangers we have seen so far are only the tip of the iceberg. Existing procedures are still woefully inadequate.
Best advice is education. Be aware. Be vigilant. Have strong 10 character passwords with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, different passwords for every account, be aware what you have out there. Opt for two factor authentication when you can. We are now seeing biometrics with our mobile devices.