Cyber-Security Experts Provide Tips

Hackers continue to attack all businesses globally

Mike Baggerman
May 17, 2017 - 2:10 pm

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WBEN) - In light of recent events regarding cyber-security attacks, Hilbert College was the site of a seminar to explain measures to both prevent and recover from cyber attacks. The seminar featured organizations including the Better Business Bureau, AT&T, ASIS, and the U.S. Attorney's Office, among others. 

"No matter how big or small you are, back up your data," AT&T Senior Security Expert Allan Griffin said. "If you haven't done a data backup recently, do it, do it today. The second thing is to patch and update your systems. Whether you're using Microsoft Windows or Apple iOs, update your systems immediately. Then, obviously, take a look at a good incident response plan in the case you do get attacked and really focus on a good cyber-security plan."

According to information provided at the seminar, 60 percent of small businesses that experience a data breach or a cyber-attack are unable to maintain business. The average cost to fix and attack is close to $700,000. 

"Most people (in the United States) keep their operating systems up to date," Warren Clark, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York said while explaining hacking is much more prolific in overseas countries like Asia. 

Clark also explained that one of the roles the Better Business Bureau plays is to provide small businesses the necessary tools to combat cyber-attacks such as phone numbers and insurance information.

Research from AT&T concluded there are more than 117,000 cyberattacks on businesses each day and the estimated average financial loss per cyber-security incident in 2014 was $2.7 million, an icnrease of 34 percent from the year before. 

WBEN did speak with one small business who was attacked by ransomware in 2016. Fortunately, that business consistently backed up files and didn't need to pay the ransom. However, they paid the IT company around $8,000 to restore affected files and solve security for the future.

Evolution of Hacking

It wasn't uncommon to receive a message of someone claiming to be a wealthy member of a royal family who reached out to you needing help in exchange for millions of dollars. The e-mail was simply ignored most of the time. 

In 2017, the hacking is more complex and quiet.

"It's even more anoymous," Clark said. "They were identifying themselves as a person or thing. Now it's an e-mail that says 'pay or else'. What they were doing before is playing something to our individual greed...this kind of situation is usually small money but our direct money going to them. It's not even them looking for our data. The ransomware is the most scary and I think it will be the most prolific because there's always going to be someone going into your data."

Griffin said the use of technology is a giant "cat and mouse" game between security experts and cyber-attackers.

"The hackers do one thing and we get new tools, hardware, or new software," he said. "It becomes more effective and then the hackers - who by the way are very well funded. They have a lot of money to produce these things -, they develop new tools and new techniques. We chase the bad guys. We think we've come up with a new solution and they've come up with something else."

Griffin urges businesses and individuals to be vigilant about a budget and to continuously update your system. 

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