Cybersecurity, identity theft, data backup. If you’re plugged in, these are all terms you should familiarize yourself with as cyber-attacks are on the rise with hackers continually getting more creative. In this episode, cybersecurity experts from all over the US talk about how cyber-attacks got started, what makes you the most vulnerable, and what you should do to protect your home and business from a breach.
Christina Munoz is joined by Lou Covey, U.S. editor for "Cyber Protection Magazine,” Christopher Roberti, senior vice president for cyber intelligent and supply chain security policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Amanda Deusenbery, chief information security officer at Windstream Communications in our latest episode.
Munoz: While this topic continues to become more and more important, I know cyber attacks have been happening for years. So, Lou, we want to start with you. Give us some context on the rise of cyber attacks and how we got to where we are today.
Covey: Well, yeah, the crimes that are involved in cyber attacks, they're millennia old. I think the first recorded instance of a stolen identity was when Jacob stole Esau's birthright in the book of Genesis. Yeah, so the crimes have always been there. They've just used different forms of delivery. The first, the first episode of actual cyber crime happened back in 1989, by this guy named Popp, who was trying to, who actually put a virus into floppy disks and sent them out to companies saying he was raising money to for AIDS research. And he actually was successful to a certain degree, but the problem is the only thing he encrypted was the names of the files. The files themselves weren't encrypted, and it took people a little while to figure that out. He got arrested and he had to turn all of his money over to cyber, to AIDS research, and spent a few years in jail. And then, coming up around 19, actually 2006, I believe it was, was Kevin Mitnick, who started using social engineering to get passwords for people. And he ended up hacking all kinds of companies and stealing corporate information. He spent a long time in jail. Now, he is one of the world's leading cybersecurity experts. But the rise of where we are right now with ransomware and the hackers that we're dealing with now, that happened around 2015. That's when it really started getting big, and it's just grown from there.
Munoz: I don't know how you all keep up, because it's constantly changing. I don't know how you battle this thing that is so kind of unknown out there, but, Amanda, I want to turn over to you. And over the time of your career, I want to hear about some fundamentals, kind of some basics, some advice on how to reduce these cyber risks that are just so prevalent.
Deusenbery: Certainly. I think Lou touched on it, first and foremost, strong passwords, right? You know, the stronger the password, the less likely hackers are gonna get into your system. You know, don't use password123 or anything that's easily guessable. Use longer passwords, stronger passwords, some that might be a phrase, right? It's always sunny somewhere. Tacos are always good any day. Something that you can remember, because it is harder to remember those longer passwords, but, ideally, you would want to use multi-factor authentication. So, that's really using something besides your username and password. It could be a mobile application. It could be receiving a text message or a hardware device. So, ideally, you would want to also change your password between sites or accounts, right? You don't want to reuse the same password across the board.
Munoz: So, Christopher, I want to turn over to you, and I think about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I just can't imagine how many businesses we're talking about. This is a huge platform that you are a part of, and so, why is it important for businesses to be sure that their business and their employees are protected?
Roberti: Well, I mean, that's a great question, and I think, today, you're gonna hear a lot of commonality among the answers from all of us, things that have been raised before on multi-factor authentication, strong passwords, and the like. But really, I mean, we represent the interests of over 3 million American businesses, and, really, when you get down to it, economic security and national security are inextricably linked. And so while, you know, a company may think of itself as an individual entity, it's part of a larger mosaic that all link together that create that what is our economy. So, it's really important that companies take steps to individually increase the strength of their networks, educate their employees on the things that Amanda was mentioning, and Lou. You know, and separately, I would say that, you know, we've been looking at this issue, the Chamber has been looking at the issue of cybersecurity for, I mean, 15-plus years, and in the time that I've been at the Chamber, over the eight years, I'd say I've noticed a real change in companies at the very senior levels, C-suite levels, to understand that cybersecurity is not just an operational or technical issue, but it's a board level issue. It's a management level issue. It's an enterprise level issue that requires the management team and boards to see how they can quantify risk and respond to risks.
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