The cyber security landscape for SMEs in 2018

| December 20, 2018

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Stackhouse Poland have been at the forefront of the Cyber insurance market for a number of years. We acknowledge the size and scope of risk facing UK businesses and, via our established National Practice Group, we have been working to create awareness of cyber risks to our clients and point to potential solutions, including risk transfer, through an established Cyber Insurance programme.

Spotlight

InZero Systems

InZero Systems (“InZero”) of Herndon, VA is an R&D firm dedicated to embedded computer security, i.e., hardware and firmware solutions which avoid the inherent vulnerabilities of software security products. The company is headed by Louis Hughes, former President of Lockheed-Martin and of GM International, and current Board Member of several international companies including Alcatel-Lucent. Other executives, owners and independent advisors have also headed prominent companies or served as security experts for enterprises or government agencies. InZero holds various patents in cyber security, with additional applications pending.

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Post-Pandemic Tech Job Market: The Good, Bad and Ugly

Article | August 30, 2021

As we emerge from the worst pandemic in a century, many public- and private-sector employees and employers are reassessing their options within technology and cybersecurity roles. Are boom times coming soon for tech companies, cybersecurity professionals and others? Marketplace.org recently posted the headline, “Are we headed for a Roaring ’20s economy?” Here’s an excerpt: “A year ago, when most of the country was under stay-at-home orders and people were losing jobs at an unprecedented rate, we asked three people who study economic history to explain whether the recession on the horizon was going to look anything like the Great Depression. “With the vaccine rollout well underway, weekly unemployment claims at their lowest level since the pandemic began and consumer confidence rising, we’ve asked them about a different historical comparison: the 1920s.” Meanwhile, NBC News reported “There are now more jobs available than before the pandemic. So why aren't people signing up?” Here’s a quote from that piece: “The number of job vacancies soared to nearly 15 million by mid-March, but discouraged, hesitant and fearful job seekers means many positions are still unfilled, according to new data from online job site ZipRecruiter. “Online job postings plunged from 10 million before the start of the pandemic last year to just below 6 million last May, as lockdowns and shutdown orders forced businesses to close their doors and reduce or lay off workers.” Meanwhile, according to KPMG in the U.K., tech’s job market is growing at the fastest pace in two years. “The move towards new remote and hybrid working arrangements, new spending priorities for businesses around IT infrastructure, automation and the huge shift to online retail are likely to provide a long-term boost to sales and investment in the tech sector,” said KPMG’s chair Bina Mehta. One more — thecyberwire.com just reported that the skills gap is getting wider regarding cybersecurity jobs: “The cybersecurity industry is projected to triple year-over-year through 2022, yet the workforce shortage still stands at millions worldwide. With a 273 percent increase in large-scale data breaches in the first quarter of 2020 alone, employing more cybersecurity professionals is a pressing challenge for both companies looking to hire in-house and cybersecurity agencies alike. “According to the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, there are now more than 4.07 million unfilled cybersecurity positions across the world. Despite high entry salaries, recession-proof job security and plentiful career opportunities, there are simply not enough trained cybersecurity professionals to fill the skills gap.” BAD TREND — AND EVEN SOME UGLY MIXED IN I recently posted a story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on LinkedIn entitled “Employers are hiring again but struggling to find workers.” Here’s an excerpt: “Chris New said he has turned down $250,000 in business because he just can’t hire enough laborers and drivers at his Carrollton-based company, Barnes Van Lines. “There are plenty of people without jobs, but unemployment benefits give them too much incentive not to work, he said. ‘We advertise and nobody comes in looking for a job. A lot of people are taking advantage of the system. It’s really killing us.’” Although the focus on this article was not technology or cybersecurity jobs, many of the comments were tech- and cyber-related. Marlin Brandys: So how do they explain people like me with a B.S. in networking and cybersecurity and an NCSP both from 2020 and I can’t even get an interview for a tier 1 help desk job? All these posts and stories from corporate America, universities, government agencies selling the bogus skills gap and shortage story. This platform alone has 1,000s of cyber qualified people able and willing to work in entry level positions at entry level pay and benefits. Stop the madness already. I applied for unemployment 01/08/2021. It’s now 04/19/2021 and I haven’t seen a dime of unemployment compensation. I’ll gladly take an entry-level position in cyber. Quinn Kuzmich: Marlin Brandys - Honestly one of the unspoken truths of the security industry is age discrimination. Sad but true. Dave Howe: Quinn Kuzmich - broadly true across all of IT though. They stand around demanding someone "do something" about the "skills shortage" but exclude 90% of candidates based on an arbitrary checklist, and 75% more based on illegal age, sex or race discrimination, disguised as "culture fit" Joseph Crouse: Marlin Brandys you're overqualified. Marlin Brandys: Joseph Crouse, I wish I could believe that. For some types of positions in the teaching or instructing silo maybe, for entry level information security I do not believe so. Dave Howe: Marlin Brandys - it's difficult to tell. I have seen "entry level" roles demand a CISSP and CEH. Gregory Wilson: 300+ applications and 4 interviews... No job yet... Overqualified, not enough experience, ghosted.... REALITY — I'm over 60 and nobody will hire me... All the BS aside, there are lots of people ready to work... Pay them what they're worth! Dave Howe: I think there is a bigger picture. Welfare shouldn't be so generous as to encourage people to stay on it, but equally, it shouldn't be so stingy as to cause people to struggle to stay afloat (meet rent, put food on the table, however basic, keep the power on) — there is need for balance. Equally though, an entry -evel role where a worker is willing to put in a nominal 40 hours at a routine, boring but not dangerous or unpleasant job should pay sufficient after expenses so as to be able to afford some luxuries above and beyond what welfare provides — if you are no better off, then that job is underpriced and needs either automation to improve output so as to make paying more a better proposition, or automating entirely and the job eliminated. If the job is dangerous, distasteful or involves unsociable hours, then that should be reflected in the pay, above and beyond what a "basic" job should provide. The answer should never be "we need to cut welfare so that they will take my crappy, low paid job out of desperation, because adding automation means upfront costs and I don't want to pay any more" You can join in on that LinkedIn conversation here: SOLUTIONS, PLEASE This Forbes article offers some interesting perspectives on how both employers and employees can succeed in the coming post-COVID cybersecurity world, while offering a new model for our future workforce: “Cybersecurity is a striking example of where the supply-demand gap for personnel is particularly volatile, with companies routinely lacking both the technology and available human capital needed to integrate relevant, highly skilled workers at the same speed as their unprecedented digital transformation. When the COVID-19 pandemic forcibly distributed security teams, organizations were given a new perspective as to how remote teams can de-risk innovation. Now, many are moving to industrialize the 'new normal' of cybersecurity with greater efficiencies across their internal programs and the software development life cycle by seamlessly integrating expert security talent on-demand.” While this coming boom may not be good news for state and local governments who struggle to compete with the private sector for the most talented tech and cyber staff, there are new options opening up for public-sector employees as well. This research finds that many retirees want to come back and work 10 to 20 hours a week, especially if they can work remotely. Many groups are training workers for the post-pandemic job market. I also have spoken with CISOs and other technology leaders in both the public and private sectors who are much more open to hiring out-of-state workers, even though they would never have allowed that before the pandemic. And finally, what about those who can’t find work, despite the supposed “boom times” that are coming? Last year, I wrote this blog describing why some skilled cyber pros are still not getting jobs. Here are just a handful of the reasons I listed there: People are living or looking in the wrong places. They want a local job and do not want to move. (Note: More remote hiring is happening now with COVID-19, but it is still unclear if many of these jobs will go “back to the office” after the pandemic. This leads to hesitancy in taking a job in another part of the country.) Insistence on remote work. While this is easier during the pandemic, some people want 100 percent remote without travel, which can limit options. Also, some hiring managers are not clear if remote jobs will last after the pandemic restrictions are lifted, so they want to hire locally. Company discrimination due to older worker applicants. Yes, I agree with my colleagues that this is alive and well in 2020. Other forms of discrimination exist as well, such as race and gender. Lack of professional networking — especially true during COVID-19. They don’t have personal connections and have a hard time meeting the right people who are hiring or can help them find the right job. Attitude, character, work ethic, humility, etc. I have written several blogs just on this topic, but some people never get the job because they come across in interviews as entitled or too angry or having a bad attitude. They scare off hiring managers. For more on this topic, see “7 reasons security pros fail (and what to do about it)” and “Problem #3 for Security Professionals: Not Enough Humble Pie” and “Problem 5: Are You An Insider Threat?” Putting this all together, I love my brother Steve’s perspective on individual career opportunities and selling your ideas (and yourself) to those both inside and outside your organization: “It’s all about the right product at the right place at the right time at the right price — with the right person delivering the message to the right decision-maker.” FINAL THOUGHTS During a recent vacation to northern Arizona, I found myself working in a coffee shop surrounded by several men and women that were supporting global companies with technology projects. Conversations were all over the map regarding application enhancements and complex deliverables for some industry-leading names. I was frankly a bit shocked that all of this work was being run out of a coffee shop — with a few video conference calls to people’s homes. The “new normal” of global workforces became more of a reality to me, and I see this trend accelerating even after the pandemic. Article Orginal Source: https://www.govtech.com/blogs/lohrmann-on-cybersecurity/post-pandemic-tech-job-market-the-good-bad-and-ugly

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NATO Adds Cyber Commitments, Potential Ransomware Response

Article | August 30, 2021

As President Biden prepared to meet with Russian President Putin this past week in a high-profile summit in Geneva, Switzerland, cyber-attacks originating from criminals within Russia were near the top of a list of contentious issues on the agenda. However, there were important events that received minimal media attention that strengthened the U.S. President’s position. President Biden walked into those meetings with something new and bold: the strong backing of NATO countries on a series of new cyber commitments. In a NATO Summit held in Brussels on June 14, 2021, the heads of state and government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council reaffirmed their unity and commitments on a long list of mutual defense topics. And there was also a major new commitment discussed in the press release — cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure within any NATO member country were now on the table. That is, online (Internet-based) attacks could result in the same response as physical attacks (with guns and bombs.) Yes, this is a very significant global development which highlights another way that the physical world and online world are merging fast, with ramifications in both directions. HOW DID WE GET TO THIS MOMENT? The ransomware attacks that recently struck critical infrastructure companies such as Colonial Pipeline and JBS resulted in more than just long lines for gas and meat price hikes. It raised alarm bells in countries all over the globe regarding the susceptibility of the majority of countries to ransomware and other forms of malware. These ransomware incidents led to NATO’s new Comprehensive Cyber Defense Policy. The big news: Cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure might (on a case-by-case basis) now trigger the famous Article 5 clause. “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. …” Here are two sections I’d like to highlight from last week’s communiqué (take special notice of section in bold): “In addition to its military activities, Russia has also intensified its hybrid actions against NATO Allies and partners, including through proxies. This includes attempted interference in Allied elections and democratic processes; political and economic pressure and intimidation; widespread disinformation campaigns; malicious cyber activities; and turning a blind eye to cyber criminals operating from its territory, including those who target and disrupt critical infrastructure in NATO countries. It also includes illegal and destructive activities by Russian Intelligence Services on Allied territory, some of which have claimed lives of citizens and caused widespread material damage. We stand in full solidarity with the Czech Republic and other Allies that have been affected in this way. “Cyber threats to the security of the Alliance are complex, destructive, coercive and becoming ever more frequent. This has been recently illustrated by ransomware incidents and other malicious cyber activity targeting our critical infrastructure and democratic institutions, which might have systemic effects and cause significant harm. To face this evolving challenge, we have today endorsed NATO’s Comprehensive Cyber Defence Policy, which will support NATO’s three core tasks and overall deterrence and defence posture, and further enhance our resilience. Reaffirming NATO’s defensive mandate, the Alliance is determined to employ the full range of capabilities at all times to actively deter, defend against and counter the full spectrum of cyber threats, including those conducted as part of hybrid campaigns, in accordance with international law. We reaffirm that a decision as to when a cyber-attack would lead to the invocation of Article 5 would be taken by the North Atlantic Council on a case-by-case basis. Allies recognize that the impact of significant malicious cumulative cyber activities might, in certain circumstances, be considered as amounting to an armed attack. We remain committed to act in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter, international humanitarian law and international human rights law as applicable. We will promote a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace, and further pursue efforts to enhance stability and reduce the risk of conflict by supporting international law and voluntary norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace.” MEDIA COVERAGE OF NATO ANNOUNCEMENTS Global media coverage leading up to this NATO Summit was rather limited, especially when compared to the U.S.-Russia Summit and many of President Biden’s other European meetings – such as the G7 Summit and the his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II. Nevertheless, Meritalk offered this article: “Cybersecurity, Ransomware Climb Policy Ladder at NATO, G-7 Meetings,” which said, “cybersecurity in general, and ransomware in specific, climbed high onto the ladder of major policy issues at both the weekend meeting of G-7 nations this weekend, and the NATO Summit that concluded on June 14. “The increasing importance of cybersecurity on the national stage tracks with U.S. policy in recent months, including federal government responses to major software supply chain cyber assaults and ransomware attacks against U.S. critical infrastructure sector companies that are believed to have originated from organizations based in Russia. President Biden has promised to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin with cybersecurity and ransomware issues when the two leaders meet on June 16. …” Also, Info security Magazine ran an excellent piece entitled: “NATO Warns it Will Consider a Military Response to Cyber-Attacks,” which said, “NATO has warned it is prepared to treat cyber-attacks in the same way as an armed attack against any of its allies and issue a military response against the perpetrators. “In a communique issued by governments attending the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels yesterday, the military alliance revealed it had endorsed a Comprehensive Cyber Defence Policy, in which a decision will be taken to invoke Article 5 “on a case-by-case basis” following a cyber-attack. Under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, first signed in 1949, when any NATO ally is the victim of an armed attack, it will be considered an attack on all alliance members, who will theoretically take any actions necessary to defend that ally….” When I posted this NATO cyber topic on LinkedIn, the responses were all over the map. You can join that discussion here. Here are a few comments worth noting: Michael Kaiser, president and CEO at Defending Digital Campaigns: “Attribution better be 110 percent.” Paul Gillingwater, management consultant, Chaucer Group: “A cyber counter-attack *is* a military response. It's now one battlefield, from sea, land, air, space to cyberspace. Next: your AI will be trying to persuade my AI that it was actually a pacifist.” Kaushik (Manian) Venkatasubramaniyan, project manager, Global Business Research (GBR): “These kind of cyber-attacks targeting hospitals etc. are acts of war anyway.” FINAL THOUGHTS ON IMPORTANCE OF NATO ANNOUNCEMENT For many years, cyber pros have been talking about a “Cyber 9/11” or “Cyber Pearl Harbor.” Many experts still believe that those major cyber incidents are inevitable. Still, “smaller” cyber-attacks are now happening all the time all over the world — with very serious consequences. Bad actors are asking for larger ransoms and causing more harm. Ransomware is evolving, and future cyber-attacks may not be ended by paying a ransom to the cyber criminals. With many cyber-attacks against governments, hospitals and now critical infrastructure like gas pipeline companies and food processing plants taking place, new government actions were a must. These ransomware attacks via different types of malware are becoming more frequent and serious, and are a growing global challenge for public- and private-sector leaders. Many questions must be answered quickly, such as: Where are the “red lines” that cannot be crossed? Once the lines are identified, what happens if they are crossed? When does a cyber-attack become an act of war? Make no mistake, NATO’s new policy on cyber-attacks against critical infrastructures is a big deal. Expect more ransomware attacks to occur and those global commitments for action to be tested in the years ahead. Article Orginal Source: https://www.govtech.com/blogs/lohrmann-on-cybersecurity/nato-adds-cyber-commitments-potential-ransomware-response

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How Is Covid-19 Creating Data Breaches?

Article | March 30, 2020

Trevor is working from home for the first time. He loves the freedom and flexibility, but doesn’t read his company’s new BYOD policy. Sadly, he misses the fact that his home PC is not protected with updated security software nor the latest operating system patches. Kelcie’s home PC is faster than the old work laptop that she’s been issued to use during the pandemic. She decides to use a USB stick to transfer large files back and forth between her PCs to speed things up. After a few days, she does all her work on her home PC, using a “safe” virtual desktop app. But unbeknownst to her, there is a keylogger on her home PC.

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Progress Is the Promise in National Cybersecurity Strategy

Article | March 23, 2020

How can progress be measured when it comes to shifts in national security strategy and practice? Several assessment variables might include changes in official national guidance, legal authorities, types of campaigns or operations, lexicon used in national security discourse, and early results of the application of those changes. Since 2016, with the introduction of the construct of persistent engagement and the subsequent development of defend forward, all these variables have changed in a positive manner.

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Spotlight

InZero Systems

InZero Systems (“InZero”) of Herndon, VA is an R&D firm dedicated to embedded computer security, i.e., hardware and firmware solutions which avoid the inherent vulnerabilities of software security products. The company is headed by Louis Hughes, former President of Lockheed-Martin and of GM International, and current Board Member of several international companies including Alcatel-Lucent. Other executives, owners and independent advisors have also headed prominent companies or served as security experts for enterprises or government agencies. InZero holds various patents in cyber security, with additional applications pending.

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