The Worst Cyber Attacks in History (So Far) and What We Can Learn

In 2017, the world experienced some of the largest and most dangerous cyber attacks in recent history.

The numbers are staggering: 

  • 143,000 million: the number of consumers affected by Equifax breach.
  • 3 billion: the number of people whose Yahoo email accounts were reportedly compromised. While the Yahoo! breaches occurred in 2013 and 2014, Yahoo! only disclosed the 3 billion number in October of 2017.

What is the Dark Web and Why Should Organizations Care: DiamondIT Announces New Services to Detect Compromised Credentials on Dark Web

The virtual world of the World Wide Web is a vast space that, like the real world, contains both good and bad.  While Google, Facebook, Amazon and all other online services have brought so many enhancements and innovation to our lives, there is also a place called “the Dark Web.”

Top 10 IT Budgeting Tips for SoCal Businesses in 2018

As we head towards the fourth quarter, budgets are top of mind, especially in the tech forward state of California. Technology innovation continues to evolve, and as you set growth goals for 2018, it’s imperative to adjust your IT budget accordingly.

IT budgets are expected to grow 4.5% this year, Morgan Stanley said in its report, “CIO Survey: 2017 IT Budgets Improve on US Strength.” The top spending priorities include cloud computing, security software, analytics tools, networking equipment and ERP and CRM applications.

How can you accurately forecast without overestimating? What percentage should go towards maintenance versus innovation? If you’re feeling overwhelmed as budget deadlines approach, you’re not alone.

Here are 10 IT budgeting tips to help simplify the process:

Equifax Security Breach Affects Over 143 Million People – Half of the US Population: How Can Your Credit Score Be Safe?

Over the past few years, many enterprise-level companies such as Target have been hard-hit by cyber criminals who have accessed customer credit card information.  Now Equifax is now among the largest companies hit by a cybersecurity breach – but this time it is on a scale that is stunning IT and security experts. According to the Wall Street Journal, the breach was a result of a well-known security hole in Cisco firewalls which was identified as a fix and distributed back in March. According to the article, Equifax’s IT experts deployed the fix, but in July “found the same security flaw still existed in some areas.”

While this breach was announced in September 2017, Equifax believes consumer information may have been accessed in an unauthorized manner between May and July, according to Fortune.

Given that Equifax is a credit reporting agency, the company holds a myriad of private consumer information.  Last week, Equifax reported that over 143 million people – about half the size of the U.S. according to the Los Angeles Times – could be affected.

Disaster Recovery Solutions Have the Potential to Save Critical Business Data in Times of Crisis

Hurricane Harvey in Houston has amassed a disaster toll of unprecedented proportions.  According to recent figures from ABC News, a total of 93,942 homes have been damaged or destroyed by the hurricane as 20-trillion gallons of rain poured down on several counties throughout Texas and Louisiana. In addition, Hurricane Irma is also threatening the Caribbean and parts of Florida – wreaking havoc not seen in decades.

In addition to the devastating toll on residents, such mass natural disasters threaten the economy.  BusinessInsider reports that “AccuWeather forecasts that (Hurricane) Harvey would be the most expensive natural disaster in US history, at about $160 billion…. According to data…cited by Bloomberg… the hurricane could cause $75 billion in economic losses.”

DDoS Attacks on Schools – Why Schools are an Easy Target for Cyber Crime

Recently, DDoS or “distributed denial of service” attacks have been launched against schools, preventing faculty and students from accessing important educational materials online.

DDoS attacks have long targeted industries like finance and banking where cybercriminals can gain access to important financial data. But now, even non-profit organizations such as healthcare and educational institutions are being victimized.

According to one report, by THE Journal, education is now the most targeted sector for malicious attacks beating out healthcare.

Part Two – IT Saves Lives: Three Steps to A Successful Disaster Recovery Drill

Do you have a data disaster recovery (DR) plan?

Have you conducted a disaster recovery drill to make sure your DR plan is effective?

Whether it is a natural disaster that shuts down all the power and your computer systems with it, or even a cybercrime such as ransomware that can lock you out of your hard drive and computer files, being prepared for the inevitable emergency or crisis is of paramount importance.

Disaster Recovery Plans and Drills Help Restore IT Systems in Times of Emergency: Part One

Do you have a data disaster recovery (DR) plan?

Have you conducted a disaster recovery drill to make sure your DR plan is effective?

Whether it’s sophisticated cybercrime, such as ransomware attempting to steal data, or natural disasters that halt emergency management systems – it’s more urgent than ever for municipalities to protect their IT infrastructures and data.

How C-Suite Executives Misinterpret the Need for More Cybersecurity Budget

Recent studies on cyber attacks in the U.S. outline staggering consequences.  For instance,  Datacenter Dynamics recently reported that cyber incidents in 2016 cost 500,000 jobs and over a $100 billion in financial loss to American companies.

But despite what might seem like an intuitive strategy, “fear” of an attack may not incite C-suite executives to invest more in cybersecurity. The problem is that it is “…very difficult to know the probability of any given attack succeeding — or how big the potential losses might be. Even the known costs, such as penalties for data breaches in highly regulated industries …are a small piece of the ROI calculation,” according to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR).

Ransomware Targets Law Enforcement:  No One is Immune to Cyber Crime

When we think of the victims of cyber crime – we mostly think of individuals or small businesses being targeted.  We rarely conjure up law enforcement as the targets.   However, the fact is, even the toughest and most stringent of law enforcement agencies can be affected by cybercrime.

Ransomware occurs when a cybercriminal takes over a computer system and prohibits users from operating their computers until a “ransom,” is paid.  The FBI writes that users and organizations are generally not aware they have been infected until it is too late. They learn of the infection when they can no longer access their data or they begin to see computer messages advising them of the attack and demands for a ransom payment in exchange for a decryption key.