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How CISOs Can Talk to the Rest of the Board About Data Security

How CISOs Can Talk to the Rest of the Board About Data Security

Originally posted on Lepide by Aidan Simister.

We all know by now that cybersecurity isn’t just an IT problem. The dramatic effects a data breach can have on an organization, in terms of both reputation and damages from non-compliance, mean that everyone from the CMO to the CEO needs to be concerned about data security.

One of the biggest problems organizations face is that their employees, particularly those with elevated privileges, mishandle data (most of the time unintentionally). The route of this problem often stems from a lack of awareness surrounding the latest cybersecurity threats and the consequences of mishandling sensitive data.

There is a significant gap between those with cybersecurity at the forefront of their mind (i.e. the CISOs and security teams) and the rest of the board/organization. In many cases, CISOs often have difficulty explaining data security even to the CEOs themselves.

This is a knowledge and understanding gap that needs to be bridged if we have any hope of reducing the number of insider threats that we see each year.

But where do we start?

Understand Where the Rest of the Board is Coming From

In a nutshell, it’s all about empathy.

One of the biggest challenges of being a CISO is presenting data security findings and risk mitigation strategies to the rest of the board in a way that they understand. Each member of the board is coming at the problem from their own unique perspective so, in effect, the CISO has to translate the information into a different language for each individual.

Take the CEO as an example. The main concerns for CEOs are how to grow the business and ensure that the lights stay on. So, when it comes to cybersecurity, they are unlikely to care that you’ve noticed an unusually large number of failed logins over the last few days. They want to know the whole picture, and how it relates to the business in terms of financials.

The key to appealing to the rest of the board is to cite the bigger picture. Stick to the following:

  • Let everyone know the results of your most recent risk assessments in terms they will understand. So, in simple terms, are we at risk right now? What’s are the chances of us suffering a data breach right now and how much would it cost?
  • Go through your current cybersecurity strategies and policies in broad terms. Are you able to cope with a data breach? How long would it take you to recover? How much would it cost?
  • Explain what you need to get your job done more effectively. What cybersecurity training should you invest in? What data security solutions should you choose? How are you going to ensure that the company doesn’t lose money as a result of a data breach?

Be Functional, Not Technical

Nobody likes technical jargon, not even CISOs. There’s no quicker way to lose someone’s attention than by talking in technical detail. Keep conversations purely business focused. Talk in terms of risk, consequences, and benefits.

For example, it’s no use trying to explain to the rest of the board how important it is that they regularly update their passwords and improve the strength of their passwords. They may understand the reason why you’re talking about it but it’s still not likely to change behavior. Talk instead about the business impact of not adhering to those policies (particularly in terms of the monetary backlash that could arise).

Remember, cybersecurity is a business problem, not an IT problem. It is the CISOs responsibility to ensure that they are communicating effectively with the rest of the board when it comes to data security.

10 Tips For Keeping Your Personal Info Safe Online

10 Tips For Keeping Your Personal Info Safe Online

Originally posted on Forbes by Expert Panel, Forbes Technology Council.

From shopping to banking and investing to working, much of our lives can be conducted online these days, and many consumers are taking full advantage. Yet many aren’t aware of best practices for protecting their private information. Having one’s personal data stolen is a devastating experience that can take years to correct. Some people even volunteer information online—particularly on social media—that can give the unscrupulous an inside look at their personal lives.

Fortunately, there are steps everyone can take to make their online transactions and interactions more secure. We asked experts from Forbes Technology Council to share their best tips.

1. Use Hardware Security Keys And Complex Passwords

Add a hardware security key, such as YubiKey or Google’s Titan, to every account that supports it. Two-factor identification with SMS is very insecure and easily hacked, but it’s better than a password alone. Computers easily crack passwords less than 50 characters long: Thieves break into sites, copy the password files and crack them offline. Use password managers to generate and keep track of complex passwords. – Sandra CarricoGlynt.AI, a business unit of WattzOn

2. Do A Yearly Checkup

This is an easy, yet often overlooked, hack: Do a yearly audit of the sites you’re using. If you use a password manager like LastPass, you can export all the sites it has saved. Go through those sites and make sure that you have secure passwords (and two-factor authentication), then close out any accounts you no longer use. – Michael ZaicWild Sky MediaForbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Do I qualify?

3. Limit What You Share On Social Media

Stop sharing so much personal information online, including your location, pictures, birthdays and trips. Hackers love this stuff, and considering how sites like Facebook are now admitting that employees and vendors had access to these profiles, it is even more important to not include as much personal information on social media profiles. – Chalmers BrownDue

4. Check Your Bank And Credit Protection Policies

There is no absolute data privacy when it comes to any online activity. If you transact any business online, you should make sure bank and credit accounts have policies to protect you in case of fraud. You do not want to self-insure if your account is hacked and being misused. Finally, never allow your browser or websites to remember your login or payment information—that is a recipe for disaster. – Wayne LonsteinVFT Solutions, Inc.

5. Have A Strong Password Strategy

It’s too easy to reuse passwords when setting up online accounts, which leaves you vulnerable when sites are compromised. I have found that using a password management tool like LastPass provides an additional layer of protection by allowing you to set strong, complex passwords. By relying on a password manager to fill in your information, you become less dependent on your “go to” and can create unique passwords for each account. – Nathan NordbyVelma

6. Don’t Share Your Social Security Number

A surprising number of services will ask for your social security number (SSN), ranging from car rental companies to doctor’s offices. They want your SSN because it allows them to tie your data together with many other sources very reliably, but legally you are not required to provide it to anyone other than the federal government. Refuse to share it and you will keep your data safer. – Sean ByrnesOutlier

7. Use More Than One Email Account

To best protect your data online, you should be creating and using more than one email account. For example, you should have one email address for sensitive information like banking, and you shouldn’t give that email out to just anybody. You should have a second email account to sign up for email lists, to receive retail coupons, for online games, etc., and a third for communication with friends and family. – Thomas GriffinOptinMonster

8. Read The Fine Print And Ask Questions

Consumers must recognize that protecting personal data is a joint responsibility between themselves and the brands they frequent. For their part, consumers should read and question the privacy policies of the websites/apps they use to clarify how and why it will be used. In turn, brands should have documented privacy policies and guidelines and have the ability to effectively address any concerns. – Michael RingmanTELUS International

9. Be Aware Of Scams

It would be so easy if there was only one thing that consumers could do to protect their data, but hackers’ tactics are constantly evolving, and the average consumer cannot evolve that fast. We see a lot of clients/consumers falling for phishing scams. Clients should just take a minute to stop and think before they react to an alarming email asking them for their data or asking them to “click here.” – Warren FinkelACE IT Solutions

10. Set Up Multifactor Authentication

Perhaps the most basic thing that can be done to protect private data is to ensure that you set up multifactor authentication. Most email providers and banks will allow you to turn it on somewhere in settings. Some may then ask you to scan a QR code with an app to enable multifactor authentication. If you have the choice, I recommend Authy. – Justin MorgenthauTriax Technologies, Inc.

5 ways you could avoid and prepare for cyberattacks in your organization

5 ways you could avoid and prepare for cyberattacks in your organization

Preparing for any potential cyberattack is an increasingly important precautionary steps in every organization. Here’s how your team could do it without disrupting existing processes.

In an age when cybercriminals abound, it pays to prepare and be always on guard. It means being aware of strategies criminals often resort to and investing in monitoring tools as well as preventive measures to avoid such massive cyber atrocities in the first place.

Security software company Avast found that of 132 million routers tested, 41 percent could easily be hacked, a recent GSMA Intelligence report showed. In the recent years, we have seen cyber thieves switching from personal computers to smartphones to steal personal information or credentials and get the unwitting victims’ funds. Successful cyberattacks in years past may also have spawned a new generation of criminals who now focus on the preferred terminal for online payments and shopping transactions: smartphones.

Various forms of cyberattacks

Just as there are software programs that can protect users from cyber crooks’ exploits, including creating malicious phishing websites that closely resemble trusted destinations, there are software that hinders users from accessing their systems. Being locked out of their computers has sent many people into panic mode.

So, what can regular users do to avoid or be ready for cyberattacks? First and foremost, be mindful and do not be easily tricked into clicking on a link or attachment. Accessing the web or sensitive information through VPNs is another way (free VPNs are no way to go!).

Information technology experts have repeatedly warned people about the existence of malicious sites that impersonate legitimate URLs. It is high time PC and other gadget users heed such warnings and keep a closer eye on URLs.

Now that cyber villains have turned their attention to smartphones, it is crucial to protect personal information and other data stored in it in two ways: One is by avoiding installation of unofficial applications. Another is by doing regular updates of the operating system when requested, and not forgetting to enable security mechanisms.

At the recent Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, smartphone makers have unveiled phone innovations with enhanced security features. With the growing uneasiness of consumers over hacking incidents, companies have lost no time rolling out into the marketplace supposedly more “secure” devices.

Notwithstanding the arrival of gadgets with improved security features, consumers still should not be complacent. Software firm strategists have advised checking out online file sharing services and making the most of protective features that come with certain devices.

With its ability to predict health conditions, support more accurate and timely clinical diagnoses, and streamline clinical operations, artificial intelligence is opening new frontiers in healthcare.

CEOs and IT security experts continue to underscore how perilous cyber threatsare to their organizations. They maintain that there are ways to safeguard systems and be prepared for such attacks. The best form of an advance, they say, is advance planning.

Numerous companies across the world have taken a proactive stance and instilled greater awareness in their workforce on the steps to take to protect organizational assets in the face of rampant cyber attacks.

There are five ways to brace for cyber attacks, as The Guardian gathered from a range of experts:

  1. Identifying the key threats and ensuring that incident management processes address those threats
  2. Deciding which data or information to protect and opting for a pragmatic approach
  3. Practicing response to a potential attack and creating a sense of urgency as well as a culture of security in the workforce.
  4. Enlisting the services of a good forensic vendor at the soonest possible time
  5. Consider the role of big data, and meld data analytics with human threat research

Importance of preparations

Various industries have fallen prey to cyber villains. Studying and using a multi-faceted approach and making informed decisions may save organizations a great deal of resources, apart from eliminating huge stress on IT workers.

At an event in Beijing that doubled up as a pre-briefing for the MWC 2019, Huawei announced the TIANGGANG chip that will support simplified 5G networks and large-scale 5G networks all over the world.

It is also important to note that cyber attacks may strike and affect even established firms. In addition, companies should look into investing in monitoring tools.

David Mytton, CEO of a scalable infrastructure monitoring software company, lamented that “most businesses aren’t up to speed with how to mitigate the damage if an attack occurs.” Among the things that can help is a well-structured recovery plan, and testing the plan with regular simulations and practice runs, The Huffington Post reported.

Cybersecurity measures require more than fleeting attention. Cyber crimes have become commonplace, necessitating planning and implementation of strategies and countermeasures. Undertaking concrete steps now may help neutralize the threats. An updated knowledge on the vulnerabilities that you or your organization faces can go a long way.

Source: CIO
Author: Josh Althuser

Five emerging cybersecurity threats you should take very seriously in 2019

Five emerging cybersecurity threats you should take very seriously in 2019

Ransomware isn’t the only cyberthreat your business will face this year. Here are five emerging threats that leaders need to know about.

The cyberthreat landscape continues to evolve, with new threats emerging almost daily. The ability to track and prepare to face these threats can help security and risk management leaders improve their organization’s resilience and better support business goals.

The number of high-profile breaches and attacks making headlines has led business leaders to finally take cybersecurity seriously, said Sam Olyaei, senior principal and analyst at Gartner.

“Today, not only are business leaders and the business community understanding cybersecurity, they know it’s important to their business outcomes and objectives,” Olyaei said. “The problem is, there is still a lack of understanding as to why it’s important.”

Firms must work to bridge the gap between communicating the technical aspects of cybersecurity and the business outcomes, such as customer satisfaction, financial health, and reputation, Olyaei said.

Keeping track of new threats and not just established ones like ransomware is key for a strong security posture, said Josh Zelonis, senior analyst at Forrester.  

“Whenever we develop our strategies for how we’re going to protect our organizations, it’s really easy to look at things that you’re familiar with, or that you have a good understanding of,” Zelonis said. “But if you’re not looking ahead, you’re building for the problems that already exist, and not setting yourself up for long-term success. And that is really the number one reason why you need to be looking ahead — to understand how attack techniques are evolving.”Bringing the Power of Lithium-Ion for IoT and Edge Computing Applications through APC Smart-UPSLi-Ion battery technology offers a host of benefits that make it an attractive and affordable option for a growing set of businesses reliant on distributed IT infrastructure.Sponsored by Schneider Electric 

Here are five emerging cybersecurity threats that business, technology, and security leaders need to take seriously this year.

1. Cryptojacking

Ransomware has been one of the biggest threats impacting businesses in the past two years, exploiting basic vulnerabilities including lack of network segmentation and backups, Gartner’s Olyaei said.

Today, threat actors are employing the same variants of ransomware previously used to encrypt data to ransom an organization’s resources or systems to mine for cryptocurrency — a practice known as cryptojacking or cryptomining.

“These are strains of malware that are very similar to strains that different types of ransomware, like Petya and NotPetya, had in place, but instead it’s kind of running in the background silently mining for cryptocurrency,” Olyaei said.

The rise of cryptojacking means the argument that many SMB leaders used in the past — that their business was too small to be attacked — goes out the window, Olyaei said. “You still have computers, you still have resources, you still have applications,” he added. “And these application systems, computers, and resources can be used to mine for cryptocurrency. That’s one of the biggest threats that we see from that standpoint.”

2. Internet of Things (IoT) device threats

Companies are adding more and more devices to their infrastructures, said Forrester’s Zelonis. “Organizations are going and adding solutions like security cameras and smart container ships, and a lot of these devices don’t have how you’re going to manage them factored into the design of the products.”

Maintenance is often the last consideration when it comes to IoT, Zelonis said. Organizations that want to stay safe should require that all IoT devices be manageable and implement a process for updating them.  

3. Geopolitical risks

More organizations are starting to consider where their products are based or implemented and where their data is stored, in terms of cybersecurity risks and regulations, Olyaei said.

“When you have regulations like GDPR and threat actors that emerge from nation states like Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, more and more organizations are beginning to evaluate the intricacies of the security controls of their vendors and their suppliers,” Olyaei said. “They’re looking at geopolitical risk as a cyber risk, whereas in the past geopolitical was sort of a separate risk function, belonging in enterprise risk.”

If organizations do not consider location and geopolitical risk, those that store data in a third party or a nation state that is very sensitive will run the risk of threat actors or nation state resources being used against them, Olyaei said. “If you do that then you also impact the business outcome.”

4. Cross-site scripting

Organizations struggle to avoid cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks in the development cycle, Zelonis said. More than 21 percent of vulnerabilities identified by bug bounty programs are XSS areas, making them the leading vulnerability type, Forrester research found.  

XSS attacks allow adversaries to use business websites to execute untrusted code in a victim’s browser, making it easy for a criminal to interact with a user and steal their cookie information used for authentication to hijack the site without any credentials, Forrester said.

Security teams often discount the severity of this attack, Zelonis said. But bug bounty programs can help identify XSS attacks and other weaknesses in your systems, he added.

5. Mobile malware

Mobile devices are increasingly a top attack target — a trend rooted in poor vulnerability management, according to Forrester. But the analyst firm said many organizations that try to deploy mobile device management (MDM) solutions find that privacy concerns limit adoption.

The biggest pain point in this space is the Android installed base, Zelonis said. “The Google developer site shows that the vast majority of Android devices in the world are running pretty old versions of Android,” he said. “And when you look at the motivations of a lot of IoT device manufacturers, it’s challenging to get them to continue to support devices and get timely patches, because then you’re getting back to mobile issues.”

Organizations should ensure employee access to an anti-malware solution, Forrester recommended. Even if it’s not managed by the organization, this will alleviate some security concerns.

Source: ZDNet
Author: Alison DeNisco Rayome

4 key points of human factor

4 key points of human factor

According to Gartner in 2018 information security spending will exceed $96 billion — companies will be purchasing credential management software, infrastructure and network security equipment, information security services, client data protection software.

Learning about new incidents companies agree to increase their costs. Businesses are mostly focused on protection from external threats. WannaCry alerted people to the dangers of cyberattacks: during the first two days of ransomware activity there were hacked more than 200 thousand users from 150 countries. All the attention is drawn to hackers, zero-day vulnerabilities and ransomware, while incidents caused by just one click or just one decision of an employee may be overlooked.

South African financial services company Liberty Holdings got its corporate email compromised. The violators were going to sell the obtained information. They would release the data if they didn’t get paid.

There were a few pointers which made everyone question the breach source: the leak wasn’t reported straight away, the facts confirmed by the Liberty CEO seemed to lack details, the server was fully accessible to those who seized the data. When a leakage happens the source should be a company’s major concern. Hackers are never as informed as insiders are, only the people who cooperate within a particular network know exactly what and where can be accessed. Although hacks are no good news, companies are encouraged to be vocal about an incident, while insider leaks are often skimpily, half-heartedly exposed.

Human factor can trigger different situations and any of them might appear detrimental to an organisation.


Joe Sullivan, former Uber cybersecurity chief, used to have an impeccable track record. He participated in the investigation of high profile cyberattacks in USA, worked at Facebook, eBay and PayPal — he’s been chasing and catching criminals all his life. An undetected data theft which happened in 2016 affected his professional reputation. Joe decided that the incident should be withheld even if it would take him collaborating with his own enemies. He paid hackers $100 thousand for keeping silence. 57 million passengers and drivers had no idea their data has been compromised for more than a year.

Vainglory is what led to another real life case. In February, 2017, the photo of the USA President and the Prime Minister Shinzō Abe at the golf club was made by a businessman who was sitting next to them and published by various media. He posted on Facebook the photo commenting that “…it was fascinating to watch the flurry of activity at dinner when the news came that North Korea had launched a missile in the direction of Japan.”

One of the photos depicts club members gathering around the confidential documents. The other photo captures the USA President talking on the phone turning away from Japanese Prime Minister. Here’s the human factor at its best. First of all, the heads of states rushed into discussing the secret issue in front of people. Second of all, smartphones which were used by those standing around could be a direct leakage source.


That’s the main reason why many contractors reveal client data.

In 2017 an American telecommunications giant Verizon lost the data of 14 million clients: names, addresses, account data and PIN codes for client verification. The data was uploaded to Amazon by a contractor hired to improve the call center functioning. The specialist forgot to check security settings — a URL with the information could be freely accessed by anyone in the Internet.

Amazon became part of many leakage stories: 198 million registered US voters were exposed in the cloud (the archive didn’t have even a password protection — it was uploaded to the cloud by a company which collected data for Donald Trump’s election campaign); 2.2 million Dow Jones company subscribers got their data compromised; 3 million WWE clients (an American entertainment company known for managing wrestling events) got their data leaked in the Amazon service; Time Warner Cable (the second largest cable network in the USA) got 4 million client records exposed.

Amazon could have introduced some extra control to detect faulty configuration and limit the access to sensitive data without password protection. In November 2017 the service provider presented a solution: the control panel featured a notification warning users that incorrectly configured storage endangered data security. Amazon also applied full data encryption by default.


Some people tend to profit from their status — one of the biggest temptations which cause incidents.

An information security director of North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries cracked a random number generator. The specialist had been working in the organisation for 10 years before he decided to create a malware and infect computers which managed winning combinations for the lotteries. The “correct” tickets were bought by his brother and friend. The scheme was started in 2005 and was running for 7 years.


A leak can be accidental — a mere fatigue or automated address selection in the email client. That is what happened to the Pentagon in 2017 — Public Affairs included an email of correspondent for Bloomberg in the mailing list. The journalist informed the Pentagon of the mistake but the email kept coming. The correspondence between the Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency employees discussed ways the media covered the scale of Hurricane Maria’s destruction. They were sharing instructions on how to make the news seem positive.

The journalist benefited from the opportunity and equipped an article for Bloomberg Businessweek with some excerpts from the emails which he received accidentally from the Pentagon.

Another unintentional data exposure occurred in Finland. In 2017 a citizen of Oulu received an email revealing some messages sent by local policemen to each other discussing security measures which should be taken during the visit of Vladimir Putin. The email contained a detailed itinerary of Sauli Niinistö and the precise time of Putin’s helicopter arrival.

The Eastern Finland Police Department weren’t silent about the incident and explained the confidential email sent to a random person admitting a human factor to be the cause. The email client suggested contacts from the list of those who were addressed at least once automatically. The citizen of Oulu who received the secret email and the press officer appeared to have similar names.

Source: Mypressportal
Author: Alexei Parfentiev