Data Breaches on Financial Institutions Are Up. What Does This Mean for Cybersecurity Professionals?

When asked by a reporter why he robbed banks, infamous bank robber Willie Sutton reportedly replied, “because that is where the money is.”

Though bank robbing tactics may have drastically changed in today’s digital age, Sutton’s logic is still very much alive today; hackers around the globe are increasingly ramping up their cyberattacks on banking and financial institutions. In fact, SWIFT, the global financial messaging system, recently announced a series of new hacking attacks since a high-profile heist in Bangladesh last year netted cyber thieves $80 million. Experts have suggested the attackers exploited the Bangladesh central bank’s lax banking procedures and weak security system, and, in an effort to counter such attacks, SWIFT has begun pressuring member institutions to install the latest version of its security software. It remains to be seen if banks will comply with such procedures - no doubt, at the consumers’ expense.

Topics: Cybersecurity

How to Avoid Being Duped by Social Engineering Tricks

We’re only human. But that’s precisely the trait that makes us such an easy mark.

While cybersecurity hardware or software reflexively does what it’s programmed to do, human behavior isn’t nearly as mechanical. This can make us vulnerable to social engineering.

Social engineering is defined as a nontechnical method of intrusion hackers’ use that relies on human interaction. The tactic usually involves tricking individuals into breaking with routine security procedures.

Topics: Cybersecurity

The Biggest Cybersecurity Lesson We Learned from the Equifax Hack

It played out like a cybersecurity horror film.

Between mid-May through July, nearly 143 million Americans had their personal identifiable information (PII) stolen by hackers who breached the consumer credit reporting agency’s cyberdefenses. While the investigation is still underway, preliminary reports blame vulnerabilities in Equifax’s backend software; a popular application called Apache Struts, a well-known and respected product used in more than 60 percent of the world’s Fortune 500 companies.

Whether you have a vested interest in cybersecurity or you’re the average American consumer, Equifax’s epic data breach was more than unsettling; it was downright terrifying on a massive scale. The company trusted to safeguard our sensitive financial data had the security of its data compromised.

Topics: Cybersecurity

10 Simple Tips to Step Up Your Online Safety and Security

Did you know that 594 million people are affected by cybercrime each year?

So it makes sense why hardly a week goes by without hearing of a mega data breach that exposes the personal identifiable information (PII) of countless people to those with malicious intent. These breaches then dominate the headlines and draw the attention – and fears – of users.

What is less known is that more than 95 percent of all breaches have a common denominator: human interaction. Whether intentional or unintentional, most breaches are triggered by people who are either ignorant of cyberhygiene or have made a careless mistake in their online activities.

Topics: Areas of Study and Degree Programs, Cybersecurity

2016 Was a Bad Year for Cybersecurity. Will 2017 Be Any Better?

Unless news headlines shout that some major business, government agency or celebrity was hacked, the public assumes their data is secure. However, that is hardly the case.

One of the ongoing problems with cybersecurity is getting the attention of the general public as to the seriousness of the issue. According to cybersecurity firm Risk Based Security, 2016 set a record for data breaches with more than four billion records stolen. According to the report, more than two billion of the stolen records were from breaches at Myspace, Yahoo and the FriendFinder Networks. More than 50 percent of the breaches occurred in Great Britain and America.

Topics: Cybersecurity

The Top 5 Global Forces Affecting Cybersecurity and Cyber Policies Right Now


Cybersecurity is too often thought of in limited terms: a personal computer or a digital system of a single organization. While both are accurate, they comprise just a fraction of the truth. In reality, cybersecurity is a global issue that involves vast networks on an international scale. And so there are a number of global forces that impact the security of these systems.

In our current technological landscape, there are a myriad of cyberspace issues that require further consideration as they continue to grow in size and scope. But only five critical concerns stand out and demand attention - and a solution - before it is too late.

Topics: Science and Technology, Cybersecurity

10 Critical Cybersecurity Challenges for 2017 and Beyond

Foursquare. Weebly. Democratic National Committee (DNC). Dyn DNS. The city of Chicago's road signs.

Those are just a handful of the notable cyberattacks that occurred during one week in October 2016.

This past year, the forces affecting cyber have only grown in sophistication, scope and frequency. Not a week goes by in the news cycle where we don't hear about another high-profile cyberattack. Perhaps, we've even become accustomed to such incidents. We brush off these assaults on our digital lives for the sake of what we believe is innovation, productivity and convenience. After all, when was the last time you physically walked into a bank? Or used an app to control some aspect of your home from afar? Today, online banking has become the norm, and our desire to fit the Internet of Things (IoT) into our daily lives has only grown. In 2017, there’s no question that the stakes will be higher than ever.

Topics: Science and Technology, Cybersecurity

The Internet of Things: Are We Ready?

We have been observing the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) for several years now. In fact, if you’ve ever worn a FitBit, used a voice recognition feature or connected your mobile phone to personal Wi-Fi, then you probably are unable to fathom everyday life without it.

If you are not familiar with the acronym IoT, it refers to the connectivity of modern chip enabled smart devices (things) that are being manufactured for everything from our homes to our work environments. In the near future, virtually all electronic devices will have 'connectivity.' So if it has a chip and access to the internet, it will have the capability to connect to all the other 'things' across the globe and share information. By some estimates, there will be 21 billion electronic devices connected to the internet by the end of the decade.

Topics: Cybersecurity

Top Trends in Cybersecurity: A New Generation of Security Threats


Last week, the east coast underwent a major internet outage that knocked out service to many high-traffic and high-profile websites including Amazon and Twitter. Preliminary reports indicate that the outage had all the earmarks of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack by hackers as yet unidentified. This attack, close on the heels of the September Yahoo breach where approximately 500 million records were stolen, points out the ongoing problem that cyberattacks are not going away in the near future. In fact, they may be growing in their sophistication and intensity as hackers grow their trade.  

What, then, are the immediate issues that we should be concerned with? What trends are we seeing take shape for the future?

Topics: Science and Technology, Cybersecurity

New Job Forecast Shows Good News for Cybersecurity Professionals

With the increased sophistication of technology, cybersecurity threats to computer systems, infrastructures and other assets will continue to grow in impact, scale, scope and complexity, and employers everywhere are finding they are not ready to handle a cyberattack if it were to occur.

Recent surveys underscore the skills gap and workplace shortages in cybersecurity in the U.S. and around the world.

The 2015 Global Information Security Workforce Study, an international survey of nearly 14,000 information security professionals published by ISC2, estimates the shortfall in the global security workforce to reach 1.5 million by 2020. In addition, 86 percent of respondents to the ISACA’s 2015 Global Cybersecurity Status Report, which surveyed more than 3,400 ISACA members, identified a technical and operational skills gap, and 92 percent of respondents planning to hire more information security professionals said they expect to have difficulty finding skilled candidates.

Topics: Science and Technology, Areas of Study and Degree Programs, Cybersecurity