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In a recent webinar titled “Essential Security Strategies for CEO’s, Business Owners and Financial Managers,” President of PACE Technical Services, Inc. Michael Sugrue outlined some of the core challenges that businesses face in the digital age. He also talked in great detail about some of the strategies that company leaders must begin to implement in order to keep themselves, their businesses and ultimately employees safe from those who may wish to do them harm.

A History of Hacking

Mr. Sugrue’s webinar began with an overview of the concept of hacking, starting with its humble beginnings in 1903 when magician and inventor Nevil Maskelyne sent insulting Morse code messages through a projector while rival Guglielmo Marconi was giving a presentation.

Hacking as we know it today really took shape beginning in the 1980s and 1990s when the first computer worm was created, multiple government and financial sector hacks occurred and organized hacking groups were created all within a span of approximately ten years.

The Underground Black Market

Mr. Sugrue then talked about the true source of the majority of hacks that CEO’s, business owners and financial managers face today: the underground black market. While it’s true that in the last few years the price of stolen email accounts on the black market has dropped substantially, the value of other illegal goods and services has remained stable – or increased.

Modern Day Threats in the Digital World

The presentation continued with an overview of some of the most common types of attacks that businesses regularly face today. Perhaps the most popular is the DDoS, or “denial-of-service” attack. In this situation, a group of hackers would flood a business’ network with useless traffic, essentially causing a “traffic jam” and eventually bringing down the entire system.

For example, medical data remains one of the top targets for hackers around the world due to the massive premium it commands on the black market. With something like a stolen credit card, a hacker could potentially make a few hundred dollars in fraudulent charges before the problem is located and stopped by officials. With stolen healthcare data, hackers could potentially place fraudulent orders for thousands of dollars in medical supplies or equipment that can then be resold for many times their original value.

Staying Protected Means Staying Proactive

Mr. Sugrue then discussed in great detail how to identify and prevent many of the most common types of attacks that CEO’s, business owners and financial managers commonly face. One common type of attack that targets financial managers in particular is a phishing attack, for example. In this situation, a financial manager might receive an email that on the surface appears legitimate – either from a friend or an acquaintance or from a social networking site like Facebook. The email will almost always contain a link that directs the target to enter their username and password for more information.

Once the hacker has this username and password, the entire business’ network has essentially been compromised. Due to the nature of the attack, this type of intrusion could go undetected for huge periods of time. As a result, people should NEVER click on a link in an unsolicited email like that. They should instead open their Web browser and go directly to the home page of the service in question and log in there.

Mr. Sugrue stressed that continuing education regarding these and other types of threats is one of the keys to staying protected on a long-term basis. Teaching your employees how to identify something like a phishing attack is of paramount importance, as are advanced network analytical tools like network security and antivirus software.

PACE Technical Services is the trusted choice when it comes to staying ahead of the latest information technology tips, tricks, and news. To find out additional information about all of these topics and more, please feel free to contact us at 905.763.7896 Ext. 214 or send us an email at sales@pacetechnical.com.


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