by Margaret Hallbach, VP of Public Sector Sales at Verizon Business Markets
When you think cyberattack, do you picture a criminal mastermind launching a carefully planned attack on the White House? Can you hear the dramatic music and feel the tension building as the good guys find themselves with only seconds to spare before the country descends into unmitigated chaos.
It’s a successful Hollywood formula. But the reality is much scarier because it’s not just central government and big businesses that are the intended victims of cybercrime — everyone is at risk. You expect that police security camera overlooking your apartment complex to be operational. But is it? What if it had been infected with malware weeks earlier and was “offline for maintenance” during an assault?
Cybercriminals are often motivated by financial gain, but you could fall foul of hacktivism and cyber-espionage. Cities and municipalities have become targets because of limited resources, insufficient expertise, and unknown vulnerabilities.
Attacks that are simply launched for fun can have a devastating impact as well. What happens if your emergency response systems are overwhelmed by a telephony denial of service attack swamping your inbound call takers at your public safety answering centers?
Manage the risk of more tech
Cities are constantly competing against each other. Do people feel safe? Are the schools good? Are companies thriving and providing jobs? To improve constituent experiences and quality of service, while driving cost efficiencies, local governments are leveraging technology. Many cities are now looking to the Internet of Things (IoT) for smart street lighting to reduce energy consumption, and for intelligent traffic systems that cut congestion — there are even systems that detect potholes. The potential benefits are huge.
But as local government becomes more reliant on digital technologies, the consequences of cyberattacks grow. You’re holding more personal data. Your critical systems depend on technology. That means security can’t be an afterthought. When you’re developing new systems, you need to think security first. Imagine your facilities organization is refurbishing a municipal building with a new HVAC system. The automated detectors for sensing employees in the building allows the system to be remotely controlled, managing energy consumption and cutting operating expense. But it could also provide a new entry point for a cybercriminal.
Understanding the threats
Many municipalities and cities are budget constrained. New sources of funding are hard to find and these funding sources are difficult to maintain. IT professionals are aware of the threats, but they don’t have the support from City Councils to earmark dollars. Cybersecurity funding should be no different than traditional public safety.
The 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) draws on the analysis of over 40,000 security incidents and almost 2,000 confirmed data breaches to bring you an unparalleled source of information on cybercrime. The nine attack patterns we first identified in 2014 still cover almost 90% of data breaches. Understanding them can help you gain insight on where and how to invest your limited resources. We are all trying to stay ahead of the bad guys. Ask for advice and guidance – from a colleague, from another city, from a partner, from the industry. And most importantly, take action. Don’t regret the decision that you did nothing.
Happy Friday! Next week is National Small Business Week. I feel everyday here at Verizon, we work to help small and medium-sized businesses be productive, have the right tools and put experts at your fingertips. So in our eyes, every week we’re celebrating small businesses!
I hope you know that if you ever have a question about our services or if you have questions for our webinar guests or our featured authors, you can always reach out to us by posting a comment at the end of any of our blogs or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, I thought John Jantsch article on the importance of listening is a good read. He offers some great tips to leverage social media to get immense benefit.
If you missed this news report from It’s Your Biz last week, check it out -- many small- and medium-sized businesses do not protected their company from cybercrime. Here is another video, this one from the Wall Street Journal, on small businesses and how many SMBs experience fraud like consumers. If you don’t have security in place for your business, check out what Verizon offers.
This is a good read from Ramon Ray, what to do when you get hacked and how to prevent it.
Sorry if this week’s articles/videos are all related to security breaches – it’s just an important topic --for the most part many of these are preventable.
As always, let me what which articles you liked or share one you read and is helpful.
Enjoy your weekend!