Oregon Cybersecurity Advisory Council members and other cybersecurity experts share insights on what’s in store for the coming year.
Portland, Ore., January 30, 2018 — With the massive data breaches of 2017 in the rearview mirror, what cybersecurity headlines and developments can Oregonians expect in 2018? Building on the launch of Cyber Oregon in November, top cybersecurity experts and members of the Oregon Cybersecurity Advisory Council say it’s imperative that business leaders learn from the events of the past year, strengthen community involvement and continue to build awareness about cybersecurity issues.
Among the leading voices is Kerri Fry, Chair of the Oregon Cybersecurity Advisory Council, who says it’s important for community members to put aside their differences and join in a common fight against cybercrime. “Where the rubber meets the road is when we break out of our ‘comfortable’ communities and stretch ourselves—with competitors or cross-sector industries,” says Fry. “The common thread is the protection of information. In each industry, we all have information to protect.”
Despite ongoing advances in cybersecurity technologies, Charlie Kawasaki, Vice Chair of the Oregon Cybersecurity Advisory Council and CTO of PacStar, predicts many more attacks and data breaches in 2018 and beyond. Here’s why: “At a recent conference, I asked an audience of 80 enterprises how many had fully deployed multi-factor authentication, and not a single hand was raised. It’s indicative that our community has a long way to go to secure our systems.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, Mark Cooper, President and Founder of PKI Solutions Inc. suggests that 2018 is a great year to implement proven technologies like two-factor authentication. “By leveraging two-factor authentication, a stolen or guessed password alone won’t be enough to access your critical accounts.”
Social Engineering Ramps Up
Speaking to the need for a renewed focus on the role of the human in enabling and preventing cyber attacks is Lewis Howell, Founder and President of Hueya, Inc. Howell predicts that in 2018, hackers who are “armed with relevant, timely, and accurate information” will launch a “myriad of social engineering attacks that will result in the loss of money and reputation.”
Like Howell, Fred Cobb, Vice President of Services with Sword & Shield, sees securing the human as a top concern. “Company staff is and will remain the weakest link when it comes to securing a company’s sensitive information,” Cobb explains. “Social engineering attacks designed to take advantage of human weakness and the good nature of your employees will continue to be used by cyber criminals to steal sensitive information or to distribute ransomware and other forms of malware.”
On the upside, however, the high-profile attacks of the past year will lead to more Oregon-based firms acknowledging that their “fiduciary responsibility extends to the protection of data—citizen and customer information,” predicts Tom Quillin, CTO Security Economics, McAfee. What’s more, he expects to see increased cooperation between cyber professionals and management, but it likely won’t happen fast enough to prevent all attacks. “Unfortunately, it is safe to predict that some leaders will awaken to this need too slowly, and their organizations will be compromised.”
Adding more weight to the notion that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility is Bil Harmer, who has plenty of insight into the evolving cybersecurity landscape in his role in the Office of the CISO for Zscaler, Inc. The reason, Harmer explains, stems from the fact that cyber attackers are working together too. “I believe we will see the beginning of more complex attacks involving multiple targets. How many times have you had to tell your significant other your passcode for your phone? What if your home assistant device has been hacked and is listening for it?”
Along the same lines, Lisa Buschmann, Solution Director, Cybersecurity at CA Technologies, exhorts companies and governmental organizations to do better in 2018. “The application-based password protection of the past will not be sufficient to protect data, consumers of the data and the personal information contained in the data,” she says.
AI Tools Emerge
Andrew Plato, CEO of Anitian, also circles back to the role of the human in lax online security. “Having good security technology is insufficient to prevent attacks,” he says, in part because sooner or later “somebody must monitor all that tech.” Experts like Plato and others see emerging artificial intelligence (AI) tools stepping in to take over at least some of the monitoring role in the coming year, but with caveats.
As Haiyan Song, Senior Vice President, Security Markets at Splunk notes, “While the concept of bringing AI to solve cybersecurity challenges is not entirely new, it’s still in its infancy and not core or mainstream. We see AI’s applicability broadening in 2018. With this expansion, it should not be forgotten that actors on the attacker side have the same access to these technology advancements.”
Little Things Matter
For the coming year, experts like Multnomah County’s information security officer Dennis Tomlin advise that Oregonians “take care of the little things.” For Tomlin, that should involve “diligence in changing passwords from factory defaults and generally paying closer attention to devices that we take for granted that are a part of our increasingly connected world.”
Zscaler’s Harmer emphasizes the need to get better at current cyber protections while preparing for the future. “I would strongly recommend all Oregonians use some form of password manager and ensure they create new strong passwords for each and every site they use.” As for the future, as people build smart homes and add in IoT devices, he says consumers should “spend a little time learning how to protect and manage that smart home to ensure they stay safe and that their investment isn’t used as a weapon.”
Another reason to pay close attention to personal cybersecurity is avoid ransomware attacks, which to date have mostly involved holding networks or data hostage. That could change, says Rob Wiltbank, CEO of Galois, Inc. “Ransomware will start to get personal and target your IoT devices. It’s completely possible that your car could get hijacked by a hacker, preventing you from starting it, until you pay the price with…wait for it…cryptocurrency.”
About Cyber Oregon
Cyber Oregon is a statewide initiative powered by a public-private consortium of technology companies, educational institutions, state/local government agencies, law enforcement and other organizations to build tangible solutions to protect the digital lives of all Oregonians. The Oregon Cybersecurity Advisory Council was established pursuant to Senate Bill 90, signed by Governor Kate Brown on September 19, 2017, to develop a shared vision for the establishment of a cross-sector Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. The Cyber Oregon awareness initiative was formed in partnership with the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) to develop and increase awareness of cybersecurity programs, education and resources throughout the state. To learn more about Cyber Oregon, please visit https://cyberoregon.com.
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