A famous quote from the Roman Poet Ovid goes as follows: "The cause is hidden. The effect is visible to all." This couldn’t be truer when it comes to cybercrime. So many companies are in the dark when it comes to the world of online crime -- what is it? What does it look like? How can a business know if it is being targeted? Are there different kinds of cybercrime? What damage can it cause to the business and employees? How can an organization protect itself from cyber criminals and their various weapons?
Once upon a time, IT managers could rest assured that their users, computers, data and applications all sat safely behind a hardened LAN. In a perfect world, IT would prefer to simply block all access to the resources from beyond the traditional network perimeter. Modern business practices however, have exploded beyond that traditional perimeter. The business benefits of networking beyond the perimeter, and the explosive acceptance of mobile technology by the workforce at large, have made the traditional hardened network model functionally obsolete.
Network traffic no longer consists only of store-and-forward and session-based applications like email, Web pages and traditional client/server applications, but has expanded to include real-time collaboration tools, Web 2.0 applications, IM, peer-to-peer applications, VoIP, streaming media and telepresence conferencing.
A majority of business network traffic now either originates from or traverses through endpoint devices located beyond the perimeter, opening new conduits for evolving threats.
Case in point: In 2011, there were 1,596,905 DDoS (distributed denial-of-service attacks) compared to 120,321,372 in 2012. That’s an increase of 118,724,467 MILLION attacks in just one year. (Source: Dell SonicWALL Security Portal)
With new methods of gaining entry, savvy and financially-motivated criminal attackers have unleashed ultra-sophisticated threats, increasing the risk of compromised data, systems downtime, reduced productivity, bandwidth consumption, and monetary theft. Then there are the malicious cyber-attackers who do not seek financial or strategic gain – they simply want to cause mischief. And let’s not overlook the accidental cyber-monsters in the form of employees who accidentally gobble up masses of bandwidth by sharing kitten ... puppy ... baby ... in fact, any and all videos.
With so many potential points of vulnerability, now is the time to take action and take security smarts to the next level. To quote another great thinker: Sun Tzu (Art of War) "Know Thy Enemy" -- by understanding the dangers and knowing how to recognize and prevent cyber-attacks -- the very real risk of strategic and financial loss can be avoided.