Data Driven Society

Are small and medium businesses under the hack danger?


There are dozens of articles about personal digital privacy and cybersecurity. There are even more services ensuring the security of large corporations. Some companies have lists of requirements for their workers to prevent cyber crime and data leakage. However, when the world development is moving towards entrepreneurship, small and middle businesses become more in danger of digital crimes. Let's explore the nature of hacking and preventing it without investing a solid percentage of profit into rare occurring events.

of online banking

How important is cyber security for businesses? Nowadays, most of the companies protect their property just by insuring it. However, data loss or not responding online services are a lot more expensive than losing an asset. Those issues might result in damaging the brand, its sales and loyalty scores long-term. For instance, In January 2015, two Finnish banks, OP Pohjola and Nordea, have been a subject of disruption. Both services had a denial-of-service attack preventing users from making any online banking actions. While banks' spokespersons tried to assure that everything is under control as the assets and money were safe, such events leave a large footprint on the customer relationships. Jonas Falck, CEO of Halon Security, said: “Unfortunately these attacks are very common and perhaps as one could gather relatively simple to perform, in words of mass computing power or even knowledge base, as they occur very frequently."

Hack stat in 2016

A number of cyber crimes are growing year to year. As hackers get more experience, they are more likely to move towards performing cyber crimes from hacktivism. It is hard to capture the industry of hacking as victims prefer no to publicize such events. However, collects data about major cyber events from open sources like news and blogs daily. According to their statistics, the percentage of hacktivism in 2016 is 7% lower than the previous year while cyber crimes grew from 67% to 72% correspondingly. It comes as no surprise that industry and government are under the cyber fire the most comparing to other sectors. Also, the software hacking is the most frequent target. It is important for businesses to remember that while following digitalization trend and proceeding with own software platforms, they create an appetite for hungry third parties to have a look at the data. While developing the application, its security has to go alone with every code. The volume of attacks on software will grow together with the number of applications. Now, let's got to the solutions for cyber security.

Software that
repels hackers

These chain of hack disasters leads that industry is moving towards prevention of cyber attacks. However, it happens with the speed of a turtle. The first thing to remember is that while there is no flesh-and-blood on the Internet, the people behind any digital thing are real. Thus cyber security, as well as cyber attacks, is a human endeavor. It requires a creative approach to both perform an attack and repel it. It is definitely cheaper and easier to have a software fighting for companies property than a full-time worker. Besides, it is not humanly possible to find and patch every single hole in the system - or it will take ages. Taking the issue in their hands, Darpa, the US Department of Defence research arm, held a contest of security bots that can fix system cracks and bugs on the fly. This is one example how machine learning is helping humans in their daily tasks. The winner of the contest is a research team from Southern California who's bots have shown an outstanding speed finding and patching security holes. The development of such programs will make online services safer and data more secure.

To add up to the software development, Darpa initiated a creation of visuals that describe how computers communicate with each other. When human works with a computer, she or he interacts using screen or screens. But when computers are cooperating with each other, the data exchange is virtual and it is hard to imagine the process. Therefore, to raise the awareness of digital hacking, Darpa appealed to visualization:

Crypto tool

The dangers of data being hacked hide in the most unexpected places. As the coding language and the structure of the online world is a mystery for 99,9% of population, not many people know what is cryptographic hash functions and its purpose. In reality, those functions perform digital authentication, integrity checks, a variety of verification and other essential security steps. This lack of awareness created a blind spot over the tool that keeps out data safe - SHA-1. SHA-1 was complained at by experts for its vulnerability for years. Having no other way to bring attention to the issue, a team from CWI Amsterdam and Google has performed a cyber attack on the system which required minimal assets and effort. As a results, more websites abandon SHA-1 for more advanced solutions. However, as Marc Stewens, a cryptographer at CWI Amsterdam, said to WIRED, "“SHA-1 was an industry standard, so if you had to pick a hash function you might have picked SHA-1 for decades. We still have SHA-1 deployed in a lot of places. And we know we can warn the big companies, but this news is especially important for all the other places where SHA-1 is in small applications.” Regardless the size of the company, data is the most valuable asset. It is vital to check the cryptographic hash of the network and shift to more advanced function than SHA-1. It will be the first step to securing the cyber side of the business.

Insight Box

The digital environment is still a new sphere that is full of holes in the algorithms and system lags. It might be surprisingly easy to hack the data using just one spreadly-used vulnerable cryptography hash. Those are the issues business leaders tend not to think about as their primary focus is business development. Therefore, there will be more and more companies offering to patch the system holes. It is just a matter of time before every company will employ a trustful partner to protect the data from the bots and hackers.

#cyber security #bots #hackers #hack stat #small and middle business #cryptography #future trends

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Nowadays humanity produces twice as much data as through all the time till 2007. Existence of massive volume of structured and unstructured difficult to process data is the game changer. Big Data is a statistical instrument with potential to improve world’s operations, increase its speed, make more intelligent decisions, and, consequently, forecast the future.

Punda investigates how Big Data influences on our daily life and business environment, which obstacles does it bring and ways to overtake them.

Eventually, world turns to data-driven society. It is essential to know how to operate and use the data we produce.

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