The future's dark: understanding the evolving cyber threat

By: Ron Immink

Date: 11 February 2016

The future's dark: understanding the evolving cyber threatFuture Crimes by Marc Goodman is a very scary book. Subtitled, "A journey to the dark side of technology and how to survive it", this is a real eye-opener.

Technology is improving so many aspects of the business world but the truth is that criminals are often the most innovative adopters of technology.

Let's start with a few scary statistics from Goodman's book:

  • 200,000 new pieces of malware are identified every day;
  • 95% of all malware is not detected by most virus checkers;
  • 600,000 accounts on Facebook are compromised every day;
  • 25% of all reviews on Yelp are bogus;
  • 11% of Facebook accounts are fake;
  • 100 million phishing messages are sent every day.

Everything is data

You can see where this is going. It's all about data. Goodman suggests that Google and Facebook are free because they are data collectors and aggregators - and yet neither use the word "customers". They know everything you have done online and increasingly everything else as well.

In the USA, online data that is collected by third parties is not considered private. Which means it can be used by anyone, from the Inland Revenue to the police. Some dating sites for instance, share their data with data brokers. It's all there in the small print.

The point is that all that data is stored and hackers can get access to that data. Any data that is collected will invariably leak.

Everything can be hacked

Everything that is connected can be hacked. And now we are at the beginning of the internet of things. Connecting everything. Which means that nothing can be hidden and everything can be hacked, from your car to your TV. Even the video conference system in your board room can be hacked.

What can you do about cyber crime?

Goodman presents a number of tips on how to help you to protect yourself. They include:

  • Updating regularly;
  • Using sophisticated and different passwords;
  • Knowing where you are downloading from;
  • Watching your administrator settings;
  • Turning off your computer when you are not using it;
  • Encrypting;
  • Thinking before you share.

The good news, he says, is that by taking these steps you can avoid 85% of all threats.

If you want a book that makes you think about the unintended consequences of technology, this is one to pick. It also screams business opportunity. Cyber security is a hotspot.

Copyright © 2016 Ron Immink, ceo and co-founder of Small Business Can.

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