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December 2, 2015

Osbourne doubles spend on cybersecurity in wake of ISIS threat

The terror attacks in Paris have added to the growing concerns around cybersecurity. Discussion has been heightened regarding the contentious issue of the amount of access which the government should have to people’s private information and conversations. Would you be willing to sacrifice your privacy in the name of national security?

UK budget

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has announced that the UK cyber defence budget will be doubled to £1.9billion by 2020. He also announced the development of an “offensive” capability so Britain can counter-attack against hackers, terrorists, criminals and rogue states.

In a speech in Cheltenham, Osbourne explained: “When the internet was first created, it was built on trust; that trust, appropriate inside a community of scholars, is not merited in a world with hostile powers, criminals and terrorists… We are not winning as often as we need to against those who would hurt us in cyberspace.”

It is planned that the budget will include double spending on aviation security, including hiring staff to assess security at foreign airports.

Paris attacks

LaptopJust how easily were a group of terrorists able to execute such a complex attack on France’s capital, without being detected by intelligence services? There is a possibility that the group stopped using technology to discuss their operation when it was in preparation, or they may have used encryption methods or the dark web.

Though encryption technologies have been used to securely transmit information for many years, the techniques have never been so readily available and sophisticated. Today, you can pick up 256bit encryption software – the strength of the US Government since 2002 – according to Fortune.com.

“Back doors” into private conversation

It’s about finding a balance between protecting ordinary people’s private conversations, and catching those who are plotting something more sinister. Our discussions with friends on mobile apps such as WhatsApp are encrypted from the source. This protects our privacy, but also allows terrorist and other similar organisations to plot in private.

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies have pushed for back doors – ways to enable law enforcement to bypass the encryption. But some technology companies have rejected the notion, and just last month the White House overruled law enforcement’s request to enforce such methods. They cited the fact that it could increase the risk of people’s information being more at risk.

Keeping confidential information secure

Your business’s security is paramount, and any breach could have a serious impact on your company. Here are five tips to keeping your confidential information secure:

  • Separate your database from your web server: When you install web software, it often automatically sets up a ready-made database. Use a separate database with added firewall protection for extra security.
  • Do the basics: Updating your software regularly and ensuring your router doesn’t display its service set identifier (SSID) will help your business to stay secure. Ensure that you’re doing everything you can to stop hackers from infiltrating your database which will contain confidential information. Ensure that everyone knows the procedure and who is liable should something unwarranted happen.
  • Follow best practice guidelines: Many hacks occur because of lax procedures in place. Ensure as few people as possible are aware of passwords, and change them regularly to tighten up your security further. Back up your important documents just in case a hack does occur. You should also use a password generator such as LastPass in order to secure files and passwords.
  • Encrypt data: Much like installing a burglar alarm at your house, encrypting data will still leave your protected data open to violation, but it’s more of a deterrent. Hackers will be more tempted to look elsewhere for an easier method and will have to work harder to access your information.
  • Hire security: Protection of your business is paramount. It may seem like an easy way to save money by not hiring professionals to take care of the issue, but it could cost your company serious money if you try to cut corners with security. If appropriate, you should give this step some thought.

For more information on cybersecurity and keeping your company protected, get in touch with me in complete confidence at simon@igniyte.co.uk or call me on +44 (0) 203 542 8689.

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