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Cyber Security – Has Anything Really Changed?

Person using laptop in dark room

When the founders of MIC Global first met in 1999 they were focused on understanding the emerging cyber threats that were starting to swirl around the internet and internet based businesses. They became busy building insurance products to help businesses manage these risks.

Since then they have seen the sophistication and number of attacks grow massively with numbers of affected accounts per attack grow to staggering levels. Back in 2000 it would have been almost unbelievable that a single attack could affect over 3 Billion accounts as the 2013 Yahoo case has now finally highlighted. It is also still hard to understand why it took Yahoo so long actually discover the attack. They are meant to have employed the best brains after all.

However, if we look at how our homes and businesses have changed over the past 20 years perhaps we can start to understand this. These changes have drifted into our lives through small incremental steps that have almost gone un-noticed and yet have managed to deliver mind boggling change. How can we or anyone keep up?

Is this the underlying issue that we don’t deal with, keeping up with these small changes and never adding up the true impact?

The sum total of these changes today has completely turned upside down and inside out the way many people run their lives and how small businesses communicate and do business.

We Google everything; Facebook our lives; Uber ourselves home; Stay on airbeds in stranger’s homes; You Tube anything; WhatsApp instead of phoning; Open Online accounts for everything from banking to accountancy to TV to car hire, Have Virtual Assistance for all things useful that we have hired a person for in 1999; Booking a cleaner online and being worried about every review; As for cars, Self-driving cars and trucks are here. The list is endless, and people say its only just started.

Today, as in 1999, we are being asked to ‘Trust’ these new companies as they build the new economies around us. However, the levels of security the companies offer us don’t seem to have changed much.

When we read the scary reports about cyber-attacks nothing much changes in terms of the advice we are given about what we are meant to do to secure our online world; Strong Passwords; Back up everything; Anti-virus software; Firewalls. And finally, Don’t Clink on a Link Unless You Know Where its From – TRUST Nothing, yet trust the new company?

This was the advice 20 years ago and it’s not changed despite everything about the internet getting more complicated and its penetration into our lives going exponential.

Why has nothing seemed to have changed?

A recent survey by Netwrix pointed to the most common reason people and businesses are not so sure about their ability to combat information security threats, these being 1. Lack of budget 2. Lack of time 3. Insufficient training. Or, in other words, we are only human, and we are the weakest link, we are the ones who do nothing.

But if businesses do nothing then, as we hear every day, the consequences can be catastrophic, not just for your business but also for the people you do business for and with.