What is the Domino Effect?
Simply put, the domino effect refers to how one cyber-attack can set off a chain reaction by triggering another and then another. With our modern corporations being connected to various suppliers, vendors and partners a company is only as secure as the weakest link it is connected to online. If a hacker wants entrance into a company's secure database he doesn't have to attack that company's defenses directly, for if he gains entrance in a small vendors easy-to-penetrate database he can start a ripple effect that will impact all the sites that are connected to the vendor.
This is already happening and is forecast to happen more and more in the near future. Corporate America is realizing the need to not only beef up their own cyber defenses to ward off criminals, but they must vet the security of networks maintained by online partners.
What industries are in Danger?
While cyber-crime can touch any industry that is on the internet the following areas of the economy were of biggest concern according to the in-depth survey:
- Financial/Banking: 53%
- Energy/Utilities: 46%
- Government or critical infrastructure functions: 41%
- Stock exchange/trading: 41%
- Healthcare: 35%?
How can Corporate America Prepare for the Threat?
There are practical steps responsible businesses can take today to protect against harmful attacks. RedSeal CEO, Ray Rothrock recommends the following precautions be implemented across all companies.
- Protect against a common link to access exploited by hackers—employees. By educating your workforce you can guard against employees unknowingly giving criminals the access they need to penetrate your defenses. For example: Make sure they understand to use strong passwords, avoid connecting strange thumb drives to work computers and to be cautious when deciding which links to click in emails they receive.
- Limit access to sensitive data to only those employees that need to know in order to do their jobs.
- Manage your security products well. Your defense systems are only as useful as they are properly maintained and routinely followed. Keep them up to date and do frequent checks.
- Encrypt! Be sure all data is encrypted both within the network and when it travels to destinations outside the network.
Today criminals are as likely, if not more, to break in through a virtual pathway as through the doors of your business. An attacker only needs one vulnerability to exploit so it's crucial to be on top of cyber security. You can guarantee cyber-attacks will only become more prevalent and sophisticated, and due to the interconnectedness of our modern networks, our security is intertwined. We're in this together and it's our responsibility to our own corporations, as well as to those we do business with, to do the best to protect our defenses.