In today’s digital world, no person or entity is safe when it comes to protecting information online. Sophisticated attacks have become daily headlines. These cyber aggressors are focused on acquiring something of value- attempting to steal usernames, passwords, bank account information, personal information, trade secrets and even classified information. The latest and most recent noteworthy victim of a computer breach: the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Pittsburgh-based counter espionage advisor and security expert, Robert Kresson, has been at the forefront of virtual disasters since the early 1970’s. His advice for corporations and individuals alike: “Take a layered approach with securing protected information.”
Network attacks can come from anywhere in the world, sometimes working through “proxy servers” to camouflage themselves. Some of the most notable attacks have been traced back to China, North Korea, and most recently, Russia. Russian hackers have stolen 1.2 billion usernames and passwords and over 500 million email addresses, stemming from 420,000 different websites. World leaders and common day bloggers were among the victims who now need to rely on the expert advice from counter espionage security advisors.
According to Kresson, one method of breach is known as a brute force attack where hackers use a systematic algorithm to repeatedly attempt to simply guess passwords, going through every combination of characters and symbols. Kresson says that the online capabilities to spy, hack or compromise data anywhere in the web today are “limitless.”
“The focus needs to be on proactive measures. People do not want to wait until their data is compromised or stolen to start protecting it,” Kresson says, the same message of caution in his consultations to Fortune 500 security leaders. He adds, “One of our beliefs in order to help thwart these attacks is the implementation of Unified Threat Management System that protects networks using multi-layer proven protection technologies including Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), IPS, VPN, email and web filtering.
Kresson recommends various methods and added layers of protection. Empire’s clients utilize internet gateway perimeter protection as a first layer of protection that provides an essential network firewall, plus protection for web and email gateways, laptops and mobile devices. The use of encryption technologies ensures that enterprise “protected information” is secure when both in transit (email) or at rest (stored on the network). They also install systems to ensure the protection of company users when surfing the web from virus and malware attacks utilizing Web Surfing and Filtering technologies, increasing the barriers of protection.
Kresson says that technology is never a substitute for effective administrative security procedures. These are policies that enforce the use of unique and complex passwords that include a combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers, and symbols. He also urges for company employees to be trained on company security procedures annually. Understanding what a threat looks like can alert an aware user of the danger. If employees receive a link via social media, and have no background knowledge of the link, there’s a good chance that it is malicious code. Hacking and intellectual property theft are two-folded, external (hackings, etc.) and internal, meaning employees taking information out via external thumb drives (or other network endpoints), etc. It is crucial to monitor who has access to sensitive information and to lock this information down with DLP encryption technologies to ensure that only authorized information leaves the network in a protected manner and is logged as such.
“Our biggest piece of advice for business owners, students, parents or the every day Internet user is to simply be cautious about what he or she clicks on. Be aware of anything that may look suspicious in email accounts or anything sent via social media which may seem unprecedented,“ Kresson says.
Robert Kresson and Empire Investigation LLC have been featured on regional and national news outlets such as WTAE-Pittsburg Channel 4 and ABC Channel 11 for their use of the latest private investigation technology and “spy gear.” Kresson and his team have also received Pittsburgh’s “Top 12 Ethical Investigators Award” and several Citizen Care awards for their quality investigation and security work. To learn more, contact Robert Kresson at Empire Investigation LLC. Visit their website at http://empireinv.com/.