Cybersecurity & Crisis Management in 2013

New threats hold potential to create crisis management woes

As computers and mobile devices continue to become deeper entwined with all aspects of our daily lives, the potential dangers presented by cybersecurity breaches become exponentially more worrisome.

Cyberheist News recently published its “13 Predictions for 2013,” and below we have a selection of those we feel will have the most impact on crisis management in the coming year:

- BYOD Target Number One: As part of cybercrime’s focused attacks, they will be looking to infect the private mobile devices of employees who have access to the company network. BYOD will be a bear for IT the coming year. Toll fraud, malware that charges money to a user’s mobile phone bill will be the leading monetization strategy for mobile malware writers.

- Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) usually coming from China, will expand from enterprise to the civilian population, specifically celebrities, politicians and business leaders. The APT goal will be to either create or find offenses they can blackmail the victim with. Things like first putting child pornography on someones phone, and then threatening with revealing that information to police and press. Politicians and CEOs need to be extra careful as surveillanceware (like FinFisher) for espionage will increase.

- South Carolina’s tax IT system breach where 4 million taxpayers were exposed, is making top officials in other local and state governments very, very nervous. Expect a wave of fresh security awareness training for all employees in those organizations.

- 2013 will be the year of mobile shopping, and most retail companies will enable mobile commerce the next twelve months with mobile wallets. Cyber criminals are rubbing their hands with anticipation, because now some shoulder surfing and stealing someones smartphone is enough to go for an illegal shopping spree.

- Hackers will pull off a massive Cyberheist in 2013 creating fake bank transactions harming you with the very same protocols that were designed to protect you.

Any one of these issues has the capability of plunging an organization or individual into a crisis that will deeply impact not only reputation, but finances as well. In addition, because these threats are just coming on the radar, those affected are going to be very confused and agitated. These are not the old-hat email phishing scams we’ve been used to since AOL days, but extremely sophisticated attacks that will turn our own technology against us in what will be, to the layperson, an almost undetectable manner.

How can you help prevent these types of crises from hurting you and your brand? One of the best steps you can take to help stave off trouble is to get your IT and PR/crisis management departments talking. IT departments aren’t exactly notorious for a lack of jargon-free communication, but working together these two groups should be able to put together a plan to cope with crises when they come and, even more importantly, educate the rest of the workplace to help stop up the cracks that the cyber invasions can exploit.

The BCM Blogging Team
http://www.bernsteincrisismanagement.com/

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