Industry surveys and incident reporting are showing a clear rise in cyber threats and data breaches, despite the best efforts of organizations that work to educate the public and raise awareness of these threats. But with a greater emphasis on identity protection and cybersecurity, why are hackers still winning? 

As data security professionals work to instill new safeguards in sensitive networks, hackers continue to find newer and more creative ways to breach the systems. Scammers are also working round-the-clock to contrive new ways to lure unsuspecting users into turning over their information, which can lead to even bigger breaches.

But the Council on Cybersecurity has some really positive news for us: the same practices that kept us safe in the past are just as good today, as long as those practices are adhered to. The problem is, with more users than ever engaging in the digital space and turning to the convenience of online connectivity, those same security practices are not always followed.

According to a survey of IT professionals conducted by Tripwire, confidence in the same hardware and software protocols that have always protected our networks and our sensitive information is as high as ever. The real threat is from not having those protocols followed, especially in this era of interconnectivity and on-the-go internet access across unsecured, public wifi. Of course, as more industries turn to the digital space to conduct business, employee awareness and training hasn’t always kept pace.

For everyone from the typical daily computer user to the highest level of IT professional, there are some truths that must be acknowledged. Strong passwords, safe emailing and file sharing practices, and a better sense of what constitutes oversharing are vital. A greater understanding of how computer networks actually function is a plus as well, as many scammers rely on users’ own ignorance of the system to dupe them into turning over information or providing sensitive data. Finally, strong anti-virus and anti-malware software needs to be in place on networks—both personal and industrial—and attempts to skirt those softwares need to be blocked.

According to a report on the survey findings by Tony Sager of the Council on Cybersecurity, there is other good news to report. While the basics of security and the fundamental practices that have proven to be effective in the past are still relevant despite a changing landscape of cyber threats, there is now a greater sense of cooperation between security professionals and business executives. This indicates that awareness of threats and an understanding of the damage that a hacker can cause is reaching all levels of industry, and is no longer solely the responsibility of a lone IT professional. Everyone has a stake in preventing a data breach, and executives are aware of the need for these protocols and practices.

 

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