Consumers Get Serious About Internet Security
Thanks to John Podesta of the DNC, America was recently treated to a front row seat at a phishing attack.
Phishing is the practice of luring someone into divulging sensitive information in response to an e-Mail that appears to be from a trusted source.
This “nasty” practice become a perverse sort of art form, as its perpetrators have and continue crafting ingenious schemes that, every now and then, catch someone on e-Mail autopilot. In fact, phishing is the most successful tactic for planting malware inside an organization.
But, is this just about business?
For too long, there has been a disparity in security consciousness between business and consumer Internet users.
Employees are usually trained in, and firmly advised to comply with, corporate security practices. Yet at home, we activate the anti-virus and cruise to where our browsers and emailed links take us.
There is also a notion of safety in numbers.
That is, it makes tons of sense for the bad guys to covet the treasure behind a company firewall, but why waste your time on just me?
And they will never find me among the online masses.
Maybe not so much anymore, as the stakes are about to skyrocket.
In her recent post 2017 Security Predictions, CIO Magazine’s Sharon Florentine predicts that “ransomware will spin out of control.”
She points out that there are 4,000 such attacks every day, 3X the Y 2015’s rate.
Targeting businesses and consumers, ransomware literally holds your computer and/or data hostage until you pay up the ransom.
Imagine you just sat down with your morning coffee, woke up the computer, and no matter what you try, it will only display “To avoid the permanent deletion of your hard disk and all your backups, wire $2,000 to 400533432… You have 48 hours.” Damn. You’ve been found.
If there’s anything positive to come out of Mr. Podesta’s misfortune – regardless of how you feel about the DNC – it is the ultra-high profile of the story, and that he was using GMail.
Now we can really connect the dots, because this was not some distant corporate system, it was a service that many of us use. And when you combine phishing with ransomware, there’s nothing like the pain of getting hit in the pocketbook to heighten one’s awareness.
This is good news for those of us in the secure messaging business, because it’s driving the crossover of user-friendly, secure applications into the huge consumer market.
In Y 2017, consumer users will finally come to grips with their vulnerability – which has been there all along – and will get proactive about upgrading the way they communicate and share.By Steve Douty, CEO Nexo, Inc.
Paul Ebeling, Editor