In today's hyper-connected world, keeping computer systems and information safe online is becoming increasingly difficult. Hackers are not only attacking governments and big businesses, but they are targeting small businesses and individuals with increasing regularity as well.
Defending against this threat requires a multi-pronged approach. In the immediate term, individuals must practice good cyber hygiene to prevent their machines from being hijacked to attack other targets. In the longer term, we must train tomorrow's cyber experts through comprehensive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education programs. With major defense contractors like Electric Boat and United Technologies,as well as a cutting-edge cyber research program at the University of Connecticut, eastern Connecticut is well positioned to lead the way in this high-growth field.
Click on the image above for a video of the October 16th panel discussion.
On October 16, 2015, I convened a panel discussion at UConn to discuss both of these key cybersecurity efforts. Here are a few highlights:
- Over the last decade, more than 4,000 major breaches have exposed the personally identifiable information (PII) of consumers.
- The attack at Target stores, which compromised the credit card information of about 40 million people, was executed by stealing information from one of Target's HVAC vendors. All of our systems are interconnected and anyone you work with can make you vulnerable.
How to Stay Safe Online
- Do not just think about how to avoid being a target, but plan for if, and when, it occurs.
- Stay up to date on all of your software - do not wait to patch in newer versions as they frequently fix critical security vulnerabilities.
- Recognize that you are not a cybersecurity expert. Do not try to manage your own systems if you lack the technical knowhow. Instead, utilize the security expertise of companies that specialize in computer security.
- Ensure that anyone with access to your computers (kids, employees, etc.) understands their responsibilities to keep that hardware safe.
The Opportunity for Tomorrow
- Hundreds of thousands of jobs in the cyber field are going unfilled every year. Openings are growing at twice the national rate in a top paying field.
- Cyber jobs include far more than computer programmers. There is also significant demand for analysts, researchers, and lawyers with a specialization in cyber.
- Everyone must play a role to pretect data, therefore, basic cyber education should be available to al employees and students.
For more cybersecurity resources:
- For Businesses and Individuals:
- DHS Stop.Think.Connect. – Check their toolkit for individualized resources
- NIST Cybersecurity Framework – A guide for organizations on how to develop cyber policies
- Small Business Administration Cybersecurity Tips and Resources
- FBI Cyber Crime Unit
- DHS Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team
- For Students and Educators:
Basic do's and don'ts to practice good cyber hygiene:
- Install malware detection software on all your devices
- Regularly change your passwords
- Use multi-step authentication methods when possible
- Open links and attachments from sources you don't know and trust
- Assume any type of device is more secure than any other - phones and tablets are just as vulnerable as your PC or Mac
- Use the same password for all your accounts
- Give your passwords or personal information to contacts you don't trust