Virtually everything we use for productivity is digitized. We depend on digital communication from our email servers to our printers and just about everything in between.
Our digital footprint is so omnipresent that the IT and law sectors have created an entire new genre of computer programming devoted to the thorough discovery and recovery of vast amounts of digital information. So, then, your work begs this question: is your information secure?
A month ago, an unidentified hacker waged an unprecedented attack on the major internet resource Dyn, rendering the system Dyn is an Internet Performance Manager, which basically means it hosts a ton of information; in this case, Dyn hosts information from companies like LinkedIn and Netflix.
The unidentified hacker breached vulnerabilities in the system in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, where the system is overloaded with a flurry of trash files that leave its components unable to process.
What does that mean?
This kind of attack has tremendous magnitude. It implies twofold: first, that the internet could be knocked offline for large swaths of time; second, that someone is testing major internet resources to assess vulnerabilities.
The CTO of the IBM company Resilient, Bruce Schneier, was able to check in with some major cloud resources on the condition of their anonymity to understand more thoroughly the nature of the attacks.
“[It’s] as if the attacker were looking for the exact point of failure…The attacks are also configured in such a way as to see what the company’s total defenses are,” Schneier blogged in September, “…Someone is extensively testing the core defensive capabilities of the companies that provide critical Internet services.”
We are in a moment in history where technology is exponentially evolving. Start-up developments are as commonplace as a new corner Starbucks. Technology is bridging the gap between the laws of man and the solutions of emerging demands; for example, the startup PayQwick is leading the field in providing cashless money transfer for marijuana businesses, who face opposition from local banks who still must comply with federal financial regulations.
The internet security company BullGuard has developed an IoT scanner to monitor the vulnerabilities of the systems within your own network. The idea behind it is that it may reveal inconsistencies that could then be addressed; it is by no means a fix or even a solution, but it could serve as a base for understanding where to begin. The scanner is available as a web-based browser and is free.
The IoT scanner is particularly relevant now; a recent study showed over half of smartphone users are concerned about the security of their information and that almost three-quarters of smartphone users have no idea how to establish that security.
Three cheers to the ever-developing internet for providing a starting ground for those of us who want to secure our small businesses and personal information. But even more important could be the buds of user-friendly security development.
Ideally, small-scale customers should feel protected and should be able to understand the technology if digital information security is such an all-encompassing commodity.
What does it mean for IT monoliths to have egregious infrastructural weaknesses? And how might those weaknesses trickle down into the smaller-scale pockets of American businesses and lives? Let’s hope there’s already something in development before the option disappears.