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VIDEO: Why cyber insurance is needed to protect intangible assets, i.e. business data

By Byron V. Acohido

More organizations than ever, especially small and medium-size ones, will seek to account for the fast-rising risk of suffering a cyber attack in 2017 by buying a cyber liability policy.

The general state of security of U.S. business networks remains anemic when compared to the vast and growing capabilities of hackers with malicious intent. Companies are beginning to realize the value of offsetting this risk to an insurance carrier—and insurance companies and underwriters recognize a golden goose when they see one.

The fledgling cyber insurance market topped $3 billion in 2015, and ABI estimates the global cyber insurance market is swelling at a clip that will top $10 billion by 2020.

Related: Cyber insurance increasingly includes value-added …more

VIDEO: NY holds companies accountable for cybersecurity

By Byron V. Acohido

Banks and other financial services companies wishing to do business in the state of New York will soon have to prove they are using first-class cybersecurity policies and practices.

Officials at the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) were so concerned that a catastrophic network hack in the financial sector could have dire consequences that they took it upon themselves to draft a far-reaching set of mandatory cybersecurity requirements.

Two years in the making, it is called the Cybersecurity Requirements for Financial Services Companies. And it is set to take effect Jan. 1.

Heading off hacks

A comment period on the draft proposal closed Nov. 14. Officials now are reviewing the comments, and modifications could yet be made. However, if the rules …more

VIDEO: Good guy hacker Chris Vickery hunts exposed data

By Byron V. Acohido

Two more stunning disclosures from self-styled internet watchdog Chris Vickery underscore how organizations continue to routinely expose sensitive data in the cloud, risking dire consequences.

“My findings clearly demonstrate that data breaches happen more often than the general public realizes, and companies are quick to deny and cover up these issues,” Vickery says.

Last Friday, Vickery revealed how Habitat for Humanity of Michigan had been making use of two backup virtual hard drives without taking steps to block public access to those drives, which contained “lots of background/credit checks for volunteers and applicants, as well as thousands of Social Security numbers,” he says. The nonprofit organization helps build and renovate affordable housing for needy families.

Leaked files show grim reality

In mid-October, Vickery broke …more

Q&A: How hackers manipulate domain names to spread malware

By Byron V. Acohido

When Seattleite Jay Westerdal bootstrapped a company called DomainTools in 2002, it was to support his activities in the domain name speculation game that was red hot at the time.

DomainTools set out to gather domain “whois” records in order to serve those immersed in speculating on owning domain names, like chocolate.com. Unbeknown to the founders at the time, the company did a couple of things that would position DomainTools to reinvent itself down the road as a security vendor, once the domain name market ran its course.

First, the company kept historical records of everything. And, second, DomainTools started gathering, not just “whois” records, but also web server and email server records, all of which would prove to be valuable for tracking the …more

VIDEO: Vasco Digipass technology changes user’s password every 30 seconds to thwart hackers

By Byron V. Acohido

KBC Bank Ireland announced last month that it has upgraded security for mobile customers by integrating the Vasco Digipass for apps into its mobile security application.

The Irish bank’s decision is part of a growing trend by financial institutions to implement advanced security solutions for an increasing number of customers who bank with a mobile device.

“Mobile banking is growing faster than the use of online banking did, and smartphones will soon be within the reach of almost all banking customers,” says Vasco Data Security International Vice President John Gunn. “In the next few years, mobile payments will be preloaded on every new phone and integrated into …more

VIDEO: Cyber criminals use cheap devices to jam, disrupt signals in everyday objects

By Byron V. Acohido

The risk of being hacked comes with living in the digital age. But now another form of digital disruption—signal jamming— is rapidly gaining traction and shaping yet another type of risk for consumers and businesses to worry about.

We’ve come to rely on digital signals moving through the Internet cloud and in and out of our computing devices. The problem is: it turns out that jamming digital signals is an easy thing to do.

Just when you thought it was safe

Security and privacy experts are starting to discuss how the disruptions wrought by digital signal jamming can cause harm ranging from the trivial to potentially catastrophic. Clearly, the horse is …more

VIDEO: Ripples from Internet of Things create sea change for security, liability

By Byron V. Acohido

Fact about Dick Cheney: When he was vice president of the United States, Cheney so fretted about someone remotely hacking into his heart defibrillator that he had his doctors disable the device’s wireless feature.

Cheney’s prescience about unprecedented exposures arising from the Internet of Things has been borne out.

Manufacturers are foisting Internet-connected medical devices, automobiles, TVs, gaming consoles, webcams, thermostats, utility meters and household appliances on consumers faster than hackers—both white hats and black hats—can identify the intrinsic coding flaws.

About 70 percent of the most commonly used IoT devices contain password, encryption, authentication and other vulnerabilities, according to a 2014 Hewlett Packard study. HP reviewed 10 of the most popular IoT devices and uncovered an average of 25 …more