Sony gets hacked and a major movie project is disrupted. Xbox and Playstation systems are taken down. Millions of pages of names, addresses and other private information vanish into cyberspace so your routine includes getting an all-new credit-card number and security code.
And personally, you’re seeing a flood of computer-security ads, your inbox is full of information about threats, your computer anti-virus is going berserk putting quarantine on trojans and you wonder just what’s going on.
Exactly what it looks like, a surge in computer attacks like ever before. At least, according to a recognized expert in the field, Dan Lohrmann, who has evaluated and analyzed the problem at GovTech.com.
He’s an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist and author and has held titles such as chief security officer, chief technology officer and more.
He joined Security Mentor, Inc. in August and he currently serves as the chief security officer and chief strategist for this award-winning training company.
“Don’t be surprised if you are seeing double,” he said. “While 2013 was also a big year, with Snowden’s disclosures and the Target breach during the holiday shopping season dominating last year’s news headlines, 2014 brought a 2X cyber growth.”
And with the cyber growth has come cyber crime.
He cites reports from CNN about hackers in Russia stealing 1.2 billion passwords, he looks at a report from Kaspersky Lab that says the number of corporate sector targets in 2014 is 2.4 times that of 2013, and also notes that “up to 1,800 corporate targets were discovered.” Also the industry reports $2 billion in cyber insurance policies were sold in 2014, up from $1 billion just a year ago.
“Is a ‘Cyber Pearl Harbor’ coming that will bring down infrastructure? How will new cybercrimes and foreign nations conducting cyberattacks on global businesses change the conversation. Will we have new sub-categories for cybersecurity as we do for medicine?” he questions.
“Only time will tell.”
Lohrmann, under whose leadership Michigan was recognized as a global leader in cyberdefense for government, noted the surge in a number of cyber activity categories.
“In January, the U.S. Cyber Command more than doubled spending to protect Department of Defense (DoD) networks,” he wrote, citing a DefenseOne report.
Then, he said, Price Waterhouse Coopers said the cost of data breaches to businesses has almost doubled.
In 2014, there were double the reported cyber attacks on businesses, he said, and “double the number of cyber insurance policies were sold.”
Further, the “number of cyber job vacancies has more than doubled in the past year,” he said, citing the online Varstaffing.com blog.
Other factors that should alarm, he said, are Cyber Monday was turned into Cyber Week “of deals and scams,” the number of teen cyberbullying victims as doubled and Wired called cybercrime, “a huge growth business.”
Around the globe, North Korea doubled its cyber force and the “dark net” drugs market doubled in the year.
“Not all 2014 faces and figures fit neatly into the ‘double’ theme,” he wrote. “However, any scorecard or metric, the breach numbers have skyrocketed.”
He cited a CNN report that said, “the number of cyber incidents involving government agencies has jumped 35 percent between 2010 and 2013, from roughly 34,000 to about 46,000, according to another recent report by the Government Accountability Off ice.”
“This is a global problem. We don’t have a malware problem. We have an adversary problem. There are people being paid to try to get inside our systems 24/7,” said Tony Cole, vice president of the cyber security firm FireEye.”
He noted in just two cases hackers invaded U.S. Postal Service servers and stole data including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and other information for nearly four million workers and customers.
Then the WorksSource Oregon Management Information system lost information on another 850,000.
“As our online and offline worlds merge together in new ways, most experts expect these cyber-trends to continue,” he wrote. “Future cyber-inventions that fall under the Internet of Things (IoT) banner which include cars and homes and smart cities that are connected, will bring more cyber-challenges in 2015 and beyond.”
Lohrmann has in the past decade advised the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the White House, Federal Bureau of Investigation, numerous federal agencies, law enforcement, state and local governments, non-profits, foreign governments, local businesses, universities, churches and home users on issues ranging from personal Internet safety to defending government and business-owned technology and critical infrastructures from online attacks.