Have you been the victim of cybercrime?  If I asked you that question in 2012, you might have said, “I’m not sure.”  But in 2017, I am sure your answer is, “Yes, I’ve been victimized many times.”  That’s bad news.

I joined SonicWall in 2012 and witnessed firsthand the rise of cybercrime headlines occurring on a monthly, weekly, and now daily basis. Among the familiar companies that have been breached over those five years are Target, Home Depot, eBay, PayPal, LinkedIn, Anthem, Yahoo, iCloud, Dropbox, Evernote, and Equifax.  If you use any of these, then you have been an indirect victim of cybercrime and undoubtedly, most of your personal information is somewhere on the Dark Web.

According to http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/worlds-biggest-data-breaches-hacks/ the last five years has seen an escalation of cybercrime on the scale of a world-wide cyberwar. The weapons of this cyberwar are simple and inexpensive to make and deliver compared to conventional weapons. This is due to the ubiquity and connectedness of the Internet that is at once its strength and its weakness. The ubiquity of the internet is a strength in that it enables a free exchange of information and commerce by connecting individuals, businesses, and governments. Yet, this connectedness is a weakness in that it enables criminal, espionage, and terrorist organizations to directly victimize the public, enterprises, and nations on a global scale.

Should you resign yourself to being a casualty in the cyberwar? Go off the grid and forgo connected technologies?  Neither of these options is acceptable for those who desire the convenience that comes with technical innovations such as Alexa and Nest. Then should you hack back? We don’t recommend it since that would be like a civilian joining a conventional war with a pellet gun – you’d have little to gain and much to lose.

In the cyberwar, you are more secure as a non-combatant, but that does not mean you need to be a passive participant. Instead, make sure you have a good defense. If hackers are climbing a ladder to get to you, then build a wall that is higher than their ladder. Windows and MacOS Firewall are defensive tactics, but they are dated architectures that are easy to penetrate. Firewalls in antivirus and wireless routers are marginally better than Windows and MacOS, but they are still not enough to thwart hackers in today’s cyberthreat environment.

To be safe in the cyberwar of 2017, use a next-generation firewall (NGFW) running a full suite of security services.  Unlike less sophisticated firewalls, NGFWs are not static; they learn and grow higher over time, staying higher than the ladders that the hackers are building. The SonicWall Capture Threat Network updates signatures globally around the clock to keep your firewall “higher than the hacker’s ladders.” And if they happen to put a ladder where you didn’t expect one (with a zero-day or unknown malware), you can use Capture ATP to “push away that ladder” before the threat can enter your network.

Tomorrow will bring news of another organization that has been hacked, but you can securely protect the data and devices on your network and avoid being a casualty of the cyberwar. Download – 8 Ways to Protect Your Network Against Ransomware.

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Wilson Lee
Product Line Management, Management & Reporting Solutions | SonicWall
Wilson Lee is the senior product line manager for Policy Management, Monitoring, and Reporting solutions at SonicWall.  He has extensive experience in product management, hardware development, software management, manufacturing, and sales operations.  Mr. Lee holds a BS Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

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