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An Ode to Cybersecurity Month: 3 Lessons from Data Connectors Tech Security Conference

Bridget Devine

Today marks the end of National Cybersecurity Month, and to note the occasion, I'm going to give you a recap of a cybersecurity conference I attended in Milwaukee a few weeks ago called "Data Connectors Tech Security Conference."

I journeyed to exotic Milwaukee and got the chance to speak with representatives from some of the most innovative cybersecurity companies in the space. Here are a few key takeaways:

  1. There are three types of hackers - You can broadly categorize every single hacker into one of three groups, including ideological, political and criminal. Ideological hackers are groups like Anonymous, and they are also known as "hacktivists." They hack to stand up for beliefs, targeting anyone who they believe violates their code of ethics. Sometimes this dips into political hacking. For example, last March, Anonymous vowed to take down Donald Trump through cyberattacks. Political hackers target governments groups and political figures. An example of a political hacking group is Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), whose purpose is to support the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Then there are the criminal hackers. These guys hack for money, property or just because they feel like it. These hackers have becoming increasingly dangerous with the rise of bitcoin, often catching targets through phishing scams, offering to exchange data for bitcoin transactions. Ransomware is a rising cybersecurity protection method, and it's defending against these people.
  1. The difference between a breach and a compromise - Often times these words are used interchangeably in the media, however, they have two distinct definitions. Even in Googling these phrases I struggled to find substantial differences in the terms. In a data compromise, private information is exposed, and in a breach, private information is exposed to the public. In cases of criminal attacks for ransom, information is typically exposed solely to the hacker with the threat of it being exposed publicly. Whereas with the infamous attack on Ashley Madison, information was immediately exposed to the public, which classifies it as a data breach.

  1. Preventative and Reactive Cybersecurity Solutions - Nearly every solution out there falls into one of these two categories. Preventive solutions are meant to stop attacks from reaching end users, and these types of solutions include identity management, firewalls and more. Reactive cybersecurity solutions are built based on a different theory. Many of these solutions discuss "Zero-Day Malware," or a type of attack that hasn't been executed before. Preventative solutions' thought leaders say these attacks are rare, and most cyberattacks have been carried out over and over, so organizations need the right training and tools to combat them. But the idea behind reactive tools is that hackers will undoubtedly penetrate your system, so it's a matter of blocking their path once they are in and protecting the information, even if it is accessed.

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