Cyber Security Readiness

Cyber Security Readiness

The question is no longer if or when you will be breached but rather how often and how severe the breaches will be. But even more important is whether you will be adequately prepared to:

  • Detect attacks
  • Quickly recognize a breach
  • Effectively remediate the attack
  • Accurately assess the damage
  • Cyber Security Readiness


Three Levels of Security Readiness

Proactive. Proactive companies have above-average levels of security readiness, although they are not as high as progressives. Proactive companies realize the importance of IT security. They have put in place basic steps to avoid breaches. However, they are less likely to use technologies such as tokenization to minimize the value of data that hackers could compromise. C-level executives pay close attention to security and realize they are at risk of being breached. Proactive tend to perform monthly reviews of their security position and regularly perform risk assessments. Their primary motivation for using third parties is to supplement the bandwidth of their internal security team.


Reactive companies have below-average levels of security readiness (Not Cyber Security Readiness). C-level executives pay moderate attention to security while delegating security expertise and day-to-day management to IT. Reactive companies realize they are at risk of breach and are aware of many breaches. They react to breaches on a case-by-case basis. They perform quarterly reviews of their security stance and third-party risk assessments. They look to third parties to supplement their internal expertise.


Passive companies are the least security-ready. At passive companies, C-level executives take a hands-off stance to security with all knowledge and responsibility incumbent upon IT. They would prefer that the IT security issue would go away, tending to be unaware of most breaches and reactive in response to breaches they do detect. Reviews of the security posture and third-party risk assessments of passive companies are infrequent, occurring twice a year or less frequently. And they are much less likely to look to third parties for help.

A lack of foundational security increases risk:

As IoT deployments increase in both number and scope, one concern rises to the top of people’s cyber security agenda: Just 10% of respondents to the survey are fully confident that their

connected devices are secure, and only 12% are highly confident about the security of their

business partners’ connected devices. Given that backdrop, it’s no surprise that more

than two-thirds (68%) of the respondents say their companies plan to invest in IoT security in

  1. Half of those organizations are earmarking at least one-quarter of their security budgets

toward the IoT.

Around the world, city, state, and federal governments, as well as other public-sector organizations, are leading the way in bringing the Internet of Everything to life. According to one of the companies leading the charge, there are many examples of how the Internet of Everything is improving the lives of citizens everywhere. Getting information quickly, which in some cases could be critical to saving lives, is essential. This is the exciting part of IoE.

But with every good thing, there are concerns. The internet today has now given access to all types of people with good and bad intentions. We now have all types of hackers, people spreading propaganda based on beliefs, and others that I dare not mention.

So even though the internet is and has been a great invention and are now getting ready to have triple-connected devices in our homes.  It will bring a mixture of bad and good.  The car, the home, and all connected devices MUST be protected like never before. Consumers should be educated on all the downsides to free access to our homes and devices without restrictions. So unless security is at the top of our minds as we put IoE together, we will leave ourselves open to attacks from all over the world.

According to Symantec: Internet of Things

“As the Internet of Things (IoT) begins transforming entire industries, threats quickly evolve to target this rich and vulnerable new landscape. With each industry embedding computing and connectivity into a wide variety of devices, such as cars, jet engines, factory robots, medical equipment, and industrial programmable logic controllers (PLCs), the consequences of security issues are increasingly serious. Consequences include physical harm to people, prolonged downtime, and irreparable damage to capital equipment such as pipelines, blast furnaces, and power generation facilities, particularly in the industrial IoT. IoT systems are often highly complex, requiring end-to-end security solutions spanning cloud and connectivity layers. Resource-constrained IoT devices often aren’t powerful enough to support traditional security solutions”.

Here is another article from Dave Lewis from Forbes about security and IoE:

“One of the terms out there that are getting more and more visibility is the “Internet of Things” or IoT. I’ll admit that I have fought hard against even invoking the term for fearsome evil apparition would appear if I were to say it three times. Alas, it has come to the point where I know I have to comment. I realize that when relatives ask me how to know if their refrigerator is online or not, it is well overdue.

What is the Internet of Things anyway? This refers to the interconnections between all devices with an addressable interface that can communicate online. So many devices now have embedded operating systems that introduce a wealth of new opportunities for the end-user as well as ne’er do wells that may not have your best interests at heart. Whether it is your thermostat communicating with Google GOOGL -1.72%, Apple AAPL -2.86% Watch collecting your health data, your car receiving firmware updates, or your fridge sending you a text to remind you to pick up a carton of milk, it has arrived. The terminology first reared its head in 2009 in the RFID Journal. The article “The ‘Internet of Things’ Thing” by Kevin Ashton is given the hat tip as the point at which this all began.

From RFID Journal:

 If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without help—we would be able to track and count everything and significantly reduce waste, loss, and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing, or recalling and whether they were fresh or past their best.

 We need to empower computers with their own means of gathering information, so they can see, hear and smell the world for themselves, in all its random glory. RFID and sensor technology enable computers to observe, identify and understand the world—without the limitations of human-entered data.

A lofty ambition. Of course, the comedian that lurks in the dark spaces of my mind cracks wise about Skynet and evil robots from the future bent on our destruction. What is troubling is the possibility that security is not considered in these various implementations. All that data is being harvested in an automated fashion, but who has access to the data? What type of information is being collected? Has my coffee machine been pressed into service by a foreign government? Sure, I’m being just a little facetious. It is not too far of a stretch to think that problems could be in the wings when you have devices that can monitor environmental controls and critical infrastructures such as smart grids, medical devices, and transport systems.

Businesses love the idea of the Internet of Things.

Businesses love the idea of the Internet of Things. It opens up new markets while providing more information on customer buying habits. I, on the other hand, sit back in my chair and look at the darker side of IoT. Case in point, how do you go about managing the usernames/passwords for your ever-increasing number of connected devices and appliances? What about the privacy of your information? For example, consider various Internet-connected video cameras with easily defeated security controls or baby monitors. These issues will need to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

Recommended by Forbes

This summer, the Open Interconnect Consortium was created. This organization purports to create a framework for the Internet of Things. From their July 7th press release:

 Leaders from a broad range of industry vertical segments – from smart home and office solutions to automotive and more – will participate in the program. This will help ensure that OIC specifications and open source implementations will help companies design products that intelligently, reliably, and securely manage and exchange information under changing conditions, power and bandwidth, even without an Internet connection.

It is nice to see that their groups are popping up with the state mission to add frameworks to “securely manage” information that is being transmitted and at rest. There is a question that I have which is, are we too late? I was working on smart grid deployments seven years ago, and this group was announced in 2014. I’m hopeful that security will be taken seriously, but I must admit that I do fret as I think that the horse has already bolted from the barn.

What are the implications for the individual? Imagine the newly announced Apple Watch as an example. This is a device that will know 1) who you are, 2) where you are via GPS, 3) What you’re doing via accelerometer and gyroscope, 4) your health, and  5) even be able to monitor your mood. While I’m sure they have taken time to secure these devices, the ramifications could be significant if there was a failure. I once had a rotary phone, and to see that a Dick Tracy-Esque watch that can monitor my health and act as a phone is amazing to me. I’m always enamored with new technology. The Internet of Things brings with it enormous benefits, but we must be sure to include security and privacy at the outset across the board.

We should not sacrifice security and privacy on the altar of convenience”.

In my opinion and warning, security should always be front and center with anything we do online.

We heard in the past year of many breaches in many US companies and government agencies. Most of the breaches happened to companies and organizations with 100 times better security than what you would find in a home that may or not be protected by a wireless router or CMTS that may or not be password protected.

Consumers MUST be protected before big companies sell them products they have little to no understanding of and expose them to risks that may steal their life savings.

New Cyber Security Companies opening as per Forbes:
-One Million Cybersecurity Job Openings In 2016

There’s an explosion in the cyber security field. According to the federal government, there are over one million jobs available, with very few people to fill these roles.

From Forbes:

“If you are thinking about a career change in 2016, then you might want to look at the burgeoning cybersecurity market, which is expected to grow from $75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020.

A knack for cat-and-mouse play may indicate your aptitude for cybersecurity. It is a field where the good guys — cybersecurity professionals — are pitted against the bad guys — cybercriminals, a.k.a. hackers. Assuming you’d want to be a good guy – a career can mean a six-figure salary, job security, and the potential for upward mobility.

More than 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. are unfilled, and postings are up 74% over the past five years, according to a 2015 analysis of numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by Peninsula Press, a project of the Stanford University Journalism Program.

A report from Cisco puts the global figure at one million cybersecurity job openings. Demand is expected to rise to 6 million globally by 2019, with a projected shortfall of 1.5 million, says Michael Brown, CEO at Symantec, the world’s largest security software vendor.

If you are already in the tech field, crossing over to security can mean a bump in pay. Cybersecurity workers can command an average salary premium of nearly $6,500 per year, or 9% more than other IT workers, according to the Job Market Intelligence: Cybersecurity Jobs 2015 report published by Burning Glass Technologies.

Newbies in the tech field contemplating a career in cybersecurity will often start out as information security analysts. U.S. News and World Report ranked a career in information security analysis eighth on its list of the 100 best jobs for 2015. They state the profession is growing at 36.5% through 2022. Many information security analysts earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science, programming, or engineering.

The most recent median pay for an information security analyst is $88,890 per year, according to the  Bureau of Labor Statistics, which says the typical entry-level education is a Bachelor’s degree. The lowest 10% earned less than $50,300, and the highest 10% earned more than $140,460″.

The bottom line is cyber security breaches and identity theft is rising because of connected devices. We who are educated about cybercrime must take the time to use our companies, firms, and all resources available to teach others about the dangers of cybercriminals.

We at Cyber Security Consulting Ops will do all we can to help individuals protect their assesses against malware, phishing, or any social engineer threats that may arise to steal their data and make them a victim of cybercrime.