On June 14, 2021, Kainach International Forum held a discussion surrounding The Emerging Importance of Cybersecurity. WTA of Utah board member Franz Kolb moderated the event, facilitating a conversation among three panelists that highlighted the increased threat from cyber attacks. Panel members included:
-Yoram Hofman: OmniQ, CTO; Salt Lake City, UT
-Haim Teichholtz: VP Engineering of Elbit Systems Land and C4I Division
-Gustavo Henrique Souza: CEO of the Everest Post Grid; State of São Paulo, Brazil
Over the past 10-20 years, what role has cybersecurity played in your industries?
With experience in several different industries such as telecommunications and defense, Haim Teichholtz sees an increasing number of threats, particularly as the world becomes more digitally dependent. According to Teichholtz, security has always been a part of the business model; however, especially within the defense industry, the necessity for cybersecurity is crucial and rising.
Subsequently, Yoram Hofman shared a presentation highlighting OmniQ's services and cyber threats as a company in the "Vision Based Industry." OmniQ's main concerns regarding cyber attacks are:
As a professional in the video and digital surveillance industry, Hofman is particularly aware of the rise in cyber attacks. In 2019, a home's interior Ring camera was hacked, allowing the hackers to view the family's residence and even interact with the children. In March 2021, a security company was attacked, giving hackers access to video footage of "Prisons, psychiatric hospitals, clinics," and the company's own office spaces. According to Hofman, cyber threats such as ransomeware attacks now occur every 11 seconds.
As for cybersecurity in digital marketing in Brazil, Gustavo Henrique Souza knows the importance of personal data. According to Souza, even posting our lifestyles and opinions increases the chance of being attacked. As a form of protection, Souza's company has encrypted sites and installed antivirus programs.
How have you dealt with cybersecurity threats both personally and professionally?
For ransomeware attacks, Hofman states that limiting and securing "Access from computers to [the] external world" and implementing a secured VPN and modems are a form of prevention, but not complete protection against such attacks. OmniQ has taken preventative measures such as implementing antivirus programs and changing the network that the cameras are on.
In Souza's experience, it is important to both "Think like a human" and think like a hacker. By doing so, it is easier to understand why and how the hacker might attack and install malware. Moreover, it is largely up to the user to keep themselves protected. Individuals must be wary of their internet connection and password usage, and install programs that can help prevent cyber attacks.
Teichholtz shared that at his company, which is being cyber attacked thousands of times per day, any phones, headphones, and smart watches are left outside of the meeting room during discussions; moreover, decisions are made slower because almost everything is seen and treated as a security threat. However, he recognizes that "At the end of the day, you cannot fight it." Although individuals may opt out of home cameras and limit their digital presence, Teichholtz states that hackers can still attack. Cybersecurity is dependent on who we trust with our personal information, even with something as simple as a game or shopping app. Teichholtz shares that "Every application that you install on your smartphone can potentially record what you say, take video[s]...or access [your] data." Younger generations, he claims, are less worried about cybersecurity because they are more aware of what information they are sharing with the public, and listen to the good or bad reputations of certain applications.
Will a VPN provide sufficient protection?
According to Teichholtz, using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is relatively safe. A major advantage of utilizing a VPN is that all communication is limited to trusted members of the network. Teichholtz states that private networks have professionals within their organization who authenticate each member, only allowing specific individuals (such as employees) to access and communicate within the network. However, he warns that "If one of them...[decides] that he wants to steal anything from the company, he can do that with a VPN." Although private networks protect the user and organization from outside threats, they are still vulnerable to internal attacks.
What are the next steps for someone who has had their data stolen?
Data theft is violating but occurs frequently; thus, Teichholtz advises to treat the situation like a robbery. Although the data is lost, there may opportunities to get it back. In Israel, victims of data theft can contact the police to report the situation. "In most cases, [hackers] have the integrity...that when you pay, they will give [back] what they robbed from you." Teichholtz advises that in the unfortunate event that an individual is robbed of their data, they must do two things: report the incident to the authorities and change the way they interact digitally. When the victim reports the situation, this helps authorities prevent further attacks on other citizens; moreover, improving the way one handles their digital presence prevents subsequent attacks on the same individual. Souza agreed with Teichholtz's previous statements, adding that "We need to close the door" to further attacks by assessing what internal security changes must be made.
This was the first forum of a three part series. Subsequent discussions surrounding cybersecurity will be held starting Fall 2021. To receive more information and details on upcoming events, become a member and follow our Twitter and LinkedIn.