May 18 2020

Don’t be like Chicken Little, but don’t ignore Cassandra either

Cassandra, a priestess of Apollo in Greek mythology cursed to utter true prophecies, but never to be believed


[fusion_dropcap boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”” class=”” id=”” color=””]O[/fusion_dropcap]n my first day of the Marine Intelligence School, my instructors warned the class not to fall into one of the following two categories:

1) Apathy. When reading classified intelligence reports, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged by bad news. “The world is so messed up, there’s nothing we can do about it.”

2) Panic. It’s easy to become ‘Chicken Little’ (“The sky is falling”) when exposed to the chaos in the world.

Given the latter, I try not to react when I read a headline like this one which appeared in Forbes, Why The Largest Cyberattack In History Will Happen Within Six Months.

Author, Stephen McBride boldly states, “The coronavirus is laying the groundwork for a massive cyberattack. In fact, I’m on record today saying we’ll see the largest cyberattack in HISTORY within the next six months.”

In the Intelligence world, there’s a term, “Indications and Warnings.” They foretell of potential attacks. Ignore them at your peril…

Cyberattacks are on the rise due to the COVID pandemic. Security firms are reporting massive increases. I’m not going to list the stats or hyperlink the articles but do a quick Google search and you’ll see.

The paradigm of working from home / attending school remotely has changed the cybersecurity landscape in incalculable ways. Balancing availability with security is even more difficult as teammates struggle to adapt to the ‘new normal.’

This problem will beset everyone.

While your company may have a secure WFH solution, what about all of your partners / vendors? What about the schools your children are accessing from your home network (that you are also using to access your work network)?

The Indications and Warnings are screaming at us.

[ Read: The Organized Cybercrime Workplace: Not Your Parents’ Basement ]

I know it’s a difficult balance as leaders to make hard choices about productivity, spending in uncertain times and also trying to ensure your business and home are not victim to the next cyberattack.

There are answers – simple and cost-effective things you can do today to minimize your risks. Please, take the time to discuss this with your leadership team.

Don’t let Stephen McBride’s prophetic warning go unheeded. Recovering from a cyber event during normal times is difficult enough; doing so during a pandemic may be insurmountable.

I am not a fan of fear mongering or panic spreading. We read and hear enough bad news about the pandemic, the marketplace, jobs lost, etc. As I stated above, don’t be ‘Chicken Little.’ However, simple steps now will reduce your risk.

We’ve been great about social distancing, wearing masks, quarantining. Let’s do the same when it comes to cybersecurity.