Want to know how much the Target and Home Depot cyberattacks cost those companies? According to Forbes, the price tag for data breach expenses ran $146 million for Target and is estimated at $62 million for Home Depot. Even financial institutions, once thought better protected, are reporting massive security breaches, as the recent J.P. Morgan news highlights.
These events have laid bare an ugly truth: Traditional firewalls and anti-virus software can’t thwart hackers bent on infiltrating corporate and government systems for financial or political gain. Ray Boisvert, CEO and founder of I-Sec Integrated Strategies (ISECIS), will address the issue at The Premier Business Leadership Series in Las Vegas, Oct. 21-23.
As the former Assistant Director of Intelligence for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Boisvert is uniquely qualified to help businesses and governments identify risks and create cybersecurity safeguards. His advice? “A new approach that uses analytics to understand the behavioral aspects of hackers is absolutely necessary,” he says.
Boisvert is quick to note he isn’t a technical specialist. “I’m a threat specialist,’’ he says. With experience operating in the Middle East and Eastern Europe and exchanging intelligence and benchmark threat matrices with security and intelligence agencies from around the world, he sees cyberattacks as the emerging fifth dimension of the 21st century’s battlefield – one that will become increasingly important.
What he finds frustrating is that businesses often think that hackers are motivated solely by greed. Motives are as diverse as human beings, and recent evidence suggests political motives are just as critical.
“Disrupting a business is an opportunity to disrupt our Western way of life,’’ Boisvert says, noting that Russian hackers are believed to go after credit card data not only for the money, but also to fight back at Western sanctions imposed on Russia because of events in Ukraine.
The corporate world (the financial sector being a notable exception) tends to view cybersecurity as a low-tier problem. “Something to delegate,’’ he notes. “There is definitely some hubris and self-denial.’’
Rather than pouring millions of dollars into bigger and better firewalls and more anti-virus software, Boisvert sees cybersecurity as a task for analytics that can help organizations tease out the proverbial signal from the massive internet “noise” around serious threats. The challenge is to identify the right threat vector related to the most valued elements an organization holds dear. The organization will only be successful if it has technology to quickly digest huge streams of data, in real time, so that it may begin to see patterns that can thwart further fraud.
Hear more on cybersecurity from Boisvert at his presentation, “The Threat Landscape: Cyber Tools and Methods Transforming the Business Environment,” at The Premier Business Leadership Series, Wednesday, Oct. 22, from 2:15 to 3 p.m.