News

25
Feb 2016

Cyber crime, and why you should act now to protect your customer data

Cyber crime, and why you should act now to protect your customer data

We live in a world where the threat of cyber attack is ever more real – and the business cost of these attacks is phenomenal.

Today’s businesses need robust security systems and controls in place to defend their customer records and sensitive information against data breaches and malicious attacks. What’s more, these systems must enable corporations to quickly detect – and act upon – any security threats that arise.

With organisations everywhere needing to take a critical look at the way they manage their data, we focus on the importance of government-grade encryption hardware, and why it’s the only option for businesses serious about avoiding the risks of cyber attack.

Data theft in the business world

Just this week, pub chain JD Wetherspoon became the latest British casualty of a significant cyber attack, after over 650,000 customer records were stolen by hackers. The Financial Times has evidence that these records have already been offered for sale on the dark web, where criminals trade stolen information. [1]

The recent hack on mobile phone provider TalkTalk cost the company an estimated £35 million. And that’s before you consider the irreparable damage to the business’s reputation. Shares immediately fell, as panicked customers – shocked at the loss of 157,000 confidential data records – fled to TalkTalk’s competitors. [2]

Similarly, the cyber attack on digital toymaker VTech Holdings exposed the data of 6.4 million children – a stark wake-up call for parents, that took high-profile cyber crime to a new low.

The true cost of data loss

The cost involved in notifying hundreds of thousands of customers that their personal data has been compromised is immense.

Suddenly, reviewing security measures to mitigate the risk of cyber attack has been bumped to the top of the agenda for company directors everywhere. A robust security strategy must be closely aligned to a company’s business objectives, and many corporations need a lot of work to get there.

It’s a big concern for the business world, though many senior executives lack a comprehensive understanding of the action they need to take to protect their valuable customer data. Is software encryption enough, or should you invest in hardware? As the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said in a recent speech to GCHQ employees, the cyber threat is developing, and we need to make sure our capabilities develop to match it.

Encryption: hardware versus software

With the threat of hacking and theft of data now ongoing challenges, software security applications and firewalls – however robust – is no longer enough to keep the cyber attackers at bay. Businesses that currently rely on COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) software solutions to protect their sensitive information and customer data need to review their security measures in the face of increasing risk to data networks. 

Commercial software encryption solutions are designed to work on general purpose processing platforms, leaving them open to inefficiency and vulnerability, and presenting a wide attack surface for hackers to infiltrate with bugs and malicious code.

Though these solutions can go some way to address phishing attempts and malware, they are far from robust enough to protect customer data against ever more sophisticated security threats.

While an effectual security strategy might involve a combination of software and hardware encryption – effectively double locking the doors to hacktivists and cyber criminals – hardware encryption is the best way to respond to growing challenges in the threat landscape.

Sophisticated hardware encryption devices reduce the attack surface and effectively protect classified information, providing an exceptional level of data confidentiality and integrity. They incorporate incredibly sophisticated algorithms that have been developed to protect Government top secret information.

Designed from the ground up to meet the most demanding specifications, these high-grade devices have built-in fault tolerance, and are designed to shut down elegantly and safely in the event of a data breach or malicious attack, making them completely useless to an adversary.

The risk of cyber attack may be on the increase, but sophisticated, robust encryption solutions are now widely available to help financial institutions and corporations stay one step ahead of the cyber threat. Isn’t it time your organisation became cyber safe?

About L-3 TRL

With more than 30 years of experience at the forefront of technological development,  L-3 TRL is an official supplier to Her Majesty’s Government, and part of the Cyber Growth Partnership (CGP). Our high-grade best-of-British hardware encryption products are accredited and approved by CESG, and hold a Queen’s Award for outstanding innovation.

For more information, visit www.l-3com.com/TRL

[1] http://bit.ly/1OSNBGR

[2] http://bit.ly/1OPICsr