It's not just foreign governments interfering with elections that we need to worry about - cyber interference can be used to destroy a reputation or cripple a business, and we need to know when it's happening to us.
Using the cyberworld to interfere with business processes to steal critical and valuable information, or denigrate a reputation, is now the largest criminal enterprise globally. State-sponsored cyber interference makes the headlines, but commercial cyber interference is a US$600 billion a year serious criminal business.
Cybercrime is serious business
Protected by states that have no laws against cybercrime and no extradition treaties with nations that do, allows professional cybercrime businesses to run just like legit ones in some parts of the world. Where they do, they can be an important contributor to the economy.
Their employees work normal business hours in smart office buildings in the nice part of town. They are paid up to 10x the average wage, have superannuation and health plans and even education plans for their kids. They pay taxes.
Every workday they spend their time identifying targets - planning hacks, attacks and exfiltrations - sitting inside victims networks monitoring activities and watching transactions - monitoring key staff, their family and friends on social media - looking for disgruntled staff, poor security practices and weaknesses in suppliers and partners. At the end of the day, they go home to their families in the suburbs.
Are you a target?
If your organisation is their target, they have time, lots of time, to work out the weaknesses in your security and the best time and way to attack you. Their playground is the internet, social media and the darkweb. Everything and anything that you, your staff, partners, customers or the media post is available for them to build a profile. Every hack, breach, backdoor or piece of stolen data from your organisation on the darkweb is available to them. They have the time and patience to do their research. Before they strike, they will probably know more about your organisation than you do! And they can repeat all this across thousands of targets simultaneously.
All of this is external to your organisation. Cyber interference is the single largest threat to the security of your business, intellectual property, reputation and financial stability.
Why? Because you have no control over what happens outside your infrastructure.
Can you do anything to mitigate the risk?
Yes! But first, you need to identify the risk.
Identifying the risk is discovering your exposed weaknesses on the internet and social media and inside the darkweb. This is where the activity that shows malicious intent against your organisation happens before an attack, hack or threat is initiated. This is where cyber interference is revealed. This is where it can be found and your risk mitigated.
Things you can do
Get an organisation cyber risk profile that covers the internet, social media and darkweb with a service such as Darkscope's Cyber Interference Risk Score.
Don't confuse this with a "cyber risk score" which is offered by many businesses. All cyber risk scores do the same thing - they benchmark your security (assess your ability to stand at attention at parade time!). Focusing on your security capability, as these risk assessments do, is looking the wrong way and won't find any real cyber risk. Although important, knowing how good your security is is not the same as knowing what your risks are.
Get a cyber risk assessment. Again, don't choose one that uses maturity-based or benchmark modelling, which only assesses the current state of your security. Find one, such as Darkscope's Cyber Risk Assessment, that looks beyond your organisation's defensive capability and actually finds risk.
Knowing your exposure lets you prepare your defenses, change your security, or warn customers, suppliers or partners when the threat involves them.
Finally - a definition: Cyber Interference
The use of the cyberworld to interfere in the business of an organisation by collecting and using data from the internet, social media and the darkweb to attack, infiltrate, manipulate, steal from, threaten or destroy the organisation, for gain.