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Focus, preparation key in combating cyber threats

Focus, preparation key in combating cyber threats

Organizations must be focused and prepared to handle cyber threats, a panel of experts said Friday.

The panel made their observations during a session at Business Insurance’s Cyber Summit in New York, and they made reference to such incidents as the WannaCry ransomware attack in May, the February Amazon cloud-computing division outage, and the 2016 Dyn denial of service attack.

Jay Kramer, a partner in the New York office of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith L.L.P., said there is a great deal of confusion surrounding cyber attacks.

“There’s so much swirling in the media,” said Mr. Kramer, a founding member of the FBI Cyber Law Unit. “It’s not the fog of war, it’s 'the fog of more' that's been used to describe cyber. There’s so much out there and it’s hard to get your head around the landscape. There’s a constant shift to the brightest, shiniest item.”

Mr. Kramer cited the Center for Internet Security Critical Security Controls for Effective Cyber Defense, a publication of best practice guidelines for computer security, which consists of 20 actions or security controls that organizations can take to block or mitigate known attacks.

The publication covers such topics as inventory of authorized and unauthorized devices and software, and continuous assessments and remediation of vulnerabilities.

“You could look back and compare almost any incident,” Mr. Kramer said, “to a deficit or some shortcoming in one of these controls.”

Mr. Kramer noted the importance of patching in combatting cyber attacks, and said patches were an issue in the June Petya attack that began in Ukraine and affected companies in dozens of countries.

“There were patches that were pushed out in March on Petya,” Mr. Kramer said, “and most weren’t implemented until much later. So, when you get annoyed on your network when it says patches available, you really do have to do that right away. It’s a challenge to decide how not to interfere with business yet to be aggressive with patching.”

Michael McGlone, New York-area based underwriting specialist, cyber insurance, for Liberty International Underwriters, said organizations should seek to work with knowledgeable brokers.

“Jay asked me what qualities I would like to see if I were an applicant going to purchase cyber insurance,” Mr. McGlone said. “And the first thing I said is ‘Is that broker dabbling or do they really have knowledge of cyber?’ It’s a new area and it’s really technical. You want the best coverage for the amount of money that you’re paying for the policy.” 



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