Any time we log in to socials, we should be cognizant of the information we're willing to reveal and how for-profit actors could use that personal data. Sharing our time, tastes, and feedback with online communities is what draws us to the apps, but it’s easy to “overspend” your seemingly limitless personal data in exchange for entertainment. The TikTok application is unlike its contemporaries because its information-gathering technology is steps ahead and much more powerful. That information is primarily used to tailor the user’s feed and promote engagement with targeted advertisements.
As clients begin to recognize and prepare against the threat of ransomware attacks, one tricky question keeps coming up. Is paying a ransom “illegal yet?”. No company is champing at the bit to make unplanned payments, especially not to potential terrorists on the OFAC list, but the legality of the matter depends on a few factors. *Please note that ProCircular does not provide legal advice, rather, we disseminate guidance from the top legal authorities.
As a cybersecurity professional and business owner, I keep a close eye on the everchanging recommendations surrounding ransomware attacks and incident management. I found the following document to be one of the more up-to-date (at least by government standards) and straightforward pieces available on the topic. Here's the short version:
“In the context of hostage-taking, for example, DOJ clarified in 2015 that it “has never used the material support statute to prosecute a hostage’s family or friends for paying a ransom for the safe return of their loved one.”67
Basically, there is a low likelihood of prosecution for making ransom payments, even when it is paid to a known threat actor on the OFAC denied persons list. I would only expect to see legal action taken if a very large company went through with the payment while it was expressly illegal. Even then, the punishment would be intended to make an example rather than punish the victim.
When Peter Drucker produced his seminal work, “What Makes an Effective Executive,” in the Harvard Business Review (Drucker, June, 2004), he may not have been writing with cybersecurity in mind. In fact, in 2004, the cybersecurity world had only begun to appear as the many-headed beast it’s become since then. Nonetheless, this text is an excellent guide for executives about incident response and breach management.
Technical Innovation Increases Cybersecurity Risk
New technologies help revolutionize all industries and the way they conduct business. Simultaneously, it increases blind spots that commonly open the door for exploitation by cybercriminals. As technical innovation rises exponentially, so too will the associated cybersecurity risk. New applications of AI are emerging on both the offensive and defensive side of the coin. AI can be trained to detect sophisticated threats and other anomalous activities, which help reduce the time from infection to detection; however, attackers will also continue to leverage this to their advantage. There are other examples: 5G, the continued fracturing of the xAAS into smaller and smaller constellations of services, and the embedding of increasingly complex technology into the human body. These innovations all create cybersecurity risks that will need to be addressed.
Zoom has been a big name in the headlines lately, mainly due to the world’s newfound dependence on, and perhaps obsession with, the platform. As global business is forced to move online, Zoom has become one of the most commonly chosen video conferencing platforms. It’s easy to use, simple to roll out, and the company has provided free and low-cost licenses to both public and private organizations.