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We are living in a digital world. The digital world is characterized by big data, social media, mobile-gaming, Internet communication, cloud computing, and ultra-connectivity. As a result, we benefit immensely from various new tools and vast information flow, which were not available as recent as just 25 years ago. Regardless of which industry we serve and which capacity we hold, we are now working in the cyberspace. Cyberspace is changing the way we do business and every aspect of our lives. Living in this global network of computers also comes with new demands and challenges.
As data has become a new asset of the digital world, various incidents of cyber attacks and extortion attempting to take data as hostage have occurred. For example, when a company’s computer system is broken into, its access codes and passwords are then changed and its customers are locked out of its own system, and a ransom is demanded. This could be triggered by an insider (employee) or an outsider (hacker in any locale). Futher, a cyber thief could just simply steal the corporate secrets or confidential and proprietary information, and then demand a ransom.
Cyber attacks are and will continue to be a huge concern to U.S. corporations in the foreseeable future. It's a matter of when, not if. It is not industry-specific and every company will have to deal with this challenge. The earlier preparation is made, the better a company is positioned to fend off the attack. The most insidious nature of cyber attack is that it could happen with ease anywhere, anytime, without physical boundaries and across national borders.
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Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the July 2013 issue of SMT Magazine.