Almost two years ago, the European Union signed the General Data Protection Regulation (better known as the GDPR) into law, allowing for a 24 month period before the regulation would become binding to allow organisations and businesses time to comply with its requirements. At the time of writing, the GDPR will come into force in just eight days, a thought which may strike fear into the hearts of many business owners who are not going to be fully compliant by the deadline. So what exactly is going to happen, come Friday the 25th of May? We’ve taken the time to compile some information and predictions to help cut through the noise and focus on what’s important.
We’ve all seen the headlines when a large multi-national corporation suffers a data breach, but are small businesses able to ‘fly under the radar’ for cyber crime? Well, according to Verizon’s annual data breach incident report, the opposite may be the case. While large organisations make headlines, the report found that 58% of data breaches actually occurred in small and medium-sized companies.
“Many small businesses don’t have the resources focused on security and training, and employees are not cognizant of being at risk,” according to the Vice President of Experian Data Breach Resolution, Michael Bruemmer. “Some of these businesses, especially startups, may have no or small revenue, but they may be processing credit cards or holding personal data for other companies, and they don’t realize they have to protect it.”
Half of all cyber attacks are currently believed to target small businesses (Source: Verizon Annual Data Breach Report)
In a worrying new cyber threat trend, the record for largest DDoS (Distributed Denial of Services) attack has been broken, not once, but twice, over the past week. A DDoS attack, in essence, is an attempt to make an online service (such as your business’s website) unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from various sources. Last week, the coding repository GitHub was briefly taken offline in a 1.3 Terrabits-per-second DDoS attack. This wasn’t entirely unsurprising, as DDoS attacks have been steadily building throughout 2018, but March has definitely been the worst month so far. Now, an unnamed US service provider has reported experiencing an even larger DDoS attack, which hit 1.7 Terrabits-per-second, only a few days after the previous record had been broken. This could pose a significant threat for many businesses that operate memcached database servers, which typically have high-bandwidth access and can be badly impacted by DDoS attacks.
At 1.7 Terrabits-per-second, the unnamed US service provider experienced the largest DDoS attack to date. These attacks are expected to increase in size and frequency going forward.
Trend Micro, one of the largest cyber security firms in the world, has released their annual security roundup report, and the results show some alarming trends. With the GDPR upcoming, cyber criminals have been refining their techniques in order to increase their financial gains, moving away from exploit kits which can be an unpredictable earner, to more reliable tactics such as business email compromise, phishing and spam, ransomware, and the relatively new threat to businesses, malicious crypto-currency mining.
Exploits kits are down, but 2017 saw over 300 new ransomware families, in addition to a rise in business email compromise scams and the all-new malicious crypto-mining threat.
The European Commission has published additional guidance on the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation and how it is expected to affect businesses. The document aims to summarise the purpose and benefits of the GDPR, while also outlining steps that organisations need to take in preparation for the regulation and discussing the steps that the Commission plans to take in the coming months. The European Commission has also taken this opportunity to launch a new online tool to help businesses (particularly small and medium-sized enterprises) meet GDPR compliance in time for the May 25th deadline.