How Traditional Training Is Weakening Businesses’ Cybersecurity

Businessman playing chess

Just a decade ago, cybersecurity was a relative myth to the public – something taken care of by any old antivirus and certainly nothing to worry about. But as the internet age gathered momentum, rolling like a freight train on an endless slope, things changed. Cyber attackers were not perceived as hoodie-wearing teens with abundant spare time anymore, but seen for what they are: organized, often well-funded groups – and a genuine menace to society.

The evolving threat landscape has changed the way cybersecurity is viewed by businesses, too. No longer should it be handled by a select few while other employees move irresponsibly through the digital world; instead, it is something of which every employee must be aware. But traditional training models, whereby swathes of employees travel to one-day events periodically, are expensive – and not very practical either.

Costlier again is neglect. Look no further than the fabled WannaCry cyberattack, which caused estimated worldwide financial losses of up to $4 billion, to see the damage a well-executed assault can inflict. But while devastating (this was the biggest cyberattack in history), WannaCry at least served a purpose: it was a global wake-up call.

Typically, attacks like WannaCry are the result of poor cyber awareness, initiated when the uninitiated click links in malicious emails or unwittingly download harmful files. As far back as 1999, when the simple Melissa virus caused $80 million in damages by infecting Microsoft Word documents, people have been inadvertently compromising networks and systems. In 2017, the Bad Rabbit malware that swept Russia and Ukraine was disguised as an Adobe Flash installer. When the innocent-looking file was opened, it began locking the infected computer – but this execution first required human interaction.

This shows that no matter how secure a business is, external attackers can force their way in through a single weakness. Consequentially, the biggest threat exists not outside the confines of an enterprise but within: its own people. Not because employees are nefarious (though that can of course be the case), but because 88% of data breaches are down to human error.


Better cyber awareness is key, but there are two glaring issues with providing training for every employee in an organization: time and money. These obstacles lead businesses to handpick those who will get the training they need (or the training it’s thought they need), leaving gaping security holes across the rest of the company. Easy pickings for an attacker with even modest social-engineering skills.

Solving this problem is not simple, but it can be done. Automated training that utilizes gamification can save companies huge amounts of money and time – especially if employees have 24/7 access to training that they genuinely enjoy. In 2012, for instance, US pharmacy Omnicare introduced gamification to its IT service desk and achieved a 100% participation rate, demonstrating the method’s effectiveness. It is especially useful for training non-specialist employees, who typically need more encouragement to engage with cybersecurity.

This type of innovative training also allows employees to learn at their own pace – something they can’t possibly do when crammed into some far-flung classroom and told to learn. The frequency (and intensity) of training required for general employees and those actively combating threats, for example CISOs and security analysts, will of course be different. But both will benefit more from access to relevant training than they will a policy in some long-forgotten employee handbook.

For the cyber experts, frequency of learning is hugely important. In anything, training must occur often to be effective, but cyber threats evolve so rapidly that combating them is impossible without constant evolution. That’s why automated, gamified solutions are so effective: employees can improve their skills on their own terms without disrupting company operations, which enables greater training frequency and, in turn, greater development. When considering that over half of all cyber experts feel their employers don’t provide sufficient training, an all-you-can-eat solution looks increasingly like the way forward.

Better still, such solutions are low-cost, low-investment. You will pay a one-off license fee for each employee, giving them everything they need to become cyber aware, without sacrificing huge amounts of time and money on quickly outdated training days.


High-powered panel to take call on opening traditional forest routes to Sabarimala

Sabarimala temple

Only after a detailed security review meeting will the state government take a decision on allowing pilgrims to trek Sabarimala through traditional forest paths of Erumely-Azhutha-Karimala and Kumili-Uppupara-Pulmedu, said top-level police officers.

Most likely the state police will oppose the opening of Kumili-Uppupara-Pulmedu route considering the volatile law and order situation in Sabarimala after Hindu outfits and the BJP have launched protest against the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of women in all ages to Sabarimala. Police officers said opening up of the two trekking routes to Sabarimala will further worsen the law and order situation.
“It’s a tough proposition to deploy police personnel along the two routes to ensure a tight law and order situation. We will also present a proposal before the high-power committee to not allow women pilgrims aged between 10 and 50 to trek through Erumely-Azhutha-Karimala and Kumili-Uppupara-Pulmedu routes,” a senior police officer said.

Erumeli Range Forest Officer Jayakumar N V said they have not yet received any official communication on the opening of routes. “The high-power committee meeting will only take a call on finalising the dates to open the forest trekking route,” he added. If the government decides to bring in restriction on pilgrim movement through the two routes during the annual pilgrimage season, it will evoke a wide-spread protests as large number of pilgrims from Tamil Nadu depend on these trek routes to visit the temple.
The traditional forest route of Erumely-Azhutha-Karimala covering a distance of about 30 km through Kallidamkunnu, Karimala and Valiyanavattom, is spread over Kottayam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts.

The trek through the Sathram-Pulmedu-Sannidhanam forest route will not be convenient for the pilgrims this season as authorities are yet to take a call on providing basic facilities, including potable water. The Pulmedu route is opted by a majority of pilgrims from neighbouring states as the alternative route via Vandipperiyar Sathram is a difficult path and has a heavy presence of wild animals.


British lawmakers want rules to protect traditional broadcasters from internet giants like Netflix

Streaming player menu screen featuring Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, Hulu, and Redbox Instant.

British lawmakers have called on the government to curb the “threat” of internet giants to the U.K.’s public service broadcasters (PSBs).

The Guardian newspaper published a letter Friday to Jeremy Wright, the U.K. minister for digital, culture, media and sport, in which a group of nine cross-party politicians warned that if action was not taken “the enormous power of the global internet giants is going to sweep traditional PSB television away.”

Public service broadcasting is made of up five core television channels in the U.K., including the BBC, and has been developed over several decades by the country’s parliament. BBC television is the only one of the five services funded entirely by British tax-payers.

The signatories of the letter accused internet giants like Netflix and Amazon of “finding ways to circumvent” rules introduced by the 2003 Communications Act, a law that sought to protect British PSBs. They argued that this was being done in various ways, including the building of smart TVs with a Netflix button and burying PSB programs in digital on-demand platforms.

“If we keep allowing them to be pushed out and viewers pushed towards global pay TV services, the PSBs will not be able to (sustained) and we will lose the content that has defined so much of this country for the best part of a century,” the letter said. “If the situation is bad now it will only get worse as new TV services are launched by other internet giants. We cannot afford a delay.

“We urge you: recognize the threat and help Ofcom to act to preserve our precious PSBs.”

Ofcom, Britain’s broadcasting regulator, closed a consultation on the matter of protecting the U.K.’s PSBs in October. It said that new legislation was needed if the U.K. Parliament wanted to keep PSBs easy to find amid the growth in internet television services.

The lawmakers behind the letter — which coincided with the birthdays of the BBC and Britain’s Channel 4 — called on him to give the matter parliamentary time, indicating that such legislation could be put on the agenda for debate.

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “Ofcom are due to report by 2020 on whether we need to strengthen linear prominence and whether we need to extend prominence to on-demand. If Ofcom makes clear that there is a problem that needs fixing with legislation, government will look at bringing that forward.”

Spokespersons for Netflix and Amazon were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.


Kavanaugh to skip traditional walk down Supreme Court steps over security concerns

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Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh will skip a traditional walk down the court’s front steps during a formal ceremony Thursday over security concerns.

New justices typically walk down the court steps with the chief justice after their formal investiture ceremony. Every new justice since John Paul Stevens, who joined the court in 1975, has done the walk, court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.

She said Kavanaugh’s skipping of the tradition is “out of an abundance of caution due to security concerns,” Bloomberg reported.

Kavanaugh was narrowly confirmed to the court by the Senate 50-48 last month. He faced stiff opposition from Democrats after several women accused him of sexual misconduct dating back to his high school and college days.

He has denied the claims. During his confirmation process, Kavanaugh, his wife, and accuser Christine Blasey Ford all received death threats.

Arberg declined to say whether President Trump will attend the ceremony, as he did last year for Justice Neil Gorsuch.


Rupapera hopes to maintain traditional teachers for others

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Playing a ‘kaitiaki’ role in handling dead whales when rescue efforts had failed, Harina Rupapera is taking her experiences into schools and communities with the hope this knowledge doesn’t fade away.

At Te Rangihakahaka School in Rotorua, it was the first-hand life experience they were taught in the presentation from Rupapera.

“There is nothing better than our traditional Māori knowledge of our ancestors,” she says.

In May this year, 12 sperm whales were found dead on Kaupokonui Beach in Taranaki, that’s when Rupapera began learning traditional methods of dealing with dead whales.

“I’m new in relation to these teachings but once I was exposed to the knowledge it has made be very fortunate and blessed,” she explains.

Since then, she has shared her experiences when schools and communities.

Arapeta Williams of Te Rangihakahaka says, “These are the teachings that have been given to us from the past however for many of us these would be new methods.”

“What I want to do is to showcase and share this traditional knowledge that I have been given to those that don’t have the opportunity to learn it,” says Rupapera.

She heads back to Taranaki this month to continue to showcase what she has learnt.