Gary Lyu, Director of the Cyber Security Program at Fortis College in Salt Lake City A report from Dell SonicWall recently outlined the top cyber security challenges for 2013. They include: 1. An increase in exploit kits; 2. Rising threats against mobile devices; and 3, More sophisticated threats. What are exploit kits? They’re groupings of malicious programs that target and attack specific systems by focusing on system or network vulnerabilities, then spreading malware at an alarming rate. Exploit kits are constantly active. According to Dell’s GRID (Global Response Intelligent Defense) system, an average of more than 44,000 new malware attacks were launched ever day this year. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) security creates a completely new set of business rules and compliance issues. The prevalence of social media for both personal and business use likely will lead to an increase in social media attacks against mobile devices. And, as users attach their personal devices to corporate networks, malware infection via social media is extremely likely. Cybercriminals also have moved from being reactionary to aggressively compromising computer systems by direct attack and holding systems hostage until a ransom is paid. These so-called “ransomware” attacks can cripple entire websites, databases and networks by embedding themselves deep inside operating systems. So, how do you protect yourself and your business? While there is no “perfect” protection, there are three key steps businesses should take to mitigate their risk. First, be aware of immediate and obvious dangers and show users how to identify fraudulent attacks. Second, upgrade firewall technologies to provide deeper inspection of data payloads, application intelligence, intrusion prevention and malware identification at wire speeds. Third, align the IT department with corporate leadership to prepare effective vulnerability assessment, incident response procedures and countermeasures (redundant networks/servers). In a world that’s become highly reliant on Internet technology, cybercrime is a growing problem. Successful companies need trained cyber specialists to safeguard them from attack. To learn more about our Associate Degree in Cyber Security program, visit www.fortis.edu.