Playing Defense on International Foes

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Topics: Cybersecurity

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is in full swing. Thirty one countries battle each other in soccer matches vying to win this important tournament.

This year, many have predicted that Brazil is the odds on favorite to win it all. You may be asking yourself, what does the World Cup have to do with technology? FIFA has instituted new technology for goal-line decisions to determine if the ball has crossed the line or not, but that is not what I am writing about today. What I’d like to bring to your attention is international security vulnerabilities with regard to technology and Internet attacks.

FBI cyber photo

Threats cross borders

When looking at technology and more specifically, IT security, it’s important to examine the global threats that are present around the world today. According to Government Technology magazine, China tops the list of countries launching the most online attacks at 41 percent and India ranks first when it comes to spamming at 9.3 percent.

If you think that your business is too small to be attacked, think again. According to the 2012 Data Breach Investigations Study by Verizon, 71 percent of attacks occurred in businesses with less than 100 employees! Kalki Consulting, a company that helps organizations identify and prevent security related risks, reports the number of attacks on small businesses is increasing and the level of unpreparedness in small businesses is an epidemic.

Any business that connects to the internet either with their website, smartphones or email, is vulnerable to a cyber attack from outside the country. It is important to manage your operations and if possible, limit the amount of communications with other countries if you do not directly do business outside the continental U.S.

Passport checking at the gate of your network

If you do business outside the country, GeoIP filtering is a possible solution. GeoIP technology allows businesses to restrict access based on geographical location. Many firewalls have the capability to implement GeoIP filtering as an additional measure to protect your network. The firewall can be setup to block countries or regions from accessing your network. For example, if a virus that came in through an email was programmed to communicate to a server in Russia, the virus would be unable to carry out its intent because its communication back to Russia would be blocked.

Of course GeoIP filtering does not solve all issues with viruses from outside of the U.S. Some viruses are written to springboard to and from other systems, many of which could already be in this country. However, it does reduce a portion of the risk for a high percentage of cyber attacks. GeoIP filter technology may not be a fit for organizations that do a great deal of international collaboration and business transactions, however; most small businesses will get value from filtering.

We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to international cyber vulnerabilities. Some websites may not respond to GeoIP filtering, or may contain an ad that can generate errors if they are on the blocked lists. If you have employees traveling abroad that need access to the network, arrangements will need to be made to implement exceptions.