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Jen Q. Public: Uncovering cybersecurity threats with critical intelligence

Digital Marketing Lead, Public Services Sector, IBM Analytics

August 6, 2015, 7:09 p.m.

Dear diary,

The cyber threat harbinger reared its ugly head today—again. I lost half of my hair, and I know I lost my entire workday. You see, I went into the office today for meetings, which requires a one-hour drive in traffic. Silly me, I decided to skip lunch to do final prep work for my meeting, but that preparation never happened.

One of my coworkers, found a USB stick on his desk, and thinking that it was a gift, he immediately plugged it into his computer—bad idea. His action infected not only his computer system with a virus, but the entire network was contaminated as well. The company was left at a standstill across two continents as a result. And I was one hangry—hungry and angry—employee.

I can’t imagine the costs the company incurred in lost productivity alone. Add to that loss how foolish Jim, my coworker, must feel.

Cybersecurity threats today come at us from all sides, even wrapped in a pretty bow. I read the recent Focus article, “Internet Hackers Use Jane Austen to Spread Viruses.” It included a quote from the Cisco 2015 Midyear Security Report about how hackers use clever evasion techniques to hide cyber threats such as viruses in large passages of text. And they are even using segments from Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility (Military Library, London, 1811). Not Jane Austin! Just today there were even reports of a sophisticated cyber attack on the Pentagon which shut their email down for two weeks!

Uncovering cyber threats as early as possible is increasingly important to protect not just the enterprise, but also its customers and resources. Enhancing a cybersecurity strategy demands critical intelligence not just about the threat, but who is behind the threat and why. I’m now realizing just how valuable the upcoming IBM i2 Summit for a Safer Planet will be to me and all my colleagues. These very considerations are some of the topics covered in the planned presentations and hands-on labs at the event.

Now that we know threats can easily come in beautiful steed packages that are, to the contrary, dangerous beasts, I believe that after today my coworkers are likely going to be a little bit smarter about cybersecurity. At least Jim now has the September 1–2 dates for the IBM i2 Summit marked on his calendar.

Until next time,

Jen Q.