See a condensed version of this article as it ran in The Hartford Courant. I also was interviewed on WFSB Channel 3’s Face the State about this topic in September 2020. When a city or company is hacked, its leaders usually don’t face the press. They hide behind a statement and news of the attack gradually emerges over days or weeks. They don’t want to field questions about what they would have, could have, should have done. Earlier in September 2020 when Hartford Public Schools canceled the first day of classes while the city recovered from a cyber attack, the mayor, school superintendent, police chief and head of IT for the city held a joint press conference. They confidently explained the situation and the city’s response. To those of us in the cybersecurity field, it was clear that the city had invested time and financial resources and was ready for this attack and that its leaders were following a response plan. It was very different from the scrambling we’re used to seeing, especially on the municipal level.
Last fall, I had the amazing experience of being interviewed by Chion Wolf—a familiar voice and personality to anyone who listens to WNPR—for the Connecticut Voice Podcast. The podcast highlights LGBT individuals from different areas of expertise across Connecticut and I was honored to be included. Our conversation touched on everything from coming out to helicopters, to cybersecurity—including my favorite interview question I’ve ever been asked comparing working in IT to being a pilot. Pride Month seemed like a good time to share some highlights from this interview, so below are two moments that stood out to me as well as the full audio recording.
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As businesses continue to struggle with the economic fallout of COVID-19, many leaders are looking for ways to reduce costs, including technology. When implemented strategically, technology is a business enabler—an investment, not an expense. However, it’s always good to eliminate inefficiencies or redundancies in the IT department whenever possible. I recently had the chance to contribute to a TechRepublic article called “CIOs: 8 ways to trim IT budgets”. My tip, which focuses on telecom costs, is number 6. Below is more detail on how companies can potentially find savings in the IT budget.
With so many businesses operating fully remotely, the ability to collaborate in the cloud has become essential. Hybrid cloud solutions give companies the flexibility to use the cloud in a way that best suits them. TechTarget recently interviewed me about how Amazon Web Services (AWS) fits into the hybrid cloud landscape. Thus far, AWS has not made a play to be a leader in hybrid cloud. But could that be part of a bigger strategy for the cloud computing giant?
Video chat meetings are now part of daily operations for so many businesses. When the coronavirus quarantine period started, video conferencing was a bit of a fun novelty. Colleagues who had never tried Zoom were now using it multiple times a day. Sadly, it didn’t take hackers long to realize they could exploit the popularity of video chat platforms to commit cybercrimes. Zoom in particular has experienced so many security issues that many organizations, including school districts in NYC, have banned it. While there are certainly more secure platforms, I use Zoom every day. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Kelser has advised our clients on how to use Zoom and set it up for them. Recently, I was a guest on FOX 61 Morning News to discuss cybersecurity best practices for Zoom.
During tax season, personal information is being exchanged at a much higher rate than any other time of year. Documents like W2s with Social Security numbers on them are just par for the course. It’s also a time of year when employers and employees engage in tax-related tasks that aren’t routine to them. There’s often a bit of chaos getting everything in order and even a bit of anxiety over doing it right. For hackers and scammers who rely on human error and deception, all of this combines to create ideal conditions. I was recently on FOX61 Morning news to offer tips to viewers to avoid tax season scams.
The world learned last week that the information of over 10 million hotel guests at MGM Resorts was obtained by hackers. The data breach is the result of a security incident that occurred last year, but the data was being shared in hacker circles recently and discovered and verified by ZDnet. Most of the data is limited to hotel stay info, addresses, and phone numbers dating back to 2017 and earlier. Since Kelser is a trusted, local managed service and cybersecurity provider, FOX61 News had Kelser CTO Jonathan Stone on following the breach to discuss what hackers can do with this type of apparently harmless information.
The latest issue of Corporate & Incentive Travel Magazine tells the story of how I was at a conference—a cybersecurity conference of all things!—and it provided an unsecure general access wireless network. There was no preregistration for this network and the password was distributed freely to attendees. Most attendees wound up using the hotspots on their phones. Many conferences and events of all types have inadequate cybersecurity protections in place. The Wi-Fi networks offered at these events may seem more secure than public Wi-Fi, but in most cases, they are not. In fact, they could be more dangerous to use because hackers interested in a particular type of data can target the network of a specifically relevant conference (rather than the general network of a coffee shop, for instance).