Cyberespionage should best be understood within the framework of conventional espionage. The growing connectedness of the world and an overall lag in the development of cybersecurity tools and tactics relative to cyber weapons has made the digital frontier the latest and greatest stage for state-affiliated groups to enhance their intelligence-gathering missions.
Personally and professionally, we’re all becoming increasingly dependent on the Internet for any number of routine activities be it paying rent, ordering takeout, or even finding a soulmate. Likewise, businesses are increasingly relying on technology and software-based solutions to store and manage their most sensitive information.
So how can you tell if you might be a victim of cyberespionage and what can you do to prevent it?
Am I a target?
In the 2017 Verizon DBIR, the data shows that the public, manufacturing, professional services, and education sectors are the top targets of cyberespionage. While you might not fall into one of those groups, what’s more important to understand is what entities in each of these sectors have in common that malicious foreign actors are after.
What do they want?
Personally identifiable information and access credentials have been and will remain prime targets for foriegn intelligence agencies. As our President, Tom Boyden explains, “There is still today a very active foreign intelligence presence in the United States targeting individuals with access to both government and private industry secrets.” If you or your organization possess trade secrets or valuable intellectual property, you might have something a foreign intelligence agency is interested in.
How can I be protected?
We firmly stand behind the findings in the 2017 DBIR that protecting your organization involves implementing and reaffirming many basic practices cybersecurity practitioners already encourage. As social engineering is a primary factor in cyber espionage, making sure that you regularly train your workforce in proper cyber hygiene will go a long way.
Wait, wait, wait! Spies, trade secrets and state-affiliated actors!? I think I need more than awareness training.
Fortunately, GRA Quantum’s team of experts has spent decades working on these issues at the highest levels of the government. We’ve developed a number of best practices and services that our customers have already used to combat these threats. We’d love to tell you more about these services and encourage you to reach out to learn more about how we can create a customized service package to suit your organization’s needs.