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New England News

Cybersecurity Forum Reviews Business and Government Response To Hacking

From left: Jonathan Rajewski, Devi Momot, Vermont Assistant Attorney General Ryan Kriger, JayKramer, Paul Konschak
Pat Bradley/WAMC
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From left: Jonathan Rajewski, Devi Momot, Vermont Assistant Attorney General Ryan Kriger, JayKramer, Paul Konschak

Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont is home to the Leahy Center for Digital Investigation.  The state-of-the-art lab allows students to assist in computer forensics and digital investigations in the public and private sectors.  The facilities recently hosted a cybersecurity forum for businesses and non-profits to help them understand digital threats.
Your business has been hacked and critical information has been compromised.  What should you do?  Jonathan Rajewski, the director of the Leahy Center for Digital Investigation, presented that scenario to forum participants:   “Your most trusted confidant at work just called you and said you are in the middle of a data breach. What are you thinking?  Do you have a team in place?  Do you have the resources, capabilities, escalation points? Do you know who to call at the federal government or local government to help?”

FBI Cyber Division Management and Program Analyst Paul Konschak noted that the largest percentage of the cyber infrastructure is owned by the private sector and response to any IT intrusion often starts with small business.  “One of our units is the Internet Crime Complaint Center. The primary role of IC3 is to provide a mechanism for reporting a cyber incidence to the FBI by the general public. You may have that last piece that we’re looking for in an active investigation that would actually help us identify someone who is causing that activity. Converse to that you may have the beginning. There may be some new malware, new ransomware out there that we hadn’t seen before. One of the jobs of the IC3 is to collate all of that reporting.”

Hacking is occurring and affecting small and medium businesses, yet Twinstate Technologies CEO Devi Momot finds most companies are reluctant to report cyber intrusions.  The technology consultant finds smaller companies often neglect potential ransomware, malware and other cyber crime despite the looming threats.   “Most likely they’re busy doing their day job and this isn’t going to be a priority. You know let’s say that you’re a 6 person hardware shop.  You’re busy every day taking care of customers, taking care of your health plans, taking care of the hardware suppliers. The priority for a small business is whatever that small business does.  Typically they’ll need a little bit of guidance from somebody in a consultative role to help.  And small and medium business are one of the biggest targets.”

FBI Cyber Division Supervisory Special Agent Jay Kramer reviewed the National Cyber Incident Response Plan, a federal effort to prepare agencies for significant cyber incidents.  He told forum attendees that cyber attacks are crimes of opportunity that can be defended.  “Take the easy things off the table.  Strong passwords with multiple characters and a longer password. Dual factor authentication. And if you do those simple things you’re going to take most of the threat arena off the table.  Now if you have a very sophisticated adversary, very difficult to defend. But most of us aren’t in that situation unless you make a specialty product.  But for most firms you want to take the easy things off the table. Very effective for let’s say 90 plus percent of the threats we’re looking at.”

To report suspicious cyber activity, contact your local FBI field office and ask for a cyber supervisor.  You can also contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center