When Kurt Jensen was laid off from his technology sector job supporting local Department of Defense companies, he did the same thing a lot of the other hundreds of laid-off technology workers in Colorado Springs did. He became a consultant, with his own company.
The company is called Ingenuity Source, LLC. His specialty: educating companies on ways to protect their computer data. That information is critical, especially when business survivability depends on data stored on a company’s servers, Jensen said.
“Last year’s statistics alone show that over 140 new reported computer crimes occur every day,” Jensen said. “This includes computer-based fraud, theft, extortion, espionage, and virus releases.”
Jensen emphasizes he sells no software or hardware, but that he offers suggestions where appropriate.
“If used appropriately, a good cyber defense strategy can provide you with the assurance your networks and information are far less likely to be compromised by an attacker or intruder,” added Jensen. “It (protecting computers) can easily make the difference between success and failure.”
When people read about hackers, they believe it could only happen to the “other guy.” But that’s not so, said Jensen.
“Nuisance hacking has become prevalent today, and the average successful intruder only needs three minutes to get past your firewall or server,” Jensen warned. “They do things like break in through weaknesses in firewalls or software, steal passwords and take control of your computers.”
Computer thieves don’t want your computers, they want the data inside, Jensen said.
“These criminals want your business profile, your client base, your money, your databases, your medical records, health history, employee records,” Jensen said. “Identity theft has increased 50 percent lately.”
The stolen information is then sold via the Internet, and before long you might find products or services charged to your business credit card, and your competitors might have your customer list, or trade secrets, said Jensen.
The Business Journal contacted the Computer Security Institute in San Francisco to see what it knew about Internet crime.
CSI said a survey of over 500 computer security practitioners in the U.S. indicates that 90 percent of large business respondents reported a computer breach in the past year, and that 80 percent experienced financial losses as a result.
For the fifth year in a row, said CSI, 74 percent of its respondents cited their Internet connection as the most frequent point of attack.
Not all the cyber terrorists lurk on the Internet, Jensen said. All it takes is a disgruntled employee. In one example, he said, a disgruntled network administrator came in one weekend and encrypted his employer’s computer data. The business was gone in six months, he added.
That shows how important off-premises storage of current backups are to business survivability.
However, there are ways to fight back, Jensen said, and shared some practical advice with the Business Journal:
1. Use software-based Internet firewall packages for each computer accessing the Internet.
2. Update software with current patches and updates from vendors as soon as they’re available.
3. Keep antivirus software updated, and make sure it scans all emails and files on your system.
4. Make sure your operating system (UNIX, Windows, etc.) includes file security.
5. Use strong or complex passwords. Do not use nicknames. Change passwords often.
But first, said Jensen, have your system evaluated by a professional. “We offer a limited free consultation program, subject to time and availability; please contact us or check the website for details.”
Jensen can be reached at Ingenuity Source, LLC., at 719/226-7995, or at their website www.ingenuitysource.com.