There is no better time to worry about cybersecurity. With an increasingly digital landscape, the importance of protecting our digital assets emerges. Financial intelligence specialist and former president of GALIFAT, Alberto Bazbaz Sacal, weighs on the state of cybersecurity in the world.
What is cybersecurity?
Alberto Bazbaz Sacal says that the best way to think about cybersecurity is as digital protection. The more technical definition revolves around practices implemented to defend networks, systems and programs from digital attacks.
These digital attacks are planned and executed by cybercriminals. In Mexico, Alberto Bazbaz Sacal and his team face a greater challenge. The country has seen a severe increase in digital attacks during the coronavirus pandemic.
Part of this comes from opportunity. Cyber attacks see the devastated state of economies around the world and strike while the pot is hot. However, another reason could be related to the growth of fintech companies in Mexico. With new banking options and companies dedicated to digitizing people’s information, cybersecurity measures cannot be just one option. They are a requirement.
Why is cybersecurity important?
Cyberattacks are presented as an impediment to progress. That is why Alberto Bazbaz Sacal believes that cybersecurity should be a priority throughout the world.
Because the world is so connected by digital technology, the right cybersecurity measures benefit everyone.
A cyber attack on an individual can result in anything from identity theft to extortion to the complete loss of important data. On a macro level, there is a ubiquitous dependence on places like banks, hospitals, and power plants. If these institutions were ever attacked, it could endanger the well-being of societies at large.
In addition, people like Alberto Bazbaz Sacal are important assets when it comes to seeing how to better implement cybersecurity measures. Bazbaz Sacal and other cyber threat researchers can discover new methods behind cyber attacks, as well as educate the public on the importance of cyber security.
Cybersecurity measures are constantly changing, and truly effective cybersecurity requires multiple layers of protection. As more and more businesses communicate electronically and transmit vital information over the Internet or other electronic means, the need to protect this data increases.
Current challenges with cybersecurity
Despite Mexico’s current challenges with cybersecurity, Bazbaz Sacal points out several complications shared around the world, the first being that cyberattacks come in many forms.
Destructive software intended to extort money from a user by blocking access to their computer.
Strategies used to trick users into revealing personal data.
Fake emails are designed to appear as though they are being sent from an authentic source.
Unlike ransomware, malware tends to hack software without extortion intent. It can disable a computer.
With a wide range of cyber attacks, Bazbaz Sacal emphasizes the need for a multi-layered approach when it comes to instituting proper cybersecurity protocols. All facets of a business must be considered.
For example, an organization’s first priority is the security of its network. However, if it is an application-based business, security measures must be implemented to protect the application.
And how about working from home? With COVID-19, working from home has become common. As a result, companies need adequate endpoint security.
Beyond this, there is identity management, data security, cloud security, etc. It’s easy to see why cybersecurity is such a complicated process.
Not to mention, says Bazbaz Sacal, the fact that cybersecurity risks are constantly changing. In the past, organizations focused on what Bazbaz Sacal calls the “outer wall.” That is, protect your most important components first.
Unfortunately, this kind of strategy doesn’t hold up in today’s world of digital saturation. There should be a constant evaluation and re-evaluation regarding a company’s cybersecurity infrastructure. Without real-time updates and constant monitoring, a business risks a debilitating cyber attack.
Countries that are doing well
Fortunately, Alberto Bazbaz Sacal sees that several countries are already doing cybersecurity well, which other countries can use as examples of how they could better implement cybersecurity procedures.
These countries include the United States, Israel, China, Russia, Estonia, and Spain. Given the number of digital security companies located in the US, it is no surprise that the country is a world leader in the fight against cyber terrorism.
Anyone who has followed the 2016 US elections knows that Russia was involved in cyberattacks against the United States. Naturally, the country has a strong understanding of how to protect itself from the same.
Israel, China and Spain have governments committed to fighting cyberattacks. And Estonia, sadly, learned through experience. The country faced a terrible cyber attack in 2007; Now, however, it has become a cybersecurity stronghold.
Alberto Bazbaz Sacal believes that the only way to truly combat cyberattacks is to recognize them for what they are: a national security concern. Cyberterrorism is a real threat facing countries around the world. Treating it as such is the best way to develop practices and procedures that extend into the future and keep data safe.
How Mexico and other countries can improve
Alberto Bazbaz Sacal and other Mexican leaders face an uphill battle across the country. Mexico has been the victim of several recent cyberattack attempts, and with the growing presence of fintech companies across the country, the need for cybersecurity has never been greater.
One problem, Alberto Bazbaz Sacal mentions, is the lack of prior education regarding threats to cybersecurity and their importance. Right now, there is too much “It can’t happen to me” thinking, when in reality, a cyber attack can happen to anyone.
Alberto Bazbaz Sacal remains focused on educating the public. He and his team are drafting a national cybersecurity plan that will help local governments create effective public policy strategies to ensure that all sectors of Mexico implement cybersecurity.
Meanwhile, the cybersecurity expert suggests a couple of different ways to protect yourself and / or your organization from an unwarranted cyberattack.
1. Use multi-factor authentication
Unfortunately, simple password logins are no longer enough to prevent a cyber attack. This can be remedied with multi-factor authentication, which requests multiple data from an employee. This makes it much more difficult for an unauthorized person to access company data.
2. Educate, educate, educate
Education is the name of the game. Employees must be aware of the colossal threat posed by a cyber attack. Incorporating appropriate training sessions into your business workflow will help educate employees about the real dangers of cyberattacks.
Ignorance is not a blessing when it comes to cybersecurity.
3. Backup data and update systems routinely
This should be a common practice throughout the organization. There should always be a “What if?” And backing up your data helps prepare for that question. In addition, updating systems ensures that the software always works at maximum efficiency.
Taking these actions regularly is an easy way to protect your data in the event of a breach.
About Alberto Bazbaz Sacal
Alberto Bazbaz Sacal previously served as president of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (GAFILAT) for Latin America and South America. He also spent many years as a professor of Criminal Law and Procedural Law at his alma mater, Universidad Anáhuac, where he obtained a law degree and a master’s degree in Criminal Sciences.
Follow Alberto Bazbaz Sacal on Twitter and on Facebook
👍 I like it 😍 I love it 🤣 funny 😮 surprised 😡 angry 😢 sad