Protecting Small Businesses from the Growing Threat of Social Media Cyber Attacks

In today’s digital age, the power of social media is undeniable. It connects businesses with their customers, drives marketing efforts, and boosts brand visibility.  

However, as the influence of social media grows, so does the threat of cyber-attacks. Small businesses, in particular, find themselves vulnerable to these attacks, with limited resources and support. We have recently helped multiple Hampton Roads Businesses recover from Social Media Attacks and here is what we have learned. 

  • In 2023, 25% of Facebook accounts were hijacked, while the hacking percentage of Instagram accounts reached 85%.
  • Facebook accounts are the most compromised account types in the United States, reaching around 67,941 every month.
  • Around 64% of data breaches that occur in smartphones are for financial reasons.

The Problem Areas

Social media cyber-attacks are a rapidly growing menace, targeting small businesses with alarming frequency. These attacks take various forms, from phishing attempts to account takeovers and impersonations.

  1. Phishing Attacks: Cybercriminals often use deceptive emails or messages that appear legitimate to trick employees into revealing sensitive information or login credentials.
  2. Account Takeovers: Once hackers gain access to a business’s social media accounts, they can wreak havoc by posting damaging content or hijacking communication with customers.
  3. Impersonations: Perpetrators impersonate your brand, potentially causing confusion among your audience or even committing fraud in your name.

Negative Impacts

The consequences of social media cyber attacks on small businesses are far-reaching and detrimental. Here’s what can happen:

  1. Financial Losses: Cleaning up the mess left behind by cybercriminals can be expensive. Moreover, the loss of customer trust can lead to a decline in sales.
  2. Brand Reputation Damage: Cyber attacks can tarnish your brand’s reputation and erode the trust you’ve built with your audience over time.
  3. Lost Time and Downtime: As you scramble to respond to an attack, your business can experience significant downtime, impacting productivity and profits.

What Small Businesses Can Do

The good news is that there are proactive steps small businesses can take to protect themselves from social media cyber attacks:

  1. Strong Cybersecurity Measures: Invest in robust cybersecurity tools and practices, including secure password management, multi-factor authentication, and regular software updates.
  2. Employee Training: Educate your team about the risks of social media cyber attacks and how to identify potential threats. Ensure they understand the importance of not clicking on suspicious links or sharing sensitive information.
  3. Monitor Social Media Accounts: Regularly monitor your social media accounts for unusual activity. Quick detection can help mitigate the damage.

How Valor Cybersecurity Helps Our Community

At Valor Cybersecurity, we understand the unique challenges small businesses face in today’s digital landscape. We’re here to provide expert guidance and support:

  1. Expertise in Digital Account Management: Our team specializes in digital security, ensuring that your business is up to speed with best practices.
  2. Cybersecurity Solutions: Valor offers a range of cybersecurity solutions tailored to the needs of small businesses. From training and awareness to account monitoring, we’ve got you covered.
  3. Incident Response: In the unfortunate event of a social media cyber-attack, Valor Cybersecurity can swiftly respond to contain the threat, minimize damage, and help you recover. We are dedicated to protecting your business in the face of evolving cyber threats, ensuring that your brand remains secure and resilient.

Overall, social media cyber attacks pose a real and growing threat to small businesses, and the lack of support from social media giants like Meta (formerly Facebook) can leave business owners feeling vulnerable. However, by taking proactive steps to protect your brand and partnering with experts like Valor Cybersecurity, you can defend your business against these threats and safeguard your reputation and financial stability.

Don’t wait until an attack occurs; act now to fortify your defenses and ensure that your small business remains resilient in the face of evolving cyber threats.

Reach out to Valor Cybersecurity today, and let us be your trusted partner in the battle against social media cyber-attacks. Your business’s future depends on it.

Author(s): Greg Tomchick 

If you are interested in determining if your business is at risk, schedule an expert assessment here.

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The Silent Front: How the Israel-Hamas Conflict Exposes Risks in the U.S. Defense and Technology Supply Chain

On October 7th, 2023, at 6:30 a.m., Hamas launched rockets into Israel, breaking through the Gaza barrier to attack major cities.

On October 7th, 2023, at 6:30 a.m., Hamas launched rockets into Israel, breaking through the Gaza barrier to attack major cities. The physical impact was immediate and devastating. However, the digital landscape was also a battlefield, one that holds particular significance for U.S. defense and technology companies tied into global supply chains.

Hours before the rockets hit, the Jerusalem Post reported experiencing a cyber-attack. Soon after, Israel’s energy grid and critical infrastructure were also targeted. These digital strikes had ripple effects, compromising companies responsible for the security and monitoring of not only Israeli assets but global ones.

The Digital Battlefield: A Timeline

The Israel-Hamas conflict has been a crucible for escalating cyber activities, pulling in various state-sponsored actors and hacktivist groups. Here’s an expanded timeline of cyber events:

October 7th, 2023: Initial Attacks

  • 6:30 a.m.: Hamas launches rockets at Israel.
  • Less than 1 hour after the initial attack: Anonymous Sudan targets Israel’s emergency warning systems and claims to have disrupted alerting applications.
  • Same Day: Jerusalem Post targeted by Anonymous Sudan.

Intensification and Escalation

  • Pro-Hamas group Cyber Av3ngers: Targets Israel Independent System Operator (Noga), shutting down its website and compromising its network. Also targets Israel Electric Corporation and a power plant.
  • Pro-Russian group Killnet: Launches cyber-attacks against Israeli government websites.
  • Ghosts of Palestine: Calls for global hacker participation to attack infrastructure in Israel and the U.S.
  • Libyan Ghosts: Begins defacing small Israeli websites in support of Hamas.

Types of Attacks

  • Majority of the attacks are Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS), aimed to disrupt and disable services. Some groups, like Killnet and Anonymous Sudan, have previously engaged in highly disruptive attacks against major companies like Microsoft and Telegram.


  • ThreatSec: A pro-Israel group claims to have compromised the infrastructure of Gaza-based ISP AlfaNet.
  • Hacktivists from India: Attack Palestinian government websites.
  • Garuna and TeamHDP: Announce support for Israel and target Hamas and the Islamic University of Gaza.

Industry Reports

  • Microsoft: Reports activity from Gaza-based group Storm-1133 targeted at Israeli organizations in defense, energy, and telecommunications sectors. The group is believed to be aligned with Hamas.

For Business Executives: Tips to Remain Vigilant

  • Conduct a Rapid Third-Party Risk Assessment
  • Monitor Systems for Suspicious Activities
  • Change Passwords for Email and Other Critical Systems
  • Test Systems for Known Vulnerabilities

The Israel-Hamas war is a chilling reminder that physical conflicts are increasingly accompanied by digital ones. For business executives in the U.S. defense and technology sectors, safeguarding against these silent yet destructive battles are no longer optional—it’s a necessity.

Author(s): Greg Tomchick 

If you are interested in determining if your business is at risk, schedule an expert assessment here.

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Safeguarding Your Business In An Economic Downturn: Cutting Through The Complexity and Saving with Peace Of Mind

The impending economic downturn is casting a shadow of uncertainty over businesses everywhere.

Now, more than ever, making informed and strategic decisions is essential to weather the storm. In the maze of IT and cybersecurity, many companies feel lost, burdened by complexity, and overwhelmed by costs. Valor Cybersecurity’s FREE cybersecurity assessment is here to bring clarity and cost-saving solutions, allowing businesses to face the challenges ahead with calm assurance.

The Economic Challenge and Your Cybersecurity Response

An economic downturn is a time of both risk and opportunity. The risks to your business’s data and systems grow as budgets tighten, but the opportunity lies in cutting through the complexity of cybersecurity to save money without compromising safety.

Valor Cybersecurity’s FREE assessment is designed to identify where your business may be overspending and help you understand what’s truly needed to protect your business. Our tailored approach takes into consideration your unique needs and goals, ensuring that you can navigate the economic challenges with confidence.

Making Sense of Cybersecurity with Valor Cybersecurity

The world of IT and cybersecurity can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Our FREE assessment is more than just an examination of your systems; it’s a complete guide to understanding how you can make strategic decisions that align with your budget and business objectives.

We’ll help you cut through the noise, providing actionable insights and recommendations that make sense for your business. Whether it’s identifying redundant tools, optimizing current solutions, or implementing new cost-effective measures, we ensure that you’re spending wisely without sacrificing security.

Real-Life Examples of Cutting Costs and Enhancing Security

Success in cybersecurity doesn’t have to be expensive. We’ve helped numerous businesses rationalize their security needs, often saving them significant amounts on their IT and security budgets. From small businesses to large corporations, our FREE assessment has guided many to make smarter decisions that align with their financial goals.

In this section, we’ll share some success stories that demonstrate how our clients have achieved peace of mind through our tailored approach, even during tough economic times.

Embracing the Future with Confidence

As we face economic uncertainty, it’s more crucial than ever to invest wisely and strategically in the areas that matter most. With Valor Cybersecurity, you’re not just getting a service; you’re gaining a partner dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of cybersecurity.

Our FREE cybersecurity assessment offers the insights, guidance, and peace of mind you need to move forward with confidence. We’re committed to helping you understand what’s actually needed to protect your business and often save money on your IT and security costs.

The coming economic recession doesn’t have to spell disaster for your business. With Valor Cybersecurity’s FREE cybersecurity assessment, you have the tools, insights, and expertise to safeguard your business without overspending.

The future may seem fraught with financial challenges, but it need not be a time of fear or uncertainty for your business. Valor Cybersecurity’s FREE cybersecurity assessment is your compass in the chaos, guiding you to rationalize your IT and security costs without compromising on essential protection. Let us help you turn potential threats into opportunities for growth and resilience. Embrace the coming economic changes with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your business is secure and your investments are sound. Contact Valor Cybersecurity today, and let us be your partner in safeguarding your future.

Author(s): Greg Tomchick 

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SPRS Score Calculation Guide: Essential Steps for Defense Contractor Executives to Assess Supplier Performance Risk

Defense contractors often deal with Classified and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) which is vital information that should be protected from access by unauthorized parties to safeguard the United States’ interests in national security.

The U.S. government has recognized this need, leading to the standardized Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) program implemented by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in 2010. NARA’s responsibilities include defining CUI categories, maintaining a CUI registry, establishing handling procedures, providing training, and overseeing compliance.

Government data breaches can have significant consequences such as compromised national security, privacy violations, loss of public trust, financial loss, and operational disruptions. To mitigate these risks, robust cybersecurity practices are necessary, including risk assessment, training, access controls, encryption, incident response planning, continuous monitoring, and transparent communication.

Supplier Performance Risk Scoring (SPRS) is interconnected with cybersecurity. It involves assessing suppliers on their financial stability, reputation, past performance, security practices, and compliance. Cybersecurity considerations include threat detection, data protection, employee training, and incident response planning.

The number 110 in SPRS for the DoD Self-Assessment according to NIST 800-171 and 171A relates to a company processing CUI and contracting with the DoD. This score indicates the overall cybersecurity stance and is calculated based on 110 evaluation topics, including 42 controls worth 5 points, 14 controls worth 3 points, and 54 controls worth 1 point. A System Security Plan (SSP) is required, and points are deducted for each unmet control, with a minimum possible score of -203.

The detailed evaluation ensures that the company adheres to security standards such as FAR 52.204.21 and various levels of Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). The resulting score reflects the organization’s overall cybersecurity risk and compliance and must be reported to the DoD as part of contractual obligations.

In conclusion, Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) plays a crucial role in safeguarding sensitive but unclassified data within government and other organizations. The implementation of a standardized CUI program, such as the one established by the U.S. government, ensures consistent protection and handling of this valuable information, reducing the risk of unauthorized access, dissemination, or use.

However, despite the robust security measures put in place, security breaches remain a persistent challenge. Cyber threats continue to evolve, and even the most secure systems are not immune to potential vulnerabilities. Therefore, it is essential for organizations to remain vigilant and continuously update their cybersecurity practices to address emerging threats.

In response to security breaches, proactive incident response plans, timely reporting, and swift remediation are vital. Learning from such incidents can lead to the implementation of stronger security measures and further enhance the protection of CUI and other sensitive information.

Ultimately, safeguarding CUI and preventing security breaches demand a collaborative effort involving technology, personnel training, policy enforcement, and ongoing risk assessments. By prioritizing information security and diligently adhering to best practices, organizations can better protect CUI and preserve the integrity of their operations in an increasingly complex digital landscape.

Don’t feel ready for these changes? Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

Getting your organization fully prepared for CMMC requirements could take up to 12 months. But what would you say if you could identify relevant cybersecurity threats and gaps in requirements, on your own time and at your own pace? You’re in luck because we’ve done just that!

The team at Valor Cybersecurity is pleased to offer our FREE Cybersecurity Readiness Assessment, for a limited time. As a bonus for taking our assessment, we will provide you with recommended guidance for better protecting your business and a 30-minute consultation with our team of experts!

Whether the Valor Team can help you now or in the future, we remain poised to support your business’ success and protection.

Access our FREE ‘Cybersecurity For Defense Contractors‘ E-Book.

Author(s)Greg Tomchick and Valor Experts

Invest In What Matters: Rationalizing IT and Security Costs Before The Economic Downturn

As economic experts predict a looming recession, businesses across the globe must prepare to navigate the financial uncertainties that lie ahead.

Smart investments in IT and cybersecurity are critical to maintain operations, safeguard valuable data, and continue to thrive in a competitive marketplace. In times like these, understanding where to spend—and where to save—can make all the difference. Valor Cybersecurity’s FREE cybersecurity assessment comes at the perfect moment, offering a tailored approach to help businesses identify their true security needs without overspending.

Valor Cybersecurity’s Free Assessment: The Tool You Need Now

When budgets tighten, every dollar counts. Unfortunately, the complex landscape of IT and security often leads to overspending on unnecessary or redundant solutions. With Valor Cybersecurity’s FREE assessment, businesses can cut through this complexity, understanding exactly what they need, without waste.

Our tailored approach evaluates your current setup, identifies potential risks, and pinpoints exactly where your spending could be optimized. We delve into your unique environment, studying every detail to provide actionable insights. With our guidance, you’re not just spending less; you’re spending smarter, on the technology and protection measures that align with your unique business goals.

Tips and Insights for Strategic Security Investment

Investing wisely during economic challenges doesn’t mean cutting corners on security. It means making strategic decisions that reflect the real needs of your organization. Here are some insights from our experts at Valor Cybersecurity to help guide your spending:

  • Understand Your Risk Profile: Different businesses face different risks. Knowing yours helps you allocate resources effectively. This includes a deep analysis of potential threats and vulnerabilities tailored to your industry.
  • Align Security with Business Goals: Your security measures should support your business objectives, not hinder them. Implement solutions that boost productivity and align with your mission.
  • Embrace Efficiency: Technology that integrates smoothly and offers multifunctional benefits often provides the best value. Consider solutions that can adapt as your business grows.
  • Consider Long-Term Impact: Think beyond immediate costs and consider the long-term benefits and scalability of your technology and security investments. What works today should also be a part of your future roadmap.

The Valor Cybersecurity Difference

At Valor Cybersecurity, we understand that every business is unique. That’s why our FREE assessment is more than just a cursory overview. We dive deep, providing a thorough analysis that takes into consideration your business size, industry, and specific goals.

Our team of seasoned experts is dedicated to helping you navigate these uncertain economic times by focusing on what’s truly essential for your business. We’re not just another cybersecurity company; we’re your partner in building a resilient and cost-effective security strategy.

Facing an economic downturn doesn’t mean you have to compromise on security or overspend on IT. It means investing in what truly matters for your business. Valor Cybersecurity’s FREE cybersecurity assessment is designed to help you do just that.

In a time when every dollar must be spent wisely, we’re here to guide you through the complexities of IT and security, ensuring you invest in the solutions that make sense for your business. Schedule your free assessment with Valor Cybersecurity today, and take the first step towards a secure and financially resilient future.

Whether the Valor Team can help you now or in the future, we remain poised to support your business’ success and protection.

Author(s): Greg Tomchick 

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The State of Cybersecurity for Defense Contractors in 2023

Defense contractors often deal with Classified and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) which is vital information that should be protected from access by unauthorized parties to safeguard the United States’ interests in national security.

Because the disclosure of said information has a high potential to put the nation’s security at risk, it is critical that defense contractors follow the highest of standards in defending it against cyber-threats. Having a strong cyber defense is more important than ever today, as attackers are constantly exploring newer, faster, and cheaper ways to exploit cyber vulnerabilities within the Defense Sector. There are various trends within this field occurring right now that are changing the very nature of cyber warfare. The cyber landscape has never experienced change as fast as it is today, which is why learning about the newest threats and vulnerabilities is a sure way to ensure your business is prepared for the worst…

This article will introduce you to some current important trends within the cyber landscape that are especially prevalent within the Defense Sector and provide recommendations that your business can employ to be equipped to efficiently secure restricted information and continue to win contracts with the government. 

Current Direction

We have entered the “Machine vs. machine era.” What does that mean exactly? Obviously, AI in its youth has already rapidly changed the fabric of how people do things and has no signs of slowing down. Similar to the way everyday people use AI as a tool to quickly perform tasks like research and generating quick solutions, cyber attackers are using it to develop better methods of exploiting businesses’ data and sensitive information. Think about it… the number of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices is increasing rapidly and constantly, which results in the amount of data produced also increasing rapidly and constantly. It’s at the point where it impossible for humans to analyze all of this data without the assistance of technology. Enter AI. 

Unfortunately, the benefits of AI are just as appealing to attackers as they are to the good guys. Attackers use machine learning models to create malicious code that can be spread throughout various enterprises. In addition, they also create more realistic phishing schemes by using AI to construct highly professional emails that are seemingly authentic and harmless. These are just a couple examples of the wide range of methods that AI can be weaponized. 

Fortunately, it can be argued (at least right now) that the pros of AI outweigh the cons with regards to cybersecurity for defense contractors. Businesses can employ machine learning models to essentially do the job of cybersecurity analysts that work to prevent and detect cyber risks and attacks. Because AI does not get tired, it can be used to continuously monitor a business’s IT infrastructure and recognize patterns of fraudulent activity both externally and internally. For example, AI has the capability to point out malicious code, phishing attempts, and other threats by comparing it to vast amounts of data and accounts of past cyber events. It can also detect when an employee is not following best practices like setting weak passwords and using unprotected networks. The approach of spotting external threats and alerting management of internal weak points are what makes AI very attractive. Defense contractors who are responsible for the protection of highly sensitive information can benefit greatly from utilizing this growing technology. 

The Dangerous Cloud

The Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded contracts with four major cloud service providers, including Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle. In addition to that, many medium to large sized government contractors are served by cloud service vendors like Cloudfare, Akamai, and Slack to name a few. Cloud computing infrastructure has skyrocketed in the recent years and is continuing to do so. Businesses are attracted to the cloud because it offers a flexible and cost-effective way to sustainably handle data and provide valuable business insight. There is no denying that cloud computing has changed the way businesses operate for the better, but there are still some disadvantages that come with it and require awareness. 

Cloud services have a high dependence on internet connectivity. If you lose that connection, there could be downtime in which a business may be unable to access data. Cloud services also entails many users active over the same network, which could make it harder to identify when is an actor is committing malpractice. Basically, because businesses are letting important data be stored in the cloud instead of on local servers, they are letting go of some of the control they once had and are relying more on cloud service vendors, thus adding more pieces to what was already a convoluted puzzle. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it just means that all the players (the vendor and the customer) must comply with strict security standards. 

Cyber Supply Chain

One of the most prominent difficulties that the DoD faces is dealing with a complicated supply chain for attaining components for defense systems, including the software, hardware, and other important pieces. What’s even more difficult is maintaining these defense systems, as hardware parts quickly become obsolete and difficult to replace, software is constantly in need of patching and debugging, and microelectronic components are highly susceptible to latent vulnerabilities. This topic is always a high priority when discussing the Defense Sector because the navigating the cyber supply chain is the only way that critical weapon systems get built. Unfortunately, the DoD currently lacks a single cohesive program that allows for collaboration and communication between the government and contractors to assist each other in the prevention and detection of cyber-threats. There is no program where contractors can easily find information on the provenance of certain components and the vulnerabilities they may contain. 

There are obviously things that the government is doing to address this problem, and 2023 has so far been a decently promising year for improving the nation’s cybersecurity. This is seen through:

1)  The eventual requirement of Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) 2.0, which will ensure that contractors are up to the government’s standards before they sign any contracts. 

2)  Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) 252.204 – 7012, which became effective on June 9, 2023, requires that defense contractors enhance their protection of unclassified Covered Defense Information (CDI) by following the updated guidelines of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-171 assessment. 

3)  The Department of Homeland Security’s proposed new regulations which could give them authority on providing standards for defense contractors on handling CUI and requiring them to report to the DHS on cyber incidents in a timely manner depending on the severity of the incident. 

How Your Business Can Stay Prepared

Valor has some recommendations for you to ensure that your business is as informed as it can be on the cyber landscape in the Defense Sector. Therefore, you and your business will be ready in the worst-case scenario of a cyber-attack against your important assets. In this world, you can never be too safe. 

CMMC 2.0

Valor recommends that your business becomes compliant with CMMC 2.0 as soon as possible. Reaching this status will show the government that your business is primed to handle CUI and Federal Contract Information (FCI) in a secure manner. It also shows the government that your business is diligent in complying with high standards, which will likely make the road to winning a contract less of a headache. 

DFARS and NIST Requirements

As mentioned earlier, the DFARS and NIST requirements have recently been updated, and will continue to do so. It’s important to stay up to date with these updates to stay familiar with the latest trends in cyber-threats. 

Investing in AI

AI clearly has the potential to serve as a money-saving, highly efficient tool to monitor your business’s infrastructure. Although it may be a bit of an investment at first, adopting a machine learning model to be on the lookout and send alerts for external and internal threats at a much faster rate than humans ever could prove to be a highly valuable asset. Of course, it is crucial to remember that this technology is still young, but as its capabilities become clearer in the years to come, it would be advantageous for your business to already have some skin in the game. 

Addressing Employee Burnout

It’s no secret that working in the Defense Sector can be highly stressful, as employees are dealing with high stakes information that needs to be handled with the utmost attention and care. Employees working for defense contractors may feel burnt out as attackers constantly bombard them with new ways to exploit cyber vulnerabilities. It’s important to constantly teach them about best practices, update them on the latest trends, and encourage them to do their own research on the subject. Also, make sure all employees are aware of the standards of the CMMC, DFARS, and NIST and they should be more than capable to anticipate and react to cyber-attacks.


Valor has decades of experience working with defense contractors to assist them in finding the gaps between what they are doing right what they need to improve on to be more secure. Well versed in the understandably overwhelming language of government orders, Valor is able to help businesses much faster than they could on their own, and time is money. Valor also possesses a strong understanding of cloud computing and AI, and it can help your business adopt these services safely. 

The main thing to remember is that defense contractors at the end of the day are businesses. Sure, they sell extremely advanced defense systems and products to the DoD instead of soda pop to the locals, but customers are customers. Every business should strive to do everything in their power to make their customer have trust in them and feel assured that their precious data is being handled as safely as possible. Every business should also strive to do so in a manner that is cost-effective, timely, and with high internal morale. Adopting good cybersecurity practices can help address all these things for any business, but especially for those in the Defense Sector. The stakes of national security are simply too high to not stay up to date with the requirements of the DoD.

Don’t feel ready for these changes? Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

Getting your organization fully prepared for CMMC requirements could take up to 12 months. But what would you say if you could identify relevant cybersecurity threats and gaps in requirements, on your own time and at your own pace? You’re in luck because we’ve done just that!

The team at Valor Cybersecurity is pleased to offer our Cybersecurity Readiness Assessment for $1199, for a limited time. As a bonus for taking our assessment, we will provide you with recommended guidance for better protecting your business and a 30-minute consultation with our team of experts!

Whether the Valor Team can help you now or in the future, we remain poised to support your business’ success and protection.

Access our FREE ‘Cybersecurity For Defense Contractors‘ E-Book.

Author(s)Greg Tomchick and Joe Chang

Safeguarding Internet-Connected Automobiles: Ensuring Driver Safety and Privacy

In the era of digital transformation, internet connectivity has expanded beyond our smartphones and computers. 

Today, we find ourselves in a world where even automobiles are connected to the internet, offering enhanced features and convenience. However, this advancement comes with its fair share of cybersecurity risks. Internet-connected automobiles can be vulnerable to cyber threats, potentially compromising the safety and privacy of drivers and passengers.

In this edition of the Digital Risk Digest, we will explore the cybersecurity risks associated with internet-connected automobiles and provide insights and strategies to mitigate these risks effectively. Whether you are a business executive overseeing a fleet of connected vehicles or an individual owner concerned about the security of your car, understanding these risks and implementing robust cybersecurity measures is paramount.

The Growing Risks

As vehicles continue to become increasingly connected, they become potential targets for cybercriminals aiming to exploit vulnerabilities and compromise the safety and privacy of drivers and passengers.

In-Vehicle Network Vulnerabilities

Internet-connected automobiles rely on complex in-vehicle networks to facilitate communication between various electronic control units (ECUs) and components. However, these networks also introduce vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. Insecure communication protocols, weak authentication mechanisms, and inadequate access controls are some of the vulnerabilities within in-vehicle networks that can be targeted. Several high-profile cyber-attacks on automobiles, including remote hacking and unauthorized access, serve as cautionary tales of the risks involved.

Wireless Communication Risks

Wireless communication plays a crucial role in enabling connectivity within internet-connected automobiles. However, it also introduces unique cybersecurity risks. Wireless protocols such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular networks can be exploited by attackers to gain unauthorized access, intercept sensitive data, or launch remote attacks. Case studies highlighting vulnerabilities in wireless communication within automobiles shed light on the potential risks and the need for robust security measures.

Software Security and Over-the-Air (OTA) Updates

Connected vehicles heavily rely on software systems for various functions, including infotainment, engine control, and driver-assistance systems. Ensuring the security of these software systems is paramount to protect against cyber threats. Insecure over-the-air (OTA) update mechanisms can provide an entry point for attackers to compromise the integrity and functionality of vehicle software. Implementing secure software development practices and robust OTA update mechanisms are essential to mitigate these risks effectively.

Remote Control and Telematics

Telematics systems, which enable remote control and monitoring of vehicles, offer numerous benefits in terms of convenience and vehicle management. However, they also introduce potential cybersecurity risks. Unauthorized access to vehicle systems, tampering with critical functions, and privacy breaches are among the concerns associated with remote control and telematics capabilities. Implementing robust security measures to secure remote access and control is essential to mitigate these risks.

Actions To Take

Though the actions are different for individual automobile owners and the automobile company, there are a few consistent themes for actions that we should all take to minimize the mentioned risks.

Education and Awareness

Education and awareness play a crucial role in mitigating cybersecurity risks. Business executives and individuals involved in the automotive industry must be well-informed about the potential threats and best practices to ensure secure operations. Promoting cybersecurity awareness campaigns, training programs, and information sharing initiatives can significantly enhance the overall cybersecurity posture within the industry.

Authentication and Access Control

Strong authentication mechanisms and robust access control policies are vital to prevent unauthorized access to vehicle systems and sensitive data. Utilizing multi-factor authentication, implementing secure password practices/management, and enforcing strong access controls can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access and compromise.

Timely Software Updates and Patch Management

Timely software updates and effective patch management are critical in addressing vulnerabilities and ensuring the security of internet-connected vehicles. Establishing efficient update mechanisms, closely monitoring security advisories, and promptly deploying patches can prevent potential exploits and maintain a robust security posture.

Ultimately, As internet-connected automobiles become more prevalent, cybersecurity risks loom larger, necessitating proactive measures to protect drivers, passengers, and the automotive industry as a whole. By understanding the cybersecurity risks associated with internet connected vehicles and by implementing effective mitigation strategies such as education, access control, and timely software updates, we can navigate the road ahead with greater confidence and security.

Want to find out if you are spending too much (or too little) on cyber-protecting your business? You are in the right place, at the right time!

The team at Valor Cybersecurity is pleased to offer our Cybersecurity Readiness Assessment for $1199, for a limited time. As a bonus for taking our assessment, we will provide you with recommended guidance for better protecting your business and a 30-minute consultation with our team of experts!

Whether the Valor Team can help you now or in the future, we remain poised to support your business’ success and protection.

If you like our content, please subscribe today and check out our other channels.

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Is ChatGPT Taking Over Your Business? Balancing Factors and Weighing Costs and Benefits

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a transformative force across industries, including business. As AI technologies continue to advance, business owners face the decision of whether to integrate AI into their operations. While AI offers numerous benefits, such as improved efficiency and decision-making, it also raises concerns and tradeoffs that need to be carefully considered. This edition of the our expert cyber insights aims to provide an unbiased and informative breakdown of the main factors influencing AI adoption in business, including business leadership, execution, cybersecurity, business growth, and risk management. By examining these factors and the associated difficulties, business owners can make informed decisions about integrating AI into their operations.

Key Considerations

Business Leadership: Guiding the AI Adoption Journey

Implementing AI in a business requires strong leadership and vision. Business leaders play a crucial role in setting strategic goals, identifying AI use cases, and aligning AI initiatives with business objectives. However, they must also navigate the challenges associated with AI adoption. One such challenge is the need for upskilling and reskilling the workforce to leverage AI technologies effectively. Balancing investment in AI talent and resources is essential for successful AI integration.

Execution: Translating AI Ambitions into Reality

While AI holds great potential, the execution of AI initiatives can be complex. The successful deployment of AI systems relies on factors such as data quality, infrastructure, and integration with existing systems. Collecting and preparing relevant data for AI models is a critical step, as it influences the accuracy and reliability of AI-driven insights. Moreover, businesses must consider ethical considerations, such as bias mitigation and transparency, during the AI development process.

Cybersecurity: Safeguarding Business Data and AI Systems

As businesses increasingly rely on AI-powered solutions, cybersecurity becomes a paramount concern. AI systems often handle large volumes of sensitive data, making them attractive targets for cyber threats. Business owners must invest in robust cybersecurity measures to protect their AI systems, data, and customer information. Ensuring proper encryption, authentication, and regular security audits can help mitigate risks associated with AI adoption.

Business Growth: Accelerating Innovation and Efficiency

One of the most significant advantages of AI integration is its potential to drive business growth. AI technologies can automate routine tasks, enabling employees to focus on higher-value activities. Advanced AI algorithms can uncover valuable insights from vast amounts of data, empowering businesses to make data-driven decisions and gain a competitive edge. Furthermore, AI can fuel innovation by identifying new market opportunities and improving product development processes.

Risk Management: Addressing the Challenges of AI Adoption

AI adoption is not without its risks. While AI can enhance decision-making, it also introduces new vulnerabilities and ethical concerns. AI models may exhibit bias or make incorrect predictions, potentially leading to unintended consequences. Proper risk management strategies, such as thorough testing and monitoring, can mitigate these risks. Transparency and explainability in AI systems are crucial, ensuring accountability and regulatory compliance.

Tradeoffs and Difficulties: Finding the Right Balance

When considering AI integration, business owners must recognize the tradeoffs involved. The benefits of AI, such as increased productivity and efficiency, must be weighed against potential drawbacks, such as upfront costs, implementation challenges, and ethical considerations. It is essential to assess the readiness of the business and the impact AI will have on existing processes and employee roles. Collaborative decision-making involving stakeholders from various departments can help identify potential challenges and devise effective solutions.

The Significance of Impact Assessment: Making Informed Decisions

When deciding on the extent of AI integration, it is crucial to assess the impact on the business, employees, and customers. An impact assessment can identify areas where AI can add value and highlight potential risks or disruptions. By considering the specific needs and goals of the business, owners can determine the appropriate level of AI integration that aligns with their objectives. Additionally, clear communication and change management strategies are vital to ensure smooth transitions and minimize resistance from employees.

Key Risk Decisions

Data Security and Privacy: Business owners must assess the potential risks associated with data security and privacy when implementing AI. They should determine how sensitive data will be handled, stored, and protected throughout the AI lifecycle. This includes evaluating encryption protocols, access controls, and data governance policies to safeguard against unauthorized access or data breaches.

Ethical Use of AI: Ethical considerations surrounding AI adoption cannot be overlooked. Business owners should establish guidelines and policies to address potential biases, discrimination, and the transparency of AI systems. They must ensure that AI applications are aligned with legal and regulatory frameworks and promote fairness, accountability, and transparency.

Vendor Selection and Due Diligence: When choosing AI vendors or technology partners, business owners need to conduct thorough due diligence. This involves assessing the vendor’s reputation, track record, and security protocols. It is important to understand the vendor’s AI algorithms, data handling practices, and any potential risks associated with their offerings.

Risk Assessment and Mitigation: Prior to implementing AI, a comprehensive risk assessment should be conducted to identify potential vulnerabilities, threats, and risks specific to the business. This assessment helps business owners understand the potential impact of AI on their operations and allows them to develop risk mitigation strategies and contingency plans.

Employee Training and Change Management: The successful integration of AI requires employees to adapt to new technologies and processes. Business owners need to assess the potential risks associated with employee resistance, job displacement, or skill gaps. They should invest in comprehensive training programs to upskill and reskill employees, fostering a smooth transition and maximizing the benefits of AI adoption.

Regulatory Compliance: Business owners must stay abreast of relevant regulations and compliance requirements related to AI adoption in their industry. They should assess the potential risks and legal implications of AI integration, ensuring adherence to privacy laws, data protection regulations, and industry-specific guidelines. Compliance with these regulations mitigates legal and reputational risks.

Monitoring and Auditing: Implementing robust monitoring and auditing mechanisms is essential to ensure the ongoing performance and ethical use of AI systems. Business owners should establish regular monitoring practices to detect and address potential biases, system failures, or data drift. Conducting periodic audits of AI algorithms and processes helps maintain transparency, accountability, and adherence to established guidelines.

Contingency Planning: Despite careful planning, unforeseen circumstances and risks may arise during AI implementation. Business owners should develop contingency plans to address potential disruptions, such as system failures, cybersecurity breaches, or unintended consequences. These plans should outline steps to mitigate risks, ensure business continuity, and minimize the impact of any potential setbacks.

By addressing these immediate risk decisions, business owners and executives can proactively manage potential challenges and ensure a responsible and successful integration of AI technologies. It is essential to approach AI adoption with a focus on risk management, compliance, and ethical considerations to maximize the benefits and minimize potential downsides.

As AI technologies continue to evolve, business owners will continue to face the critical decision of whether to embrace AI in their operations. Regardless of the chosen approach, it is essential to prioritize impact assessment, addressing potential challenges, and fostering a culture of adaptability and continuous learning. With careful consideration and strategic planning, AI can be a powerful tool to drive innovation and growth in businesses of all sizes and industries.

Want to find out if your company is at risk from using AI and ChatGPT? Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

The team at Valor Cybersecurity is pleased to offer our AI Detection and Policy Assessment Service today. As a bonus for taking our best-practice assessment, we will provide you with recommended guidance for better protecting your business! We can also help you to identify your current AI exposure and ways to minimize risk going forward. Whether the Valor Team can help you now or in the future, we remain poised to support your business’ success and protection.

Author(s): Greg Tomchick 

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Demystifying Common Cyber Insurance Misconceptions: Protecting Your Business in the Digital Age

In today’s interconnected world, businesses face unprecedented cyber risks. The threat landscape continues to evolve, with sophisticated cyber-attacks targeting organizations of all sizes. In response to this growing risk, cyber insurance has emerged as a vital tool for businesses to mitigate potential financial losses and reputational damage. However, misconceptions surrounding cyber insurance persist, hindering organizations from making informed decisions about their risk management strategies. In this weeks edition of The Digital Risk Digest, we will debunk common cyber insurance misconceptions and shed light on the importance of obtaining comprehensive coverage in the digital age.

Misconception 1: “My General Liability Insurance Covers Cyber Incidents”:

One of the most prevalent misconceptions is that general liability insurance provides sufficient coverage for cyber incidents. However, general liability policies typically exclude cyber-related losses. Cyber insurance is specifically designed to address the unique risks associated with data breaches, ransomware attacks, and other cyber threats. It offers coverage for various aspects, including data breach response, forensic investigations, legal expenses, public relations efforts, and even financial losses incurred by third-party claims.

Misconception 2: “We Have Strong IT Security, So We Don’t Need Cyber Insurance”:

While implementing robust IT security measures is crucial, it does not provide complete protection against cyber threats. Cybercriminals constantly develop new techniques, making it challenging for even the most advanced security systems to guarantee 100% protection. Cyber insurance acts as an additional layer of defense, helping businesses recover from potential cyber incidents by covering financial losses, legal expenses, and other associated costs. It complements proactive security measures and provides a comprehensive risk management approach.

Misconception 3: “Only Large Corporations Need Cyber Insurance”:

Contrary to popular belief, cyber threats do not discriminate based on the size or industry of a business. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly targeted by cybercriminals due to their potential vulnerabilities. Cyber insurance is just as crucial for SMEs as it is for large corporations. It helps SMEs navigate the financial burden of a cyber incident, allowing them to recover and continue operations without significant disruption. Cyber insurance policies can be tailored to the specific needs and budget of each organization, making it accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Misconception 4: “Cyber Insurance is Expensive”:

The cost of cyber insurance is often perceived as a barrier, leading to the misconception that it is unaffordable for many businesses. However, the reality is that the cost of cyber insurance varies based on several factors, such as the size of the organization, the industry it operates in, its security measures, and the desired coverage limits. Moreover, the potential financial consequences of a cyber incident, including legal fees, data recovery, and reputational damage, can far outweigh the premium costs. Investing in cyber insurance provides financial protection and peace of mind, making it a worthwhile investment.

Misconception 5: “We Can Handle a Cyber Incident Internally”:

Some organizations believe they can handle a cyber incident internally without involving external experts or resources. However, responding to a cyber incident requires specialized knowledge and resources that may not be readily available within the organization. Cyber insurance not only provides financial coverage but also offers access to a network of professionals experienced in incident response, forensics, legal counsel, and public relations. Engaging these experts promptly can significantly minimize the impact of an incident and facilitate a faster recovery.

Misconception 6: “Cyber Insurance Encourages Negligence”:

A common misconception is that having cyber insurance may lead to a lax approach to cybersecurity. However, cyber insurance providers emphasize risk management and often require policyholders to adhere to specific security standards. This proactive approach encourages businesses to implement robust cybersecurity measures and regularly update their defenses to mitigate risks. Cyber insurance acts as a safety net in the event of a breach despite best efforts, ensuring that the financial impact is minimized. It serves as an incentive for organizations to prioritize cybersecurity and adopt best practices to reduce the likelihood of an incident occurring in the first place.

Misconception 7: “Cyber Insurance Covers All Cyber Incidents”:

While cyber insurance provides comprehensive coverage, it is essential to understand the policy details and exclusions. Each policy is tailored to the specific needs of the organization and may have limitations and exclusions. It is crucial to work closely with insurance providers to understand the scope of coverage, including incident response, business interruption, reputational harm, regulatory fines, and legal liabilities. Being aware of the policy terms and limitations ensures that businesses are adequately protected and can make informed decisions about their risk management strategies.

Misconception 8: “We Don’t Need Cyber Insurance Because We Have Backups”:

Data backups are undoubtedly essential for business continuity and recovery in the event of data loss. However, cyber insurance goes beyond data recovery. It covers a wide range of expenses, such as legal costs, notification and credit monitoring for affected individuals, public relations efforts, and regulatory fines. Moreover, cyber insurance provides financial protection against business interruption, lost revenue, and reputational damage resulting from a cyber incident. It offers a comprehensive safety net that extends beyond data recovery alone.

Misconception 9: “Cyber Insurance Isn’t Necessary in Regulated Industries”:

Organizations operating in regulated industries often assume that compliance with industry-specific regulations is sufficient protection against cyber risks. However, compliance does not guarantee immunity from cyber threats. Cyber insurance provides an extra layer of protection, covering costs associated with breaches that may not be addressed by regulatory compliance alone. It helps organizations meet legal obligations, manage reputational risks, and mitigate financial losses resulting from a cyber incident.

Misconception 10: “Cyber Insurance Is Only for External Cyber Attacks”:

While external cyber attacks, such as hacking and ransomware, are widely publicized, organizations should not overlook the risks posed by internal threats. Insider threats, unintentional errors, or disgruntled employees can also lead to data breaches and other cyber incidents. Cyber insurance typically covers both external and internal threats, ensuring that organizations are protected from a wide range of risks, regardless of the source.

Ultimately, cybersecurity is a critical business function that should be a top priority for boards. By asking the right questions of their teams, boards can gain a comprehensive understanding of their organization’s cybersecurity strategy and readiness. This includes understanding what security measures are in place, identifying the biggest cybersecurity risks facing the organization, and ensuring that employees are trained on cybersecurity best practices. By prioritizing cybersecurity and allocating adequate resources, boards can help protect their organizations against cyber threats and ensure their long-term success.

Want to find out how you can save time and money on your insurance premiums and get your organization aligned with best practices? Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

The team at Valor Cybersecurity is pleased to offer our Cybersecurity Readiness Assessment for $1199, for a limited time. As a bonus for taking our assessment, we will provide you with recommended guidance for better protecting your business, while aligning with business requirements, and a 30-minute consultation with our team of experts!

Whether the Valor Team can help you now or in the future, we remain poised to support your business’ success and protection.  

Author(s)Greg Tomchick 

Why Leading Executives Are Consolidating Their Security Program

As technology continues to advance and more businesses rely on digital infrastructure, cybersecurity threats have become increasingly prevalent. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated, and cyber attacks are becoming more frequent and more devastating. As a result, cybersecurity has become a critical issue for businesses of all sizes, from small startups to multinational corporations.

Unfortunately, many businesses are not adequately prepared to defend against cyber threats. They may have invested in some security measures, but they often lack a comprehensive cybersecurity program. This can leave them vulnerable to attacks and put their customers, employees, and stakeholders at risk.

Executives now recognize the importance of cybersecurity but seek guidance to take steps to ensure that their organizations are adequately protected. One approach that they should consider is consolidating their cybersecurity program. By bringing all of their security efforts together, in a manner that is best for the business, organizations can create a more effective and efficient security strategy.

Here are some reasons why we see executives choosing to consolidate their cybersecurity program:

Simplify Security Management

One of the biggest advantages of consolidating a cybersecurity program is that it simplifies security management. Rather than managing multiple security solutions from different vendors, executives can consolidate their security tools and strategies within a business-relevant operating model. This can reduce complexity, improve visibility, and streamline security management.

When executives have a centralized view of their cybersecurity program, they can more easily monitor and respond to security events. They can quickly identify any gaps in their security posture and take action to address them. This can help prevent security incidents and minimize the damage caused by any successful attacks.

Maximize ROI

Consolidating a cybersecurity program can also help businesses maximize their return on investment (ROI). By minimizing the number of vendors and platforms utilized, businesses can realize better pricing and terms. They can also take advantage of bundled services and receive discounts for volume purchases.

In addition, consolidating security solutions can help businesses reduce their overall security spending. Rather than investing in multiple-point solutions, businesses can invest in a single, integrated security platform that provides comprehensive protection. This can reduce duplication of effort and eliminate the need for additional security personnel.

Increase Efficiency

Consolidating a cybersecurity program can also increase efficiency. By streamlining security management and maximizing ROI, businesses can improve their security posture without sacrificing productivity. They can also reduce the time and effort required to manage security solutions, freeing up time and resources for other critical business functions.

In addition, a consolidated cybersecurity program can enable businesses to automate many security processes. This can improve the speed and accuracy of threat detection and response, reducing the risk of successful attacks.

Improve Security Posture

Perhaps the most important reason to consolidate a cybersecurity program is to improve the organization’s security posture. By implementing a comprehensive security strategy that covers all aspects of the business, executives can significantly reduce the risk of successful cyber attacks.

A consolidated cybersecurity program can provide end-to-end protection, including network security, endpoint security, data protection, and identity and access management. By taking a holistic approach to security, businesses can ensure that all potential vulnerabilities are identified and addressed.

In addition, a consolidated cybersecurity program can provide real-time threat intelligence and analysis, enabling businesses to quickly respond to emerging threats. This can help prevent successful attacks and minimize the damage caused by any successful breaches.

Meet Regulatory Compliance

Finally, consolidating a cybersecurity program can help businesses meet regulatory compliance requirements. Many industries are subject to strict data protection regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant fines and legal liabilities.

A consolidated cybersecurity program can help businesses meet these regulatory requirements by providing a comprehensive security framework that addresses all relevant regulations. This can help businesses avoid legal liabilities and protect their reputation.

Business leaders should consider consolidating their cybersecurity program now to improve their security posture, simplify security management, maximize their ROI, increase efficiency, and meet regulatory compliance. Consolidating a cybersecurity program can provide businesses with a comprehensive and holistic approach to security, reducing the risk of successful cyber attacks and minimizing the damage caused by any breaches. By streamlining security management and investing in an integrated security platform, businesses can improve their security posture without sacrificing productivity or increasing their security spending. Executives should prioritize cybersecurity and take steps to ensure that their organizations are adequately protected in the face of evolving cyber threats.

Want to find out if you are spending too much (or too little) on cyber-protecting your business? You are in the right place, at the right time!

The team at Valor Cybersecurity is pleased to offer our Cybersecurity Readiness Assessment for $1199, for a limited time. As a bonus for taking our assessment, we will provide you with recommended guidance for better protecting your business and a 30-minute consultation with our team of experts!

Whether the Valor Team can help you now or in the future, we remain poised to support your business’ success and protection.

Author(s): Greg Tomchick 

If you like our content, please subscribe today and check out our other channels.

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