Improve your cybersecurity efforts with 3 simple tips

By The Glatfelter Team on August 1, 2018

Protecting your ESO data calls for expecting the unexpected

February 11, 2013—North Central Montana:

Viewers see a familiar message scroll across the top of their television screens: “A civil authority has issued a local area emergency for the following counties....”

The sound of the commercial subsides as the infamous loud beeping of the emergency alert takes over, followed by the deep, muffled voice describing the warning being issued:

“Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Follow the messages on screen that will be updated as information becomes available. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous.”

Panic and confusion quickly found a place within the community. A hacker from overseas had logged into the broadcasting system and sent this message, disguised by the format viewers were used to. The local emergency services were distracted from responding to actual emergencies when their attention shifted to restoring control of their emergency alert systems.

Make sure that the connected online systems between your emergency service organization and the community don’t have vulnerabilities to allow for hackers to deliver false messages like these. Cyber criminals frequently target emergency systems, being one of the most valuable parts of a functioning community, but there are ways to be better prepared to outsmart the hackers.

Understand the Dark Web

CybersecurityThere are around eight billion pages of public information on the Internet, but these only account for about 4 percent of the online world. Have you heard of the “Dark Web?” This is the digital universe that makes up the remaining 96 percent of the Internet. In this vast space, users that download an anonymous browser can buy anything ranging from credit card numbers, counterfeit money, drugs and weapons to Netflix accounts and hacking software, according to an article by CSOonline. Even though hackers have access to these tools, there are ways that your crew can help prevent falling into the traps of this underground domain.

Your crew can start today

It’s best to start increasing your cybersecurity efforts immediately. Somebody in America is affected every 39 seconds by cyber crime. Encourage your crew to always follow these simple steps:

  1. Increase your password strength. You’ve likely heard this advice too many times to count, but it holds high importance. Passwords are your last line of defense before your data or personal information is compromised. Professionals of the cybersecurity industry say it’s safer to use a mnemonic device instead of randomized letters or numbers for a password. For example, if your dog Brandy was born in 2016, you could use the first letters of the phrase “Brandy the Golden Retriever was born in 2016” to create your password: BtGRwbi2016!. Adding special characters and changing your password every six months is also encouraged.
  2. Be careful at the mousepad. Some of the “hacker horror stories” start from just one click. A breach of a single computer within a department can cause an entire interconnected system to be lost. Be on the lookout for phishing emails, which can deliver dangerous attachments, links or pop-ups to your inbox. Hover over the link before clicking on it to make sure you’ll be sent to a legitimate and safe site. Spread KnowBe4’s guidelines explaining the “red flags” to look for in emails with your crew members.
  3. Protect your PCs with trusted software. Make sure to check when you need to renew contracts with security programs for all of the computers within your department. It’s important to always try to be one step ahead of cyber criminals.

Your job highlights the importance of being prepared for when a disaster strikes. The need for preparation transfers into the world of technology as well. Expecting the unexpected involves using smart passwords, caution when opening links and updated security programs on all of your crew’s computer systems. Protect your community in every way that you can.

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The Glatfelter Team

When this team of rockstars isn't immersed in the process of researching how to reduce the risks your organization faces, we share stories of our pets, kids and favorite pizza toppings—on the daily.


The information contained in this blog post is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace expert advice in connection with the topics presented. Glatfelter specifically disclaims any liability for any act or omission by any person or entity in connection with the preparation, use or implementation of plans, principles, concepts or information contained in this publication.

Glatfelter does not make any representation or warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the results obtained by the use, adherence or implementation of the material contained in this publication. The implementation of the plans, principles, concepts or materials contained in this publication is not a guarantee that you will achieve a certain desired result. It is strongly recommended that you consult with a professional advisor, architect or other expert prior to the implementation of plans, principles, concepts or materials contained in this publication.

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