Marriott International Data Breach

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Following the recent Marriott International data breach, whereby the records of 500 million people were compromised, global chains and SMBs alike should be looking even harder than ever to protect their networks from cybercriminals.

Please see below for commentary from Rachel Rothwell, Zyxel Regional Director, Southern Europe and UK which looks at the vulnerability of our personal data and what we can do to protect it.

Rachel Rothwell, Regional Director at Zyxel:

“The true vulnerability of our sensitive data was recently laid bare when hundreds of millions of Marriott guests globally were affected by the hotel chain’s data breach. So, if a large global chain like Marriott was found wanting against cyber criminals, just how safe are SMBs?

“A study by the Ponemon Institute, published in September 2017, found that cyberattacks against SMBs over a 12-month period had increased 61 percent – up from 55 percent the previous 12 months. These kinds of attacks cost smaller businesses just as much, relatively, as large firms.

“As well as the damage or theft of data, there is the cost of the disruption to normal everyday working and the company’s reputation. With most data breaches originating from malware that infiltrates the network via e-mail, it is essential to have an effectively protected network.

“The first line of network defence is unified threat management (UTM) firewalls, which protect the entry points to networks against a wide range of threats, thereby minimising the risk of data loss, ransomware attack or other infiltration.

“Another essential aspect of network safety is employee awareness – all staff should be educated on the dangers of opening unsolicited messages or unexpected attachments, otherwise they run the risk of leaving the network vulnerable, even with all the security measures in place.

“The Marriot incident is just the latest high-profile cyberattack – and we are certain to see others grabbing the headlines in the future. What we might not hear as much about are the tens of thousands of attacks on SMBs that take place every day.”

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