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Cyber Threat!: How to Manage the Growing Risk of Cyber Attacks by MacDonnell Ulsch

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Chapter 11Early WarningsSomething Bad Is on the Way

One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning.

James Russell Lowell

Early warnings come in a variety of expressions. Some warnings are technical signals; others are behavioral. The quote by poet and diplomat James Russell Lowell is dead-on accurate. History really is one of the best early warning indicators: The pain emanating from that “thorn of experience” is telling.

Perhaps the best early warning system is the media. Looking online or reading newspapers the old-fashioned way provides clear evidence that the cyber attack problem is worsening and is not likely to improve in the near future. Even though only a minority of cyber breaches are reported in the media, the numbers are compelling and the impact is often substantial, even devastating. Expecting a cyber attack is an appropriate posture.

There are a number of early warnings that can signal a problem. These aren't the computer that's running slowly because it may be infected with a virus. There are a few early warning signals that companies often ignore or are simply unaware of their significance.

It is no secret that some of the better-protected companies are those that have felt the pain of a prior breach. Depending on a number of conditions associated with the company and its attackers, that pain may have been significant, resulting in legal, regulatory, financial, and reputation risk impact. With an average data breach cost of more than $7 million, ...

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