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Understanding cyber attacks

Nurdianah Md Nur | Nov. 6, 2013
Vic Mankotia of CA Technologies explains how DDoS differs from website defacement. He also provides cyber security tips for consumers and organisations.

When a site is "under maintenance" does it mean that it is under attack?
It depends on whether the outage that requires a maintenance window was planned or unplanned. Most planned outages are planned in advance so as not to disrupt or inconvenience users from getting the service they require. However, as back end systems become more and more interconnected in today's world, an unplanned outage might cause not only disruption to the service it is offering, but possibly also dependent systems that are either relying on this service or consuming it in order to provide their own service to users in turn.

What can consumers and businesses in Singapore/Asia do to protect themselves?
Users will need to be diligent in protecting their online identity and passwords, usually by following a proven set of recommendations such as using a strong and complex password, never divulging passwords to anyone and other best practices. Security is only as good as your weakest link and a user needs to not only practise common sense in guarding against social engineering attempts and phishing, one also needs to be always diligent on how his or her credentials are being utilised.

As an added layer of protection, we also recommend an advanced way of doing authentication such as using a two-factor token or one-time password in addition to the standard username/ password combination. This helps to make it harder for a targeted attacker to extract the sensitive login credentials.

In short, not only does IT security of the organisation need to do the necessary to safeguard the systems which store the sensitive data, it is also essential that users such as you and me be diligent in how we handle and protect our credentials from unauthorised people. Once again, security is only as good as your weakest link.             


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