TECH TALK: Becoming digitally literate can pay huge dividends, says BILL MAGEE
Businesses badly need a dose of digital clarity amidst growing commercial uncertainty to better deal with Big Tech’s relentless barrage of jargon to help hard-sell their products, including often impenetrable acronyms, initialisms and idioms. You name it.
Companies are under constant pressure to have a digital-first outlook, especially to help them out of uncertain economic times. Like now with rising inflation, falling retail prices and increased corporate insolvencies.
Such an approach is understandable. Gone are the days when an executive faced with a query would simply phone up the IT department. Becoming as digitally literate as possible can pay huge dividends.
However, organisations need help to cope with the pressures from what is a multi-billion global industry in which Big Tech’s selling imperative seems to favour its commercial rationale rather than that of the customer.
Opensource.com says jargon can be a handy way of shortcutting lengthy explanations for the technically-minded. But it claims a case exists against heavy “use of metaphor” by tech marketeers due to a “danger of ambiguity”.
This can leave matters wide open to misinterpretation.
Take “APT”. It stands for the malevolent Stuxnet malware worm virus that spread through Microsoft Windows computers like wildfire. So how can it simultaneously also cover what is a – diametrically opposed – remedy to halt such malicious ransomware in its cybertracks?
The confusion centres on ‘advanced persistent threats’, security attacks that grab the global headlines practically on a daily basis. But there’s also ‘automated penetration testing’ based on blocking the same online and mobile hackers. Like “son of Stuxnet”.
AppCheck aims to make things crystal clear and will stage a webinar soon with Capito. The vulnerability scanning platform specialist highlights the latter version of APT – to tackle the former version.
A company’s “shop window”, its website, is highlighted as especially vulnerable. Four-out-of-ten sites are hit, often with quite catastrophic results, at times closing a company down for good.
Another study reveals three-quarters of organisations suffered downtime and data loss in 2021, a 25% increase on the previous year.
AppCheck gives a glimpse into the sophisticated world of ethical hacking, employing breach-and-attack simulations (BAS).
BAS represents a fairly new category of IT tools increasingly being taken up by banks and other financial institutions to combat the hacker lurking in the Dark Web.
A security flaw is automated within a website and linked apps along with the entire networked technical estate within an organisation.
Typical of what they tackle is a “zero-day” software vulnerability that could allow attackers to potentially bypass authentication and disclose vital data on an organisation’s servers.
Such a computerised threat can involve malware, virus, ransomware, phishing, spyware. You name it: the entire stratagem of IT tools of the hacker’s trade.
The R&D team investigating this issue start from publicly-available information, identify the cause of the vulnerability and formulate what is described as a “work around”.
Such a problem-solver should be implemented as rapidly as possible updating any affected servers as patches and security updates become available.
The European Union’s new Digital Markets Act is aimed at curbing the powers of Big Tech and this includes calling on more transparency. The mostly US multinationals are strongly resisting such planned legislation claiming it will stifle innovation.
While they slog it out, the common digital thread is to mitigate against growing numbers of daily cyberattacks. McAfee reports such threats are “becoming smarter and quicker to pivot their tactics and targets.”
Leave nothing to chance, one senior tech executive stressed to me. “It must be all about “test, test and test again” your IT systems behind-the-scenes. “To keep the bad guys at bay”.