WannaCry, Petya or Fusob – ransomware is software that blocks access to a user’s data and threatens to publish or delete that data unless the victim pays the large ransom. For most people, ransomware is a malicious trend that brings chaos into their lives.
People and corporations around the world are looking for guidance in the face of possible disaster. We propose that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can take on both a cautionary and a protective role – just like a good team captain should.
Hackers today have sophisticated tricks up their sleeve. Various social engineering tactics have become popular to extract administrator passwords from oblivious users. Those admin passwords allow hackers to go deep inside networks and carry out their attacks without resistance.
WannaCry taught us that users are fundamentally unreliable. When your colleagues receive a Word document, for instance, they are eager to open it. There could be important information inside, after all! But when the text appears illegible they will gladly run an attached macro to fix it. All because of their human curiosity.
Ransomware keeps your data hostage, but intact. So does the GDPR apply? In other words, does ransomware lead to the ‘accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorized disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed’?
The answer is clear: Yes.
And that changes things. In the UK, for instance, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can currently fine a maximum of £500,000 per data breach. Once the GDPR is enforced, the ICO will have the right to impose fines of up to 4% of the annual worldwide turnover of the company. Ouch.
Emily Carter and Jonathan Blunden claim in their article that, according to a Cyber Security Breaches Survey, 46% of British businesses have suffered a data security breach in 2016. That proportion rose to two-thirds among medium and large companies. Suffice it to say that your company’s data & network security better be spotless once the GDPR is in effect.
Punishment is easy. Any good captain, however, also carries a carrot. The GDPR imposes large fines, but forces companies to take IT security policies more seriously. Security policies that should clearly define what you can and cannot do with personal data. Follow our 3 basic guidelines to strengthen your data policy instantly.
Implementing our 3 guidelines will make your job as an IT professional less stressful, without causing havoc in your budget. But what happens if you don’t have access to the necessary resources? The GDPR is, once again, on your side. Convince the decision-makers in your company by drawing attention to the huge fines and by selling the comfort of protection.
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