Last Updated: 12/12/2013*

Lynn Dugle addresses members of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts Executive Forum about the importance of keeping cyber defenses strong.
Lynn Dugle addressed members of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts Executive Forum about the importance of keeping cyber defenses strong.

Once a topic reserved for intelligence agencies and the military, cybersecurity today has gone mainstream, extending to things as mundane as parking meters and the cars parked next to them, the president of Raytheon’s Intelligence, Information and Services told a group of business leaders.

With so many networked devices in our daily lives, this situation is fraught with security concerns for business, Lynn Dugle, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services, told members of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

Estimates vary, but the annual cost of cybercrime and espionage could be $100 billion annually or more, Dugle said.

“Commercial companies face significant and growing risks in cyber space,” Dugle said at the organization’s Executive Forum in Waltham, Mass.

A driver who does nothing more dramatic than park at a meter in Boston could well have a cybersecurity experience, she said: “Yes, a parking meter can be hacked. And so can the car that parks at that meter.”

What makes cybersecurity so important is that the globe literally wallows in information, much of it valuable to hackers. In 2011, the world generated 1.8 zettabytes of data. A zettabyte represents five times more data than the combined storage capacity of every hard drive on earth. And that amount of data is soon expected to double, Dugle said.

"Workforce education is the strongest defense against determined Internet attackers" -- Lynn Dugle

The data explosion has occurred because computers have gone from being room-sized data crunching tools to the devices in our pockets that can produce and upload data to the Internet instantly. According to NASA, cell phones today have more computing power than the computers used during the Apollo missions.

The first step in stopping hackers, according to Dugle, is to protect perimeters and the entry points to a business network—“the very smartphones and laptops you issue to your employees.”

“They have the instruments that can make your business wildly successful or the weakest link in your chain of security,” she cautioned. “The hardware you use to conduct your daily business could turn out to be your Achilles heel if the proper security measures aren’t taken.”

She urged organizations to audit regularly the number of Internet connections that access the cyber domain. “If you don’t need 100 connections, for example, then why give the bad guys another 100 ways to achieve their objective?”

Dugle also encouraged companies to regard their employees as their strongest defense and be willing to invest the resources necessary to educate them accordingly.

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