Hacking: It Could Happen to You

Hacking: It Could Happen to You

By David R. Cohen | david@atljewishtimes.com

Scott Schober for Atlanta Jewish Times
Scott Schober is the president and CEO of Berkeley Varitronics Systems Inc.

Cybercrime costs the U.S. economy an estimated $100 billion a year, and news seems to break every day of yet another data breach, cloud attack or information leak in America.

Cybersecurity expert Scott Schober is on a mission to fight this crime. His new book, “Hacked Again: It Can Happen to Anyone … Even a Cyber Security Expert,” will be released this summer. It details the struggle for protection online in what he calls “the craziest period of cybersecurity hacks and scandals ever.”

He talked about the landscape of the cybersecurity industry and what he’s doing to fight cybercrime.

AJT: It’s a good thing I’ve got you on the line because our WordPress website just got hacked last week.

Schober: Oh, no; that’s a common weakness with WordPress. I forgot the exact statistic, but something like 70 percent of WordPress sites are vulnerable to attack.

AJT: What’s the most important key to staying secure online?

Schober: Security needs to be all-encompassing. That’s what I’m finding now. It’s a pretty wide-open area, and we’re seeing lots of stuff happening in the government sector, especially with the headlines you’re seeing today about the government supposedly hacked by China. Security usually comes down to best practices. I always start with the basics because everybody seems to have some compromise of some sort, be it credit card information or social media accounts.

AJT: What do you think is behind this uptick in worldwide cybercrime?

Schober: The bad guys are getting better at sharing information, and that’s part of the reason it’s becoming more and more widespread. They share tips on how to hack into a social network, compromise credentials and perform identity theft or how to rip off the IRS for tax refunds. It’s all shared in the underground world.

AJT: The Cybertech 2015 International Conference was held in Tel Aviv in March. Why does Israel seem to be Ground Zero for cyber innovation?

Schober: Most of the innovation is definitely coming out of Israel. If you look, they have some of the brightest minds coming out of university, and they’ve got very practical computer skills and understand the vulnerabilities and understand how computer networks operate. I think that’s why the United States and Israel work very closely together because the U.S. is a prime target for hacking. Many of these cybersecurity companies have been coming out of Israel recently and partnering with U.S. companies.

AJT: Tell me about your new book, “Hacked Again.” What was your goal when you set out to write it?

Schober: Honestly, I wasn’t planning on writing a book, but when my company was compromised with our credit card and checking account for about $65,000, a light bulb went off in my head. I decided that I needed to share my experience with people. We are a specific target because we sell security tools, and we’re reporting on topics of security and how to stay safe. When you start to do these things, you start getting visited by hackers.

AJT: What advice do you have for AJT readers to tighten security online?

Schober: One of the big problems is that people put too much information on social media. It’s become easy for hackers to guess passwords and security questions. I always encourage people for security challenge questions to not put down “What high school did you attend?” Instead, put down one unique password that’s hard to crack. I could go and find out what high school almost anybody went to by doing a simple Google search. It’s the same thing with birthdays. That information is very valuable if someone is trying to steal money from you or take credit out in your name.


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