So far, 2013 seems like it will be remembered in part as the year of the hacker. Cybercriminals and other malicious computer malcontents have targeted seemingly every aspect of modern American life. There’s the Pentagon, ATMs, the media, social media, videogaming, and government agencies.
With the pace and speed of these attacks growing, how can you stay informed about potential threats to your business? A quick and easy way (not to mention free) is tapping into the Twitter streams from some of the best minds in data security.
The experts on this list deliver real-time news and suggestions for action that can help you protect your small business’s computer and financial systems. If you’re interested in this world beyond these experts, just plug in a few hashtags—#security, #infosec, #cybersecurity—to get a taste of the breadth of issues that others are confronting on the information-technology front.
Here’s the feed from the newsroom created by Sophos, a U.S.-British maker of malware protection and security hardware. The articles are smart reminders of things like new upgrades for search engines and applications, malware and scams to watch out for, accounts of how companies were compromised, and newly discovered flaws that you’ll need to worry about. Naked Security can also be followed on Facebook and Google+, but there’s something about their straightforward news and headlines that are best digested within a 140-character limit. (Add on Sophos’s senior technology consultant Graham Cluley—@gcluley—for even more insights.)
Krebs is a former Washington Post reporter, Security Fix blogger, and self-taught computer expert who became fixated on the world of cybercrime after his PC was infected by overseas hackers back in 2001. These days, he’s an in-demand speaker on computer security and routinely breaks news on his Krebs on Security website, where he reports on his investigations into the sources of the most damaging hacks and scams. On Twitter, it can be exhilarating to watch him spar with underworld elements that have tried to knock him offline. Follow him to be ahead of the curve on flaws and scams that make industry heavyweights scramble to repair—and for his particular attention to the active threats to small businesses. There’s plenty to learn just by reading his interactions with his Twitter followers, too.
This lauded American cryptographer—an expert in making and breaking secret codes— is well-known contrarian and gadfly when it comes to data security and privacy issues. He focuses on the long view and rational thinking instead of succumbing to fear by poking holes in the perceptions of the safety of new products, such as “smart” appliances and Google Glasses. This is Big Picture stuff, and questions that Schneier raises have often become the early warning system for controversies down the road. His tweets point to his own writings and other articles and off-the-beaten-path news that he finds interesting—and you likely will, too.
If you’re dealing with online commerce, this Twitter feed is a must-have. Its value comes from the fact that it’s not just a corporate site; it’s a smartly monitored source for breaking news on the security of tools that small businesses use every day. For instance, followers can check out flaws in the PayPal system and Drupal programming code vulnerabilities. There’s also a weekly roundup of the latest arrests and scams that have been discovered around the world, and a helpful site for those using the Kaspersky toolbox. It offers a daily supply of tips to harden your internal systems and alerts users to numerous reports of questionable activities that its worldwide user base is encountering.
E.J. Hilbert’s career reads like the Forrest Gump of online crime fighting: A former FBI special agent on the Web’s frontlines against terrorism; MySpace’s chief cybersecurity expert; and now Kroll Security’s top mind against spammers and scammers. He’s now moving on to London to take on hackers from across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. His Twitter feed offers an intriguing inside look at the people and agencies who are going after the bad guys, how the investigations unfold, and the cyber threats he sees occurring on a daily basis.