Patterns of Distinction: Security Matters Cybersecurity Conference Happening April 21 at Murray State
The Security Matters cybersecurity conference returns to Murray State University on April 21st. Tracy Ross speaks with Michael Ramage, Ph.D., Director of MSU's Cyber Education and Research Center, about the upcoming conference.
"Right now, there are more cybersecurity concerns in our world than ever before," Ramage begins. "The Ukraine-Russia conflict has risen it even more. But before that, with the rise of ransomware—it's just everywhere. Understanding that technical piece as a small business owner—you can't put your head in the sand anymore. You gotta be ready to listen and know what's going on."
Ramage says that while an overseas cyberattack won't target a small business directly, it will inevitably disaffect that business through disruptions to our critical infrastructure. "An electric grid, a power grid—if we don't have electricity, obviously that affects our small businesses. The impact can be felt."
In addition to threats from other countries, Ramage says there has been a dramatic increase in ransomware attacks. "Not only does that have the power to disrupt businesses, which is something Russia wants to do, but it also makes them money. So, there's a profit aspect to it."
Ramage says that one of the conference's key speakers, Lauren Proehl, is a Murray State graduate who is now the manager of global cyber defense for Marsh McLennan. "One of the things Laura's going to touch on is how these geopolitical issues that are going on are causing a rise of ransomware and what that means for us. That will be front and center."
The conference will also include discussions on protecting oneself and one's business from ransomware. "Most people have either been a victim or know someone that's been a victim of ransomware," Ramage says. "The city of Paducah was a victim of ransomware. Local hospitals have been victims of ransomware. Those same things that you should be doing as a small business to protect your business from ransomware are, in large part, the same steps you should be thinking about to protect your business from a potential cyberattack from a Russian-sponsored organization."
Ramage adds that business insurance might not be enough, either. When ransomware attacks were relatively rare, it was quicker and more convenient to simply pay the ransom. Now, insurance companies are limiting ransom payments, particularly for businesses with no cybersecurity measures in place.
"I'll be interested to hear what Laura has to say in how they're recommending handling those going forward. FBI, federal government, still says don't pay. Social Security says don't pay. But there's been a lot of people that pay. I read a study the other day that said if you looked at 100% of the costs that happen after you've been hit with ransomware, the decision to pay only impacts about 15% of that cost. The other 85% cost of recovery is going to be there whether you pay or not, which is really eye-opening to me," Ramage says.
Ramage encourages those planning to attend the Security Matters cybersecurity conference to register online. The conference includes a luncheon, and pre-registration ensures there will be enough food for all attendees.
For more information on the Security Matters conference, visit the MSU Cyber Education and Research Center's website.