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THE INSTITUTE During the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many organizations to transition from office work to working from home. The initial shift created an increase in cyberattacks, though, as cybercriminals tried to exploit weak network security.

A recent attack on Colonial Pipeline, for example, disrupted the company's gasoline supplies. The pipeline's operator paid US $4.4 million in Bitcoin to get its data back, according to news reports.

With workers beginning to return to the office either full time or on a hybrid work schedule, companies could be more at risk of cyberattacks. In a recent Tessian survey, 56 percent of IT leaders said employees established bad cybersecurity habits while working remotely. The survey also found that leaders are increasingly worried about ransomware attacks. Many organizations and government agencies are reassessing their cybersecurity protocols.

Ekram Ahmed, spokesman for cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies, told Vox, “We're seeing a staggering 102 percent overall increase in the number of organizations affected by ransomware this year, compared to the beginning of 2020."

PROTECTING YOUR DATA

“Cybersecurity training should be a part of the onboarding process for all new employees," IT Governance says, “and include examples of security incidents and the details of colleagues to contact if they think they have fallen victim" to an attack. Organizations also should conduct regular simulated phishing attacks to ensure employee awareness, experts say.

IEEE Educational Activities has partnered with ISACA, an international professional association focused on IT governance, to offer the ISACA Cybersecurity Nexus (CSX) training platform to organizations as a partner solution that complements IEEE's research, standards, and education programs.

The CSX program provides real-world cybersecurity training to help professionals identify and mitigate potential cyberattacks through hands-on, performance-based courses in a live network environment. The on-demand program is presented in a self-paced format.

The CSX platform includes:

  • Instructional courses and labs in a sandbox environment that safely replicates the world practitioners work in every day. The courses enable technical teams to build, practice, and test their skills in a live environment.
  • Technical skill-set training, from beginner to advanced.
  • A dashboard to review team performance, with real-time progress-tracking.
  • More than 300continuing professional education credit hours that can be applied toward earning the CSX cybersecurity practitioner certification as well as similar credentials.

Learn how you can help your IT professionals and other employees build critical cybersecurity skills with the CSX platform.

A CSX on-demand session offers an understanding of current cybersecurity trends and can help you determine the level of cyberthreats to your organization.

MORE RESOURCES

IEEE Educational Activities is also hosting the virtual event, Cybersecurity Considerations for an Effective Cyber Strategy Within Your Workforce, on 28 October. The presenters are CSX's senior director of emerging technologies and innovation Dustin Brewer and BlueVoyant's senior director of proactive services Frank Downs. This event, featuring a live Q&A, will provide an understanding of the current cybersecurity trends that will help you determine the level of cyber threats to your organization. It will be available on-demand after the live event concludes.

Johanna Perez is a digital marketing specialist for IEEE Educational Activities.

This article was updated from an earlier version.

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Economics Drives Ray-Gun Resurgence

Laser weapons, cheaper by the shot, should work well against drones and cruise missiles

4 min read
In an artist’s rendering, a truck is shown with five sets of wheels—two sets for the cab, the rest for the trailer—and a box on the top of the trailer, from which a red ray is projected on an angle, upward, ending in the silhouette of an airplane, which is being destroyed

Lockheed Martin's laser packs up to 300 kilowatts—enough to fry a drone or a plane.

Lockheed Martin

The technical challenge of missile defense has been compared with that of hitting a bullet with a bullet. Then there is the still tougher economic challenge of using an expensive interceptor to kill a cheaper target—like hitting a lead bullet with a golden one.

Maybe trouble and money could be saved by shooting down such targets with a laser. Once the system was designed, built, and paid for, the cost per shot would be low. Such considerations led planners at the Pentagon to seek a solution from Lockheed Martin, which has just delivered a 300-kilowatt laser to the U.S. Army. The new weapon combines the output of a large bundle of fiber lasers of varying frequencies to form a single beam of white light. This laser has been undergoing tests in the lab, and it should see its first field trials sometime in 2023. General Atomics, a military contractor in San Diego, is also developing a laser of this power for the Army based on what’s known as the distributed-gain design, which has a single aperture.

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