21 February 2020

Tech Perspective #3: Just How Safe Have You Made Your Data, Really?


Today’s issue examines the world of cybersecurity and why everyone should remain protected – especially the Chairman.

  • Jeff Bezos, World’s Wealthiest Man, Victim of Data Breach
  • BiggerYouAre –TheBiggertheVulnerabilities
  • Never Stop Protecting: Your Security is Everyone’s Security

The United Nations and cybersecurity experts have widely concluded that Jeff Bezos, Chairman and CEO of Amazon, had his personal data compromised, via popular messaging platform, WhatsApp.

Bezos, the world’s richest man, whose leadership oversees one of the world’s largest companies, even includes prominent news outlets, such as the Washington Post.

What Exactly Happened to Amazon’s CEO?

The scope of the attack consisted of a video message, which when opened, allegedly activated malware dubbed Pegasus-3, prompting an extraction of the targeted device’s data. In the Bezos case, this occurred over several months, identified by data transfer ‘spikes’. Each instance consisted of up to 4.6 GB of exfiltrated data.

The alleged ‘smoking gun’, belongs to a class of nominally powerful legitimate law enforcement tools, enabling remote surveillance of target devices. Such levels of know-how whilst exclusively sophisticated, exist for resourceful – and motivated – actors, from competing firms to nation-states.

Naturally, the contents of the data have not been released. However, it is clear that any such individual wields significant knowledge and power, whose actions impact the livelihoods – and even the lives – of his nearly 1 million employees, and those affected by his companies’ operations.

Stakes are High – Threats are Real

It does, however, seem, that even influential figures are at-risk of malicious cybercrime. This serves as a single reminder. Data security remains imperative throughout the growth of your company, and brand as a CEO. The larger you become, the larger the target you become.

Naturally, every security system will always have vulnerabilities. Keeping your data out of the hands of malicious forces is an endless game of tug-of-war. But ensuring a robust cybersecurity infrastructure and keeping it up to date is the best possible defence.

Computer viruses, malware, and clandestine online activity are no-longer novelties. Today, we’re subject to attacks on our bank accounts, local hospitals, or even public transport networks. The temporary interruption of computer systems via a suspiciously worded email attachment is a relic of simpler times. With the onset of the Internet of Things  the multitude of IoT devices provides any number of new possible entry points into an internal system.

Interestingly, in Bezos’ case, the trick appeared to have been old-fashioned. In either case, cybersecurity remains a priority and companies must stay vigilant. As any delivery method may work, whether it be simple, or savvy.

Impact on Your Business

The most sophisticated methods of attack are however expensive.

In an interview with CNN, cybersecurity experts from the Center for Strategic and International Studies claim market rates range from USD50,000 – USD150,000, indicating a high level of resourcefulness is necessary to carry out such an operation. That leaves most people out of the firing line, but those with the keys to lucrative information are still financially viable targets.

What this can essentially signify, is the more visible your company, the higher the likelihood of a cyberattack.

The consequence of a successful operation could result in the extortion of a C-level manager, orcompromising the data of your 143 million customers, or revealing the personal information of those powering your organisation – your employees.

These examples, and many more, remind us to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of your information. In a market where connectivity is king – your compromise could be the compromise of hundreds of your employees.

Read more stories on tech and business on our blog.

Marcin Bartoszuk
Chief Operating Officer

With Microsoft technologies related since 2005. He graduated from the Computer Science Faculty of the Bialystok University of Technology where he was the leader of the .NET Group and the Microsoft Student Partner. Four times finalist of the national stage of the Imagine Cup competition, and later the mentor and the jury member of the contest. Co-founder of the Bialystok .NET Group. He lectured .NET development at the Bialystok University of Technology. Microsoft MVP in the Client Application Development category in 2008-2010, when he actively participated in the IT community. Constant new technology enthusiast and IT consultant.