LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of Homeland Security is warning U.S. businesses of the chance of cyberattacks.
Though there is no specific threat to U.S. businesses, Jeff Chandler, a Louisville cybersecurity expert, says now is the time to prepare a plan to protect confidential data.
Chandler knew as a child that he wanted to be an engineer. He has always enjoyed working with his hands and solving problems.
The University of Louisville graduate is the owner of Z-JAK Technologies, which provides information technology and cybersecurity services.
The IT specialist keeps his family in mind with everything he does.
The “JAK” in his company’s name are the initials of his children’s names.
“The JAK reminds me to keep my family part of the plan, that I don't want to prioritize everything I'm doing with my business over my own family,” Chandler said.
The Z symbolizes the end goal of helping clients resolve technology issues.
Chandler and other specialists at his office monitor clients’ networks for risks. He’s keeping an eye on possible malware attacks amidst the war on Ukraine.
“What we're concerned about is that if something were to happen, let's say that there's malware going back and forth between Ukraine and Russian companies and government agencies, so if people were to accidentally get that malware in the wild, it gets loose, potentially it could impact a business anywhere in the world,” Chandler said.
Cybercriminals can copy confidential information from systems and ransom it back to businesses and even clients in triple threat attacks.
“They will threaten your clients that they will release their confidential information like their bank accounts, social security numbers, anything considered confidential unless that client pays the criminal ransom,” Chandler said.
With almost 40 years in the business, Chandler’s biggest piece of advice is simple. Think before you click.
“90% of attacks happen because someone clicked a phishing email,” he said.
Chandler says businesses can protect data by using strong passwords, two-factor authentication, cybersecurity training and backing up critical information.
“If the criminals you're sending the data to or your money to are on the terrorist watch list, potentially you could face civil fines in the U.S. for dealing with a terrorist organization,” Chandler said.
Chandler said that on average it costs a small business $150,000 to recover from a cyberattack.
“60% of small businesses fail or go out of business within a year of having a cyberattack, I want to prevent that from happening,” he said.
That means staying a step ahead of cybercriminals.
Z-JAK Technologies provides weekly cyber safety tips on its blog and on its YouTube channel.