A Dec. 3 cyber security summit in Clinton Township was intended to help businesses learn the newest information around handling cyber attacks. It included a presentation and a four-person panel.

A Dec. 3 cyber security summit in Clinton Township was intended to help businesses learn the newest information around handling cyber attacks. It included a presentation and a four-person panel.

Photo by Alex Szwarc


Local summit examines cyber threats and attacks

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published January 11, 2022

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MACOMB COUNTY — A discussion on cyber security included attacks, what action to take and more.

The Macomb County Chamber of Commerce and Macomb County Planning and Economic Development hosted an annual cyber security summit Dec. 3 at the Italian Cultural Center in Clinton Township. It was intended to help businesses learn the newest information around handling cyber attacks.

The keynote presenter was Kelley Goldblatt, cybersecurity advisor for Michigan with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. In her role, Goldblatt works to strengthen cyber resiliency and security for the country’s critical infrastructure.

“Cyber and cyber security impacts everyone and touches everything,” she said. “Everything from our power, to banking, to transportation and military.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Goldblatt noted how cyber can impact work, as well.

“While the increase in technology has been a good thing, it’s also been a negative,” she said. “It’s helped create an alliance on the technology itself, which has led to additional vulnerabilities.”

In reviewing statistics from 2020 on what happens on the internet in one minute, Goldblatt said 190 million emails are sent, $1.1 million is spent shopping and 19 million text messages are sent.

“Looking at the stats from 2018, 2019 and 2020, all these numbers have just grown immensely,” she said.

Goldblatt noted that there are a lot more cyber security actions being taken that have a physical action associated with them.

“We’re seeing that in everything from transportation to production and even healthcare and buildings,” she added. “People like to take advantage of these vulnerabilities for a variety of purposes.”

Goldblatt mentioned that a hacker isn’t necessarily a bad person — rather, their motivation and intent need to be looked at.

“A hacktivist is somebody who wants to potentially do harm or have an impact on a computer network to advance their political or social cause,” she said.

Goldblatt defined a cyber insider as someone who has personal or individual knowledge associated with a computer network who may take actions against a network — intentional or unintentional.

“Unintentional would be someone who didn’t necessarily intend to go that far, but maybe is lacking in the understanding of how their actions can impact the network as a whole,” she said.

On the other end of the cyber spectrum is terrorism and warfare.

In talking about malicious cyber security actions, Goldblatt said ransomware attacks are big right now.

“In this case, a malicious hacker is trying to trick you into doing something you shouldn’t do,” she said. “Whether it’s giving your password or entering your social security number in places you shouldn’t enter.”

In the first half of 2021, Goldblatt cited that malware attacks decreased 22%, but ransomware attacks increased 151%.

After Goldblatt spoke, a four-person panel discussed cyber threats, provided real-world examples and explained cyber framework. The panel consisted of Veronica Baginski, Karen Kiewski, Doug Manska and Alexander Dwornick.

Brandon Lewis, director of the Macomb County Emergency Management and Communications Office, said one of his primary missions is to identify and analyze primary hazards facing residents and businesses.

“When I began my career in emergency management, cyber crime barely registered on that list,” he said. “Mostly, we were worried about someone else reading our emails.”

According to IBM’s Cost of Data Breach Report, cyber crime can disrupt and damage businesses and cost millions of dollars in the process. For instance, in 2021, the average cost of a data breach was $4.24 million, which covers discovering and responding to the violation, downtime and lost revenue, and long-term reputational damage.

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