This content is produced by Studio/B

Produced by Studio/B

Foreword by BG BrandLab

This article is a part of BG BrandLab’s Cybersecurity Special Report, meant to provide insights about today’s cyberthreats and the steps readers can take—as  individuals, employees, and decision-makers—to protect against them.

Dear reader,

In July 2018, staff writer Hiawatha Bray wrote of former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats’ warning that weaknesses in US cybersecurity could be leaving us vulnerable to the cyber equivalent of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He called it a “Code Red.” Those threats have not dissipated. Attackers target individuals, enterprises, small and medium businesses, nonprofits, cities, and government agencies. In short, no one—and no entity—is immune to cyberthreats.

But the purpose of this special section is not to provoke fear. It is to educate. There are steps you can take—as an individual, an employee, or a business decision-maker—to protect against cyberthreats. Firstly, you have to acknowledge the realities of these risks. As you will read in our piece, “The biggest cybersecurity risks threatening Boston-area businesses right now,” cybercriminals have access to more sophisticated tools and technologies than ever before. They are also exercising startling reserve—sometimes taking months, or even years, to execute a plan “just right.”

Attack types vary. So, too, do motives. Cybercrime perpetrators range from enemy states trying to harm the nation through election manipulation, theft, or destruction; to foreign groups searching for trade secrets; to terrorist organizations, organized crime rings, and lone wolves hungry for a payday. It is harder to catch these criminals when they attack from outside of the US, but cybercrime comes from inside the country, too.

Adversaries are increasingly attacking small companies and individuals, not just large corporations or government entities. Sometimes smaller victims are stepping-stones to a larger goal. Other times, they are low-hanging fruit—an easy mark, as too often, they have overlooked cybersecurity basics.

The aim of this special section is to raise awareness about risks and best practices, evoke discussion, and promote collaboration. We also want to acknowledge the great work being done in Boston. In “Why Boston is a cybersecurity hotbed,” we explore why Boston is uniquely positioned to harbor a flourishing cybersecurity ecosystem. This region has the talent pool and the customer base to support all stages of a company’s growth. The city also benefits from unique nonprofit organizations and a collaborative atmosphere in which public and private organizations work together to solve tough cybersecurity challenges.

So, read on. Take it seriously, but don’t feel helpless. Take steps to mitigate risk. Consider the tips and security solutions mentioned in this report. Ask questions of your bank, healthcare provider, and anyone who has access to your personal data. Share what you have learned with your colleagues, bosses, families, and friends. If you are a student, consider studying cybersecurity-related skills. Tell your local representative that cybersecurity matters to you. Donate to a nonprofit making strides in their fight to strengthen our defenses. Sound the alarm—and be a part of the solution.  


The BG BrandLab team

A special thanks to our section sponsors. Without their support, we would not have the resources to produce this report. We are also indebted to our sources. We saw first-hand that some of the greatest minds in the cybersecurity space live or work right here in Massachusetts. Thank you for your insights.

This content was produced by Boston Globe Media's Studio/B. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in its production or display.