#DTX2021: Houston, We Have a Breach: Cyber Preparedness Advice From Lisa Forte

#DTX2021: Houston, We Have a Breach: Cyber Preparedness Advice From Lisa Forte

At DTX in London Excel on October 6 2021, Red Goat Cyber Security founder, Lisa Forte, delivered a session on cyber breach preparedness. Forte used examples of mountaineering and caving to demonstrate how to prepare for a breach.

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Themes of preparedness, communication and coordination ran through Forte’s talk, titled ‘Houston we have a breach!”

“Human beings are terrible decision makers under pressure. Cognitive processes are surpassed and we [fail to] work off facts.

“Why do humans fail under pressure? That falls into two categories — panic and choking.” The former, Forte explained, is a reversion to instinct. “When you panic, you think too little about things and experience a perpetual narrowing.”

In the latter category — choking — the opposite is true. “You overthink a situation and paralyse yourself with decision-making. You think too much, see too many options, and lose instinctual response.”

This is why it is essential that organizations practice breach preparedness, advised Forte. “You don’t want to realise that people on your crisis management team are incapable in the middle of a crisis,” said Forte, “that would be terrible.”

Forte advocated a six-step plan to ensure cyber breach preparedness:

  1. Plan — “do your research”
  2. Invest wisely — “consider what equipment you need”
  3. Train and rehearse — “Plans need to make sense and be tested for execution”
  4. Playbooks — “you need playbooks for the things you anticipate could happen to your company”
  5. Redundancy
  6. Debriefs — “The crucial last step is to debrief every relevant incident, even if it happens to a competitor rather than to you. Debrief the problems, the response, the criticism, and learn from it.”

“You can’t firefight whilst also looking at the bigger picture,” Forte explained. “You can’t make everything secure, safe and bullet-proof, but you can plan for every eventuality so you don’t have to make it up on the spot.”

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