SC businesses hold Cybersecurity Summit to focus on threats

COLUMBIA, S.C. -Small and medium-sized businesses from across South Carolina were in Columbia Tuesday for a Cybersecurity Summit, to learn how to better protect themselves and your personal information.

“Those governmental agencies or businesses have your information, so businesses are doing all they can to protect it,” says Ted Pitts, president and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the summit. “But ultimately, if a breach occurs, the individuals whose information is housed inside those systems is vulnerable and compromised. So businesses want to be good, strong protectors of people’s personal information and this summit is an effort to try to help businesses secure that, understand what the threats are out there, because it’s an ever-changing environment.”

They talked about recent threats like the “Wannacry” ransomware that hit computers worldwide. It infected computers and demanded owners pay a ransom to get rid of it or they’d lose all their data.

Jacob Cook, VP of business development for Sun Solutions in Columbia, says they learned how that could have been prevented. “A big part of that was people that didn’t update their Microsoft applications, and so it’s basic things. They refer to it as blocking and tackling a lot here, but running updates where that could have been prevented by anyone that ran an update,” he says.

Besides keeping their hardware and software up-to-date, businesses also need to make sure their employees are trained on emails to avoid, since many hacks have occurred after an employee opened a “phishing” email. Companies can also use what’s called two-factor authentication to have their employees log-in to their computers. That means they have a key fob that generates a number that’s constantly changing and they have to enter that number in addition to their username and password.