We live in an age where every kind of expert is on hand to help. Whilst many of us may not have the budget or even the inclination, the lives of the rich and famous are often bolstered by a team including personal trainers, stylists, therapists and nutritionists.
Now it seems there is a new person on the block – the cyber security guru to aid not only their physical security but their virtual wellbeing.
Cyber security consultants, or gurus, to the stars have found themselves highly sought after in the wake of well-publicised cyber-attacks, particularly those affecting individuals in the public eye. After all, high profile individuals do not want to find their personal emails and communications, private photo collection or their family's movements online for all to see.
David Beckham, Hillary Clinton and Jennifer Lawrence all found themselves the victims of these violations and with reputations on the line, the cost of hiring a cyber-security specialist is a small price to pay to keep that information out of the wrong hands.
Aside from their notable wealth and prominence, the entourage surrounding members of the rich and famous offer cyber-criminals even more digital doors through which to access a target's personal information. Commissioning the skills of security firms such as K2 Intelligence, Hillard Heintze and Guidepost Solutions, more and more celebrities are paying upwards of £2,770 for what is being dubbed a “cyber-hygiene” session. A cost of fame, millionaires, superstar athletes and Hollywood's A-listers must employ more caution as they are more susceptible to the most sophisticated attacks and while brand is a top concern, so too are fraud, identity theft and the potential for personal information being manipulated by stalkers and ransom-seeking kidnappers.
Cyber-security consultants will assess how secure their client's Wi-Fi network is and will educate both their client and those that make up their inner circle on the nature of phishing attacks which, in the case of celebrities, whose lives are plastered across every news portal both in print and online, can be frighteningly personalised. Consultants will work on strengthening a client's pass codes, and in some cases recommend them to be regularly changed, comb through all smartphones, laptops, tablets, external hard drives, cloud accounts and additional connected devices, enable two-factor authentication for access to email and social media accounts and set up a password management app to enable clients to store complex log-ins without the need to memorise them.
A cyber-security guru may also install tracking software on their client's devices which would send an automatic alert to the cyber-security firm's monitoring centre if abnormal behaviour was detected. For some clients, their consultant may even suggest buying new phones on a regular basis, both for themselves and their personal staff. In truth it is the people that make up a client's “entourage” or personal staff who act as the weakest link when it comes to data breaches, which is why applying best practice for all those involved to follow is the highest priority for a cyber-security guru. Knowing who has access to the server and log-ins and who might be in a position to intercept a spam email and thus make the client vulnerable to a phishing attack are key points for a consultant to have in their arsenal of defence.
With solid experience and knowledge of technology and how to defend it against would-be attackers, cyber-security experts will know which apps their clients should avoid due to security flaws, as well as advising those individuals who handle the client's private financial affairs, ie lawyers and financial planners, on how best to protect sensitive data. Providing at best peace of mind, cyber-security consultants to the stars create a wall that is proverbially higher and more sustainable than the physical boundary surrounding the homes of most celebrities and tycoons. This in itself acts as an effective guard against cyber-criminals who, more often than not, will become aptly deterred when faced with any kind of resistance.
Contributed by Simon Wright, Operations Director of CareersinCybersecurity.co.uk