For Vancouver’s Thierry LeVasseur, managing communication systems that deal with extranets, intranets multi-channel systems make him “tick.” A 25-year veteran of the cyber security industry, Levasseur is a pioneer in the world of digital technology and email security.
Starting his career as a tech entrepreneur, Thierry LeVasseur developed corporate intranet programs and websites for internal company use and eventually began managing communication systems that dealt with sensitive information for commercial, governmental and nonprofit clients. Levasseur’s efforts have heavily focused on data vulnerability and hacking, and email privacy tools. His patents, used to strengthen security functions, utilize the “for your eyes only” features that prevent data from being leaked.
He has most recently been influential in the world of startups by providing cloud-based content management for multichannel communication systems. Now, LeVasseur wants to share digital security tips with current CEO’s to help them engage with their employees in day-to-day work under maximum security, which will cut down on vulnerability and protect private data.
Q: Why do you believe email security is often placed on the backburner, and how can companies stress the importance of privacy?
A: I’m not sure it’s necessarily placed on the backburner, as much as it’s people thinking that they can spot a spam or phishing scheme. Scammers have really become sophisticated in their efforts to phish for private information, and employees, managers and even CEO’s fall victim to it. Hackers can also share viruses such as ransomware and malware along to many people at once. Unfortunately, many companies email systems aren’t armed with much security or privacy, and it allows the hackers to prey on the user. Companies can enforce knowing the source of the email and limiting the number of unknown files the employee opens.
Q: Besides passwords, what are some authorization methods that can help secure systems? Passwords simply don’t seem like they are “enough” anymore.
A: I am seeing the two-factor authentication security keys being used often. Basically, that authentication is set up so that the hacker can’t access information without a physical key, even if they’ve obtained your password. It’s different from traditional two-factor authentication that sends an access code via text, making it very secure.
Q: Is there a price on cybercrime? Have companies suffered financially from a breach in security, and if so, how much?
A: There’s a price, and it’s not cheap. Over $600 million was stolen through cyber-attacks in 2017. That total includes attorney fees, cybersecurity improvements and everything in between. Not only is it incredibly inconvenient in the day-to-day office operations, but your insurance premiums are increased, and the potential loss of business is invaluable. It can take some companies years to recover. Research shows that the cost of cyber-criminal activity has been growing.
Q: Of course, formal training is the most beneficial in preventing cyber-attacks, but what are some basic tips that CEOs and managers can share with their employees?
A: The biggest tip I can give is to never click on an unknown link or attachment from an email that you weren’t expecting. Exercise extra caution when you don’t know the sender. With more organizations getting serious about cyber security, your bank won’t ask you to share personal information (such as a social security number or account password) via email. It’s inconvenient but changing your password often – and using unique characters – is extremely helpful. Always backup your information if you DO experience a cyber-attack. Never click on a link or an attachment on an unsolicited e-mail. And a bit of advice we all most likely received at some point in our lives: if something seems too good to be true, it usually is!
Q: What are some methods that hackers – or those committing the cybercrimes – use?
A: The most common method of cybercrimes is phishing – an email or link requesting personal information. Instead of consumer-driven phishing though, these are a different type that are aimed for businesses.