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Cybersecurity expert says company executives must commit to reducing data breach risks

September 21, 2017

Daphne Yao
Virginia Tech cybersecurity expert Daphne Yao

Detecting and preventing data breach requires a broad range of security mechanisms, strong commitment from leaders, and continuous effort from everyone involved, says Virginia Tech cybersecurity expert Daphne Yao.

“The biggest and constant fear for large organizations is data breach. As perpetrators are invisible, anonymous, and appearing omnipresent, this fear is indeed understandable and justified,” says Yao, an associate professor of computer science.

“There are multiple ways to reduce data breach risks in enterprises. The recent massive Equifax data breach likely involved multiple points of failure in the enterprise cyber ecosystem. Several weaknesses have probably existed in their cyber infrastructures for a substantial period of time.”

Yao says company executives and upper managers must understand what attackers are capable of doing.

“For example, high-value targets tend to subject to advanced persistent threats, where the attack goal is usually cyber espionage, as opposed to causing disruptive damages. Attackers may exploit system vulnerabilities, conduct reconnaissance on the target, and covertly steal sensitive information over a long period of time. In addition, data loss posed by malicious insiders is also extremely prickly.”

About Yao
Yao is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science in Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering and has broad experience working with system, network, and program security. She has managed major federal research and development projects, has published high-impact, award-winning research papers, has patented several security technologies, and has been involved in top computer security conferences and journals. Daphne Yao is an Elizabeth and James E. Turner Jr. '56 Faculty and L-3 Faculty Fellow. Learn more here.

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To secure an interview with Yao, please contact Shannon Andrea in the media relations office at sandrea@vt.edu or 571-858-3262.

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