Global Cyber Attacks What do translators need to know?

Last night I was updating our website’s content. All at once, the site disappeared with an “HTTP 500 Internal Server Error” (i.e. bad stuff). I immediately started a tech support chat with our hosting service, but to my surprise, the text chat window also had an “HTTP 500” error. The problem was my hosting service, not my site.

I was helpless. My site was down. The tech support site was down and our hosting service is one of the world’s largest.

My site finally reappeared over an hour later. Their tech support was flooded. I decided not to contribute to their flood of “what happened” queries. I was just grateful and I half-listened to CNN that was keeping me company in the background.

Not much later, a CNN tech report grabbed my attention: Companies across world hit by cyber attack. The report was describing, in near real-time, a “massive ransomware attack” hitting businesses around the world. Major companies were shutting down their systems in the face of paying a bitcoin digital ransom. The report continued that this was the third major global cyber attacks in the last 2 months. Each newer attacks persists longer and permeates many more computers than its predecessor.

I put 2 & 2 together. A quick text chat with tech support confirmed they were recovering from the Domino effect from that massive cyber attack.

My business was down but my computer hadn’t been hacked. My website hadn’t been hacked. Like many around the world, my business was collateral damage in the global war against cyber attacks.

This got me thinking. Our global translation services industry is inextricably intertwined with the cloud. The Internet has been the enabling technology that makes everything possible and we can’t do our business without it.

I don’t mean this to be a Chicken Little crying, “the sky is falling.” Nonetheless, every day, we’re building new cloud-based tools like online CATs and project management systems that must work in an environment clouded with cyber warfare.

How do these cyber attacks fit in? How vulnerable are you to becoming collateral damage in the Cyber war we must navigate? What steps can we take to reduce our vulnerability to these new risks that are totally out of our control?


Are there any ideas that you agree with? Any that you would add? Please add them to the comments box below!

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About the author: Tom Hoar is the Founder and Owner of Slate Rocks, LLC, a pioneer changing the translation ecosystem with software that empowers professionals make quality translations easier. With many years technology leadership and a tenacious passion providing technical support to professional translators, he’s become a true industry resource. Tom writes regular posts and blogs on translation technology. Tom is available for technology coaching, training, and keynote speaking. Check out his profile for more information.

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