If you could be granted one super power, I wonder how many of you would opt for ‘predicting the future’. Sure, there would be the obvious betting on future sporting events scam that you could utilise but if you think deeper than that, would it be a blessing or a curse?
What if you could have accurately predicted the rise in cybercrime and potential cyber terrorist attacks, could you have done anything to prevent them?
According to the academic paper, “Cyberspace, Terrorism and International Law”, published by Oxford Journals that I caught a glimpse of recently, the former US President Bill Clinton was fearful back in the late 90s of the style of cyber-attacks that are starting to happen and seeming more likely with each passing month.
Considering that back then 14.4k dial up modems were the preferred connection. No smart phones. No WiFi. CompuServe seemed to rule supreme and such household names as YouTube and FaceBook were still many years away from being digitally born.
If only Bill had made his fears public, perhaps we could have headed off this digital scourge before it became so globally rampant.
Saying that even today there are concerns that the threat is not being taken seriously by those with the responsibility for countermeasures and protection strategies within their organisations. The FBI, as the website TechRepublic recently illustrated, continue to do their best to inform the business community that cyber threats are a serious and growing concern with cyber intrusions becoming more commonplace, complex, and dangerous. Zero day exploits, spear phishing, and sophisticated malware attacks are all cited as the root cause for losses totalling billions each year.
Who knows, maybe Bill gave the FBI a tip off a few years ago and asked them to keep an eye on it all!
But what is the long term solution for the mitigation of cyber risk? There are many being suggested from across the technical, legal and political landscapes, but the one that Forbes magazine highlighted this week has a very old school charm about it.
According to them, there are three simple rules to keep you on top of the cyber threat.
The first is to Always Keep Learning. To have someone on your team has to take responsibility for keeping up with best practices as well as implementation.
The next is to Learn From The Mistakes Of Others. As we all know, it is becoming more common for information on compromised sites to be published online and used as examples in security white papers. This information can act as real world case studies for those planning the cyber defences of their own organisations.
This is then neatly wrapped up with the suggestion to Expose Your Security Flaws. Pull in a third party, an expert, an ethical hacker to use every tool and technique they have in their electronic arsenal to bring you to your digital knees. You’d much rather they did it, under controlled conditions, than the more frightening alternative.
So you don’t really need a super power to conquer cyber security, just listen to the advice that is freely available and always keep learning. In years to come the technical battles we are fighting today will look as quaint as that 14.4k dial up modem from back when Bill started to worry about it all.
For links to all these stories and more, or to contribute with some comments join us by searching for the National Cyber Skills Centre on our social channels of FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter, or just click the relevant links from our website.