After reading the feature on the website of ZDNet this week, the phrase “just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean that they are NOT out to get you”, immediately sprung to mind.
They had listed out what they referred to as a ‘spotters’ guide to the groups who are out to get you. This list of what others would call ‘threat vectors’, should make the uninitiated sit up and take notice of all those individuals, groups and opportunists who given the right set of circumstances would gladly take what they can from an unprotected data source.
These style of categorised lists are both a good thing and a bad. They do illustrate the risks from terrorists and state backed hacking, however SME’s understandably may sit and ponder if their small manufacturing facility in a remote part of the UK is actually a potential target for international criminal gangs. The answer is of course, yes! Although, maybe not directly. As has been stated many times cyber crime has scale and breadth, meaning that the aforementioned SME may be targeted in a highly organised and sophisticated phishing scam leading to disruption and loss.
To counter this article the website ITProPortal is worth reviewing as they also published a list this week; “Five steps to effectively manage a cyber-attack”. They point out that ‘It is no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ your organisation will have to deal with a cyber-attack’ and with two thirds of the UK’s big businesses having been hit in the last year, preparation for all businesses is key, if not mission critical.
The five steps they refer to are : Identify, Contain, Eliminate, Restore, Investigate and each comes with a useful explanation, which to the more cyber aware may sound obvious, however anything that can be done to spur more and more people across all roles in all businesses to start thinking about cyber deserves praise.
Of course many may still believe that the risk is still small and not really relevant to them. Sadly it’s not. A headline from earlier in the year quoted figures from the National Strategic Assessment (NSA), an analysis by the National Crime Agency of serious and organised crime threats affecting the UK, that UK cyber-crime exceeds £16 billion losses.
How long can businesses go on sustaining losses of that magnitude from crime? If this was physical crime, as opposed to cyber crime, there would be a national outcry with people fortifying their homes and businesses to prevent any form of loss.
How can the tide be turned? In this report’s preface, NCA director general Keith Bristow says: “Serious and organised crime affects us all. It is a pervasive national security threat with far-reaching effects on the UK’s social and economic well-being and international reputation. Its perpetrators are highly innovative and tenacious in pursuing their goals; our response must be resourceful and relentless”
So does that mean that I was right at the start of this piece? That they are indeed out to get us! And I can promise you; I’m not paranoid.
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