When one of the most senior figures in British security remarks that cyber security is a global threat, you know he isn’t beating about the bushes – he’s informed, he knows, and he’s happy to spread the bad news.
Jonathan Evans, director general of MI5, the British intelligence agency that works to protect the UK’s national security against threats, informed an audience at the Lord Mayor’s inaugural annual Defence and Security Lecture, that although cyber crime has been a threat to network security for many years, we are now in an era defined by prominent activity.
Such is the threat of online malicious activity to the integrity of UK security that it is up there with terrorism as one of the four major security challenges the country has to battle on a daily basis. 24/7, one simply cannot rest on one’s laurels.
“Vulnerabilities in the internet are being exploited aggressively not just by criminals but also by states,” he said in a speech entitled The Olympics and Beyond. “And the extent of what is going on is astonishing – with industrial-scale processes involving many thousands of people lying behind both state sponsored cyber espionage and organised cyber crime.”
Serious words indeed. Backing up his arguments about the need to develop a robust system, tighter relationships with various organisations and improved sharing of best practice, he cited an example of how detrimental the actions of cyber criminals can be.
One major company, listed on the London Stock Exchange, was hit with revenue losses of £800 million – just imagine that on a national scale and you begin to see a clear picture of how damaging this can be. That money could be redirected elsewhere, help create jobs and boost economic activity.
“This is a threat to the integrity, confidentiality and availability of government information but also to business and to academic institutions,” he added.
“What is at stake is not just our government secrets but also the safety and security of our infrastructure, the intellectual property that underpins our future prosperity and the commercially sensitive information that is the life-blood of our companies and corporations.”
We definitely agree that it is important to develop closer links within the IT industry, across sectors that specialise in risk management, information security, ethical hacking and business continuity.
This is why Acumin hosts and invests heavily in RANT, a forward-thinking, blue-sky thinking risk and network threat forum. We love conversation, ideas, communicating with people – even those we don’t agree with – and exchanging information, which is the most valuable currency we have.
“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”
So said the renowned American journalist Sydney J Harris. Bear this in mind and there’s nothing an organisation cannot achieve. We’re in this together; a team.