Cy­ber se­cu­rity should be the next fron­tier for de­fence

Khaleej Times - - NATION -

Al­le­ga­tions of GRU (Rus­sian Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence) pen­e­tra­tion of Western cy­ber sys­tems pro­pels war­fare into a new di­men­sion. It graph­i­cally il­lus­trates that a per­pet­ual race is in full swing be­tween in­truder and de­fender. The digi­ti­sa­tion of so­ci­ety has cre­ated progress and em­pow­er­ment. But it also has a dark side — cy­ber crime and cy­ber war­fare. There is con­cern that while there is some­thing of a dig­i­tal equi­lib­rium be­tween cy­ber su­per­pow­ers based on the as­sump­tion sin­is­ter in­tru­sions will re­sult in re­tal­i­a­tion, some state-spon­sored at­tacks are will­ing to cause se­ri­ous dam­age.

Over the past four years, fi­nan­cial hack­ing has wiped out $55 bil­lion in share­holder value. Ex­perts are pre­dict­ing that the next mega global fi­nan­cial cri­sis could be trig­gered by a mul­ti­pronged cy­ber at­tack. Many at­tacks are the di­rect re­sult of hu­man be­hav­iour and poor man­age­ment. The next ma­jor cy­ber as­sault could de­velop into a tril­lion dol­lar melt­down. Ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try es­ti­mates, global in­sti­ti­tions take a hit of about $400 bil­lion a year be­cause of cy­ber at­tacks. At this pace, the losses could mount to a to­tal to $6 tril­lion by 2022.

The global cost of cy­ber­hack­ing is roughly $400 bil­lion a year with the loss of 500,00 jobs. A for­mer cy­ber head of the UK’s MI5 said, “There a now three cer­tain­ties in life: death, taxes and for­eign in­tel­li­gence ser­vice in your sys­tem.”

In 2015, one of the ma­jor banks in the US was hacked by a well-planned cy­ber at­tack, and per­sonal in­for­ma­tion of about 83 mil­lion cus­tomers was com­pro­mised.

Many un­re­ported at­tacks have been merely test­ing of de­fences. A wellplanned, cy­ber blitzkrieg could eco­nom­i­cally paral­yse our mod­ern world which is to­tally in­de­pen­dent on tech­nol­ogy.

Over the past decade, there has been fright­en­ing progress in the field of in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy. Cy­ber hack­ers have bro­ken into sys­tems once con­sid­ered im­preg­nable and se­cure from in­tru­sion. The next event that rat­tles the world could be a so­phis­ti­cated 911 mega cy­ber at­tack. The writer is a KT reader based in Johannesburg, South Africa

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