Impact and challenges of increasing cyber security issues

Cyber attacks

By Marc Kahlberg

In understanding the real threats and extreme vulnerabilities that increasing cyber security issues bring to India and indeed the world, one must first understand that no country, no organization and no person is free or safe from a targeted attack.

The year 2016 will certainly be remembered for some of the most widely publicized hacks of all time. Hacks that included the listing of over 200 million records of Yahoo user credentials, the Iranian “Telegram” hack, the Brazilian anonymous group who took down a number of Brazilian government websites related to the Olympic games and more.

The scramble to make sure that the ability for a hacker to hack into and monitor ones desktop, laptop, mobile and industrial systems servers only happens to others is as deceiving as a false sense of security.

The overall global impact of hackers striking targets using anonymous infrastructure and stealthily intercept emails, VOIP calls and corporate servers for cyber espionage have certainly started to create a buzz globally. More and more startup companies have been developing “security tools of defense”, governments have been creating cyber awareness programs and designing new cyber divisions within law enforcement, government ministries and the military.

Interference with democratic elections is not a new concept but the cyber-attack factor enables both positive and negative management of social and traditional media in almost real time. Organizations, people and indeed politicians are judged by this platform of multiple vectors of cyber-social and traditional media.

Privacy is unfortunately merely a term used once again as a mode for describing a very false sense of reality. Where bullets and bombs can be contained, in the real world a cyber attack has no physical borders that can realistically be contained.

The Great Train Robbery where 15 gang members siphoned over 2.5 million British pounds from a Royal mail train heading from Glasgow to London in England on Thursday, 8 August 1963. Today the biggest bank robberies happen online and at times without a trace. In August 2016 a massive online cyber hack robbery stemming from Bangladesh used the SWIFT messaging system to silently steal over $80 million USD from Bangladesh banks.

The impact and the way ahead defined by the fact that cyber attacks and indeed cyber warfare are now solidly a part and parcel of political and military strategy and organized crime and terror organizations using the same tools for their dangerous ambitions, the world has indeed become a much more dangerous place.

The writer is CEO and MD of Vital Intelligence Group Ltd

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