The need for a collaborative effort against cybercrime

It has been revealed that NATO experienced 2,500 cyber attacks in 2012. Though an official stated that none of the attacks had successfully infiltrated NATO security, it has been reported that around ten attacks a month were considered “serious’ and a minority may have been state-sponsored.

The news came as officials met at NATO headquarters in Brussels to discuss the need for “rapid reaction teams” to assists alliance members in the event of an attack.

BSkyB has also recently announced plans to share intelligence with law enforcement agencies and competitors in the wake of an attack from the Syrian Electronic Army, which saw the group temporarily gain control over the @SkyHelpTeam Twitter account.

Paul Davis, VP of Europe at FireEye has made the following comment:

The revelations from NATO and BSkyB evidence how significantly the threat landscape has evolved in recent times. While the majority of the 2,500 attacks experienced by NATO in 2012 are likely to have been at the hands of the cyber criminals and hacker groups we have become familiar with over the last decade, the comparably small – yet significant – proportion of these attacks that are thought to be state-backed. This small but growing niche of far more personalized and sophisticated attacks can have a far greater impact on the target organization.

As far too many enterprises continue to use the same security technology that has been around for many years, we need greater education around the changing methods of cyber criminals, as the human layer still presents the greatest risk to an organization.

The continued education of people around modern security threats and the changing nature of the attackers’ goals is essential to mitigating the mounting risks facing UK businesses. As spear phishing continues to be the most successful method to instigate an attack, organizations should also be investing in technology that can identify and block malicious URLs and attachments for signs of malware in real-time.

In recent years, the level of sophistication demonstrated by hackers – both in terms of the malware in use and their methods of attack – has risen dramatically, and with the cyber threat showing no sign of slowing, BSkyB’s calls for increased collaboration aligns with the focus of the UK Government’s Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP).

There is a realization that we must share intelligence to gather real and meaningful data on the attackers’ motives and methods. It is for the greater good, and a commitment to sharing cyber intelligence can only be of benefit. The UK must continue to readdress security and invest in ongoing cyber skills development, together with the best available technology, as well as increasing the lines of communication within industries and as a nation.

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