Author Gary Hibberd
Following the terrible attacks on Paris on Friday 13th November, the UK government have today announced that Islamic State is plotting Cyber attacks on the National Infrastructure in the UK.
In truth, this is not a surprise. Our world is increasingly dependent and reliant on ‘cyber’ and therefore an attack on National Infrastructure was ALWAYS going to be a possibility. But the announcement today of this potential has come with a number of measures which the UK Government are putting in place in a bid to respond effectively to the growing threat.
“Whatever is online is [also] a target”
Speaking to the BBC, George Osbourne has said, “From our banks to our cars, our military to our schools, whatever is online is also a target. The stakes could hardly be higher. If our electricity supply, or our air traffic control, or our hospitals were successfully attacked online, the impact could be measured not just in terms of economic damage but of lives lost.”
He will add: “They do not yet have that capability. But we know they want it, and are doing their best to build it.”
UK Government Reacts
David Cameron has committed to doubling UK funding to fight cybercrime to £1.9Bn a year by 2020 which includes the fight against cyberterrorism. This money will be spent on raising awareness for businesses to improve their security through standards such as Cyber Essentials and hardening national infrastructures, such as the National grid and air traffic control systems.
In other news, the hacker group known as ‘Anonymous’ has released a video in which it states that it will launch its ‘biggest operation ever’ against ISIS and promises to ‘hunt down the attackers’ and tells the terrorist group to “Expect massive cyber attacks, War is declared. Get prepared. Anonymous from all over the world will hunt you down. You should know that we will find you and we will not let you go.”
The hacker group have already released over 1000 Twitter accounts which are linked to IS under it’s ‘Operation Paris’ #Oppparis page.
How YOU should React
It goes without saying that the ‘reality’ of what has happened is still unfolding for many of us. In the ‘real’ world there are a number of steps we can take to be better prepared for and respond to such events (this is the topic for another blog) but fundamentally, your business should be looking closely at its Crisis Management and Business Continuity planning processes in the light of such attacks.
In the ‘cyber’ world, we need to be just as vigilant and take steps to protect our own systems against attack, just as the UK government is with National Infrastructure. Each of us has a part to play in this interconnected universe, so you need to start thinking about your own security.
• Have you installed Anti-virus software on your PCs and Mobile devices?
• When was the last time you updated your Firewalls? Anti-virus? Operating Systems?
• Have you changed your passwords recently?
• What security training do you provide to your staff?
It’s great to hear that the UK Government are taking prudent measures to protect the National Infrastructure, but in truth, these measures were being made BEFORE the terrorist attacks in Paris. This is because they are seen as not only prudent, but necessary.
Our National Infrastructure is a complex network of interconnected systems and controls which are operated by some of the weakest control systems on the planet. These ‘weak control systems’ are not computers; they are human. ‘People’ need to think about protection of systems and not simply expect the system to protect itself – it needs resources; including trained people and money.
The awful attacks in Paris have wider implications for Governments, businesses and individuals than we truly understand at this time. Over the coming weeks and months there will be much uncertainty and fear about further attacks. By being AWARE and VIGILANT of risks both in the real and cyber world means we can all play our part in helping to prevent future attacks.
Finally, I would like to say our thoughts and prayers are with all those who are directly and indirectly affected by terrorist attacks, not only in Paris but all similar acts around the world.
Agenci Information Security is responsible for protecting businesses from cyber threats, cyber-attack, internal threats and business outages. Agenci Information Security ensures clients systems are secure and provide peace of mind through a range of proven specialist information security solutions.
If you’d like to discuss Crisis Management, Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery then please contact Gary please click here, or email him @ firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also call him on 0845 4133 666