Industries providing essential services such as power, telecommunications and banking are adequately protected to avoid disruption to our everyday lives.
Speaking at a summit for the financial, water, energy, communications and transport sectors, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable said that cyber attacks are a serious and growing threat to British businesses, but it is particularly important that those industries providing essential services such as power, telecommunications and banking are adequately protected to avoid disruption to our everyday lives.
Cable said: “We can only achieve this objective through a partnership between government, the regulators and industry. Today’s event marks the next step in highlighting the important role of the regulators in overseeing the adoption of robust cyber security measures by the companies that supply these crucial services.”
Chris McIntosh of ViaSat UK, said that this speech and the Waking Shark 2 results make it clear that that we have reached a tipping point in cyber security, as the decisions made now will have a severe impact on the future of the country’s essential infrastructure such as energy.
He said: “While previously relatively safe from cyber attacks, the modernisation of these networks means they are now closely connected to the internet and so more vulnerable than ever. While at one level any threat could involve targeting individual sections of the networking, denying certain services at specific areas, at the extreme level attacks could potentially overload systems or override safety mechanisms, causing catastrophic damage to the surrounding area and the infrastructure as a whole.
“Cyber attacks have developed to such a sophisticated level that they should now be viewed on a par with a physical attack on infrastructure. In future organisations such as banks, gas distribution, rail signalling and mobile companies will need to ensure their networks are secure from attack at each individual point in order to meet these challenges; and decide whether increased connectivity for ease of access and communication is worth the risk to the wider network. Such threats are likely to become more commonplace in coming years; ignoring them completely is definitely no longer an option.”
Speaking to IT Security Guru, Ross Brewer, vice president and managing director international markets at LogRhythm, said that he felt that the UK Government is doing a lot with cyber response when there is a lot happening with critical national infrastructure. “We see organisations fit within the Cyber Security Strategy and as Government has briefed on cyber intelligence, a number of businesses will say ‘there might be a problem here’. Well our view is that this is part of the broader strategy and it is all very good, as it is increasing the ability by talking publicly.”
Paul Ayers, VP EMEA at data security expert Vormetric, called this a “new chapter in the cyber security conversation”. He said: “The threat posed by online criminals is now well beyond the realm of big business, financial institutions or even private companies; it now involves industries linked inextricably to our everyday existence – from power operators to telecommunications providers. Havoc can be bred anywhere.
“More is certainly needed to be done in order to protect IT systems and to safeguard the valuable assets they contain, whether that’s personal data, online services or intellectual property.”
ell, director of cyber security at Stonesoft, a McAfee Group Company, said: “With the financial, water, energy, communications and transport sectors being the lifeblood of UK plc, it is encouraging to see Government focusing on this threat to the country’s core infrastructure. It is of upmost importance that cyber security is not only front-of-mind, but that each industry is prepared for these ever-increasingly complex attacks through comprehensive training.
“Government agencies can help here and should be involved in these preparations as private and public sectors must combine their expertise to thwart ever-more sophisticated hackers. Today’s summit is an important milestone in ensuring that collaboration occurs.”