#Article (Archive)

Cybercrime, a threat to national security

Oct 23, 2019, 12:25 PM

(Friday 18 October 2019 Issue)

The threat of cybercrime to businesses around the globe is rising fast. According to one estimate by McAfee, the damages associated with cybercrime now stands at over $400 billion, up from $250 billion two years ago, with the costs incurred by UK business also running in the billions. In a bid to stave off e-criminals, organisations are increasingly investing in ramping up their digital frontiers and security protocols. However,  many are still put off by the costs, or by the bewildering range of tools and services available. Five reasons why investing in cyber security is a sensible decision to make.

It is an undisputable fact that the technology that pervades our lives on almost every level is dangerously vulnerable to hackers, and neither the government nor the private sector is making much progress toward protecting sensitive and private information.

Cyber security seems to be like the old saying about the weather - everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.

In recent years, we’ve seen a rash of data breaches resulting in identity theft and fraudulent charges on credit cards. In 2013, a data breach at Target stores exposed 41 million customer payment cards. More recently, data breaches have exposed the personal data of millions of customers of the Marriott hotel chain and millions of people whose information was on file with Equifax, the giant credit-reporting company. The list of breaches goes on, with many smaller-scale security lapses causing problems for people but not making headlines.

Then there are the hacking attacks on social media, which range from mildly annoying to downright sinister, such as the Russian efforts to spread false information during our 2016 presidential campaign.

Even more alarming are the threats to national security, including the potential for cyber attacks on critical defense systems.

‘‘We need to take lessons learned from fighting terrorism and apply them to cyber crime.’’

Robert Mueller