Mr Robot, the award-winning TV series portrays a world where everyone and everything is under scrutiny. With a huge cult following that cuts across generations, it paints a picture of dark forces that control our every move. According to the show, survival in a technology-driven world depends on understanding, embracing and managing ever-increasing cyber risks. And quite often, art mirrors life in more ways than we might think.
As new data protection regulations come into effect on 25th May (GDPR), the onus is on firms to protect customer data. But, research shows that few UK organisations have a good understanding of the risks associated with cybercrime. Fewer still, realise that their reliance on cyberspace and its vulnerabilities may soon affect not just their business processes, but continuity, too.
Scale of the Problem
It is estimated that every day the world generates roughly 2.5 quadrillion bits of data. The emerging cyber risks reveal a world that is not only obsessed with data but is riddled with complexity. As we become ever more dependent on technology to manage our lives, hacking, malware, phishing and other data security issues are now commonplace. The digital economy has created a world of unlimited access and alerted us to the real dangers that we face, where anybody can be compromised, at any time, from any source.
There are many threat vectors. As cybercriminals hiding behind fake identities and data breaches become increasingly common, their impact echoes across industries. Consider the most significant data breaches of the recent past; eBay, Yahoo, Anthem Blue Cross, Equifax and other recent case studies, which have exposed the seriousness of the issue.
And, it is bound to get worse as the cost of personal and corporate privacy escalates. In 2017, US state government servers were hijacked using “sophisticated mechanisms designed to be extremely invasive and hard to research.” The message is now clear that all facets of our corporate and personal life are vulnerable to cyber-risk. Today’s attackers are adept at finding weaknesses in traditional security products and creating new ways to exploit them. And, with a rising shortage of skilled personnel, the risk to organisations is more daunting.
Changing Landscape of Threats
From data exfiltration to system hacks, the environmental landscape has shifted from one-dimensional to multi-layered attacks that have become the most damaging and least likely to be detected. A hyper-connected digital world creates opportunity as well as anonymity and criminal activity. Increased accessibility without the right security tools designed to help defend against the new threats will make us vulnerable. But, proactive innovation could create better opportunities for effective threat detection and response.