Even some of the most influential members of government recognize that cyber attacks are becoming a serious threat to the security of our financial systems. These individuals are now calling for intelligence agencies to take “reasonable steps to prevent cyber crime.” After a recent security breach hit JPMorgan Chase, a group of British MPs spoke up about the threat posed by these cyber security breaches, making it clear that this issue is incredibly important.
Of course, those in the cyber security community probably aren’t surprised by any of this, especially in light of a recent report from the British Banker’s Association that found a whopping 93% of large organizations had been victim of security breaches between June 2013 and June of this year. That’s right – in only one year, almost all of the biggest organizations suffered major cyber attacks. If big businesses previously thought that they were immune to security threats from hackers, they definitely aren’t under that delusion anymore.
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Although there have been some pretty serious breaches in the past few years that have negatively impacted a lot of people, these brazen attacks may have actually had a positive effect. Obviously there’s nothing to cheer about when it comes to data theft on this level, but at the very least we can now confirm that these threats are being taken much more seriously. With British MPs declaring that they’ve spent the past few years focusing on the issue, not to mention the report from the BBA that illustrates how financial companies in England have spent £700m on security, it’s clear both the government and businesses are finally ready to take on hackers of all shapes and sizes.
Sadly, all of the money mentioned in the BBA report still couldn’t stop a breach that affected 76 million people this summer, which is a sign that we still have quite a long road ahead of us. In fact, a recent report from PwC found that 1 in 10 UK companies are still uninformed about how many security breaches they have experienced in the past year, while nearly a quarter of those businesses have not detected any breaches at all. Thankfully, the report also found that more than half of these companies had plans to increase spending on security, which is a step that needs to be taken.
With all of that said, it’s about time that we started asking how we can prevent large cyber attacks in the future. It’s nice to see so many organizations planning to do their part to put a stop to these threats, but simply throwing money at the problem won’t stop it. Thankfully, some companies have taken a responsible approach to cyber security by investing in tactics such as penetration testing. These preventive measures actually intentionally attack the security of a system in order to determine its vulnerabilities. By determining where you are vulnerable, you can better protect your system against hackers and security threats.
Perhaps one of the most worrying statistics from the PwC report was the fact that most breaches are caused by staff and not by outsiders. This is not to say that businesses are hiring hackers who are putting their security systems at risk but rather that businesses may not be doing their part to train their employees on best practices when it comes to using computers. Instead of spending more money on outdated methods of protection, it may be time for these organizations to consider putting more funding into training their staff to avoid practices that might leave their security systems vulnerable to cyber attacks.
With the help of the information provided by reports such as these, we can better determine where security spending needs to go and focus on strengthening cyber security not only in the UK but around the world as well. Now that both businesses and the government are finally starting to take this issue seriously, we may be on the verge of a much safer and more secure future on the internet.
By Sloan McKinney, Freelance Web Security Journalist | @KinneySloan
Bio: Sloan McKinney is a journalist and tech enthusiast. When she’s not drooling over the latest Apple release, she’s usually writing blogs on social media and web security or spending time with her family and little chihuahua. She encourages you to check out all of the other great content on Information Security Buzz!