A study reveals that businesses in the UK and US expect the risk of cyber-threats to their business to increase dramatically in 2014.
According to the study by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, the US and the UK are the two countries most concerned about the impact that cyber-threats will have on the future of their businesses.
Over half of respondents in the US and UK believe cyber threats will continue to increase for businesses.
The Global IT Security Risks study, surveyed over 3,000 senior IT professionals across 22 countries about major problems facing the industry.
“It is not surprising that companies in developed countries are so concerned about cyber-security risks in the immediate future,” said Alexander Erofeev, Chief
Marketing Officer at Kaspersky Lab. “Contemporary businesses rely on thousands of devices, both in the office and on the move, and it is critically important to protect this infrastructure from external threats. In just a few minutes cybercriminals can cause crippling damage to a company, leading to financial loss, the leakage of sensitive data, security breaches and potentially serious legal problems.”
As US and UK companies fear about the future of cyber threats, for some countries cyber security is already their number one problem for business.
The survey revealed that more than 25% of businesses in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China suffer most from cyber security problems.
Foreign secretary William Hague this month announced a new centre of excellence that will offer advice to other nations on cyber security.
The Centre for Global Cyber-Security Capacity Building will receive £2 million backing from the government every year. It will be based at one of the eight universities selected in April to be awarded ‘Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research’ status.
It will seek to bring together ideas from governments, researchers, think tanks and the private sector as the UK wants to be at the centre of international coordination on cyber threats.
Cyber security assistance
“Cyberspace is emerging as a new dimension in conflicts of the future. Many nations simply do not yet have the defenses or the resources to counter state-sponsored cyber attack,” Hague said.
“If we do not find ways of agreeing principles to moderate such behavior and to deal with its consequences, then some countries could find themselves vulnerable to a wholly new strategic threat: effectively held to ransom by hostile states.
“It has never been easier to become a cyber criminal than it is today. It is now possible to buy off-the- shelf malicious software, designed to steal bank details, for as little as £3,000, including access to a 24-hour technical support line.
“I see frequent evidence of deliberate and organised attacks against intellectual property and government networks in the United Kingdom.”
Hague explained how a “well-protected international company” was breached via a “foreign subsidiary”.
Hackers used spear phishing to breach that group’s network, stealing “many thousands of passwords”, including those for the parent company’s file servers. “From that file server, they were able to steal 100GB of the parent company’s sensitive intellectual property, roughly equivalent to a document made up of 20 million pages of A4,” the foreign secretary added.
Hague announced the centre at the Budapest Conference on Cyberspace, where he talked of the need for cyber hotlines between governments to communicate on threats, although the foreign secretary did not call for any new treaty. He did call for international consensus on rules of the road to guide future behavior on the Internet.
Baroness Ashton, the EU foreign affairs chief, also revealed that the EU is preparing to release its cyber security strategy within the next several months.
Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, added: “Protecting ourselves from cyber threats is only ever a partial solution. It matters that those with whom we connect are secure too.
“Today with over two billion people online – and billions more set to join them in the next decade – we are all stakeholders in the internet and must all invest in its successful future.
“The quicker that cyber-security capacity can grow globally, the faster our online community become more secure.”
The Coalition has a £650 million pot for fighting cyber crime, on top of what investment was already there when the extra funding was announced. It has continued to pump money into various initiatives.