Investment in cyber security solutions key in safeguarding data

Viruses that can be transmitted using ultrasonic sound waves which operate even in the absence of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth networks

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Anything networked can be hacked and with everything in today’s world being networked, everything is vulnerable, said to Rod Beckstrom, Cyber Security Expert and former President and Chief Executive Officer of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Outlining the all-pervasive nature of cyber-crime, its potential to disrupt systems and attack individuals, organizations and governments across the world, Beckstrom shared his views on the topical issue at the World Government Summit 2016, in a session aptly titled ‘Are we Safe in a Digital World?’

Elaborating on the degree of risk for any entity, Beckstrom said: “How you relate to the world as a country or a company explains how you will be affected by the cyber world around you.”

Addressing delegates from government organizations attending the summit from across 125 countries, Beckstrom highlighted potential doomsday scenarios, the threat landscape that exists and how cyber-attacks can disable industrial and defense systems, with internet dependence serving as a potent catalyst to amplify the potential threat.

Drawing an analogy, Beckstrom suggested that the ‘air gap’ maintained between nuclear facilities and external networks has been effectively compromised through the use of viruses that can be transmitted using ultrasonic sound waves which operate even in the absence of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth networks.

Beckstrom reiterated the need for nations to invest in systems that are grid-independent by building several micro-grids, in order to combat a potential attack on the electricity grid. He also cited the example of a prominent nation whose nuclear reactors were debilitated using this technique, by parties that consider such nuclear capabilities a threat to the world.

Focusing on the threat environment, Beckstrom elaborated upon potential cyber threat from organized crime networks that spend to the tune of US$100 million to conduct cyber warfare. He also counted among these threats the lone hacker, highly capable hacktivist networks and state actors who are the most advanced and well-funded players. He cited that almost 30 percent of all threats emerge from within the network.

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