No more Mr Nice-Guy

20th May 2015

Just posted this update on LinkedIn

There has long been a tension between Data Protection, Privacy, Civil Liberties Freedom of Speech and National Defence, but all of these arguments are becoming academic as cyber-crime means all parties are fighting against a common enemy.

The sad fact is that the cyber criminals are winning the war. If you consider that a report by the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2013 stated that cyber-criminals in 25 countries have chosen the UK as their number one target it puts the danger we are all under into perspective. In 2014 the danger had increased and Symantec’s 2014 Internet Security Threat Report found that over 552 million identities had been exposed in that year.

Hackers are winning the cyber-security war because they are like slick commercial corporations.
They utilise strategic planning, are well organized, tenacious, persistent and think ten steps ahead of the national crime agencies. 

I cannot see that the situation has, or drastically will change. Yes the Government have introduced Cyber-Essentials to help encourage organisations to protect themselves, and those that have taken up the initiative are certainly safer than many, but this cyber-crime wave needs more action from central government.

My message to all is a simple one. YOU ARE NOT SAFE. You need to, metaphorically speaking, suit up, buckle up, get your swords sharpened and prepare for battle. We need to stop being nice guys, and get proactive. Get your IT systems up-to-date, ensure you have robust firewalls, make sure software is current and software patches and updates applied straight away. Train your staff how to behave and identify threats, close down vulnerabilities like BYOD and ban public WiFi use.

If I asked you how much data you hold? where it is stored? who has copies? is it on a shared server? is it encrypted? how old is it? what type of information are you holding? could you instantly tell me? If not do a Privacy Impact Assessment now, the ICO has some great free guides.

You may be infected and do not even know, using MAC’s is no longer a guaranteed secure option, criminals are so clever they have ways of infecting your devices without you even knowing. If you can afford to go out of business, or absorb a £250k fine, or be without your IT equipment for a month ignore my advice, if not, listen, join the battle and fight, it is not a matter of ‘if’ you will be targeted but ‘when’.

Still don’t believe the threat? have a look at an overview of worldwide viruses in real-time.

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Businessman with sword and shield 250

Mike Martin
Data Protection & Information Governance Consultant and Trainer
Data Gladiator, Ninja, Warrior & Soldier – working to keep you safe

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