Cyber-attacks as dangerous as terrorism?

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Olivia Storey

The UK is cracking down on cybercrime, believing cyber-attacks should be treated with the same level of seriousness as fighting terrorism.

Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQ, urges that keeping the UK safe from cyber-attacks is just as important as fighting terrorism.

In the light of the WannaCry ransomware outbreak that affected the NHS and the hack on parliamentary email accounts, it has highlighted the importance of protecting and securing our online and digital presence.

These are just two of the nearly 600 significant cyber-attacks that needed a national response in the past year alone.

The increased funding into GCHQ allowed for the creation of the NCSC, which first and foremost is to pre-empt and reduce cyber-attacks, as well as manage and mitigate threats that may possibly side step the system.

We ask Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, whether the threat of cybercrime is as serious as GCHQ claims.

“It’s a sad fact of today’s life that we have to deal with attacks from all manner of foes, be it physical terrorism or cyber from the digital world.

“It’s also concerning that both could be just as damaging, but we often need a tangible foe for it to hit home, and cyber-attacks often do not fall into that category.

“For the average person it only affects their data online, be it personal or financial

“For them it rarely has any bearing other than something someone else will resolve, but with so much of our physical world melding into the realms of apps and touch screens, the backbone of that infrastructure, if attacked, could cause far worse repercussions.

Utility companies, IoT, autonomous vehicles, governments, and even our finances are going digital, a full scale organised attack on any one of those listed could cause havoc if successful. Protecting those areas should be just as important as our physical concerns.

“With so many companies connecting through the digital world, it’s impossible to protect it 100%.

“Without proper defined security structure we are fighting a losing battle.”

Do you agree that cyber-attacks should be treated with the same level of seriousness as terrorism? Let us know on Twitter @ESETUK.

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