Only a matter of time until major cyber-attack

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Ciaran Martin, head of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), says that it’s a matter of “when, not if” a major cyber-attack targets critical infrastructure.

In this case, ‘critical infrastructure’ refers to services like energy or financial sectors, but could indicate election rigging or other subversive action.  

Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, discusses this type of threat and the danger of vulnerabilities in trusted automated systems.

“The statements made here are very valid and a real concern.

“We have seen in the past a number of infections that have been initiated through opportunistic attacks causing widespread concern and in some cases major disruption.

“Specific targeted attacks on systems that have a major impact on our day to day business and or lives and could have the potential to cripple our systems.

“With so much of our lives being conducted online to enable everyone and anyone the ability to interact, the dangers of security and safety are elevated and need to be factored into the foundation of the security model.

“We of course adapt and strive to make our systems safer but the malicious actors can employ the same methods: it’s a cat and mouse game at its best and an opportunity to collect low hanging fruit at its worst.

“If vulnerabilities and exploits are found and utilised the bad guys can in some cases do exactly as they please. This may be stealing or manipulating data, or even freezing or shutting down systems, which could have an impact that we wouldn’t comprehend.

“To do that we would need to fully understand how everything interacts and is automated from the ATM machine, traffic and voting systems through to major utility infrastructure that we take for granted everyday of our lives.

“The one thing for sure is the responsibly of everyone to manage security.

“It’s common to believe it’s the “tech” team’s job but to be honest with the plethora of attack methods used these days every single person that uses an internet or network connected device is and should be responsible.”

Does the prospect of a major cyber-attack concern you? Let us know on Twitter @ESETUK.