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Global Cyber-Terrorism: What Businesses Can Learn

Cyber-Terrorism: The modern method for governments to wreak havoc on one another

It is no secret that global cyber terrorism dominated headlines this year. In an era of “fake news,” and overall media skepticism, how should the international community interpret this attention? What explains this growing discussion lies in just how global cyber terrorism has truly become. Cyber-attacks, formerly covered as small incidents carried out by criminal organizations, are now associated with total war maneuvers leveraged by national governments to bring calculated, widespread devastation towards major businesses. Here are some causal trends associated with the growing global cyber terrorism crisis, and how your business can learn from these headlines.

The Expanding Cyber Landscape

Everything we seem to use, from personal to professional, has begun to go digital. One example includes traditional physical processes; even infrastructure industries (i.e. power utilities, water treatment services, and health and emergency systems) have shifted to online use. For example, imagine how a power grid interruption might affect your business. Now imagine if that power grid interruption was the result of a cyber-attack. What might this do to your bottom line?

To elaborate, some innovations within the electricity industry include automated controls; these are implemented through interconnected network systems. This automation, though efficient, creates a new opportunity for cyber-criminals to manipulate a business from within. If an attacker had access to these controls and effectively interrupted a power grid, the affected business should expect lost revenue, additional expenses to restore operations and improve cyber security defenses, regulatory fines, and reputational damage.

While the growing use of connected devices may be compatible for economies of scale, businesses should also consider how a digital world centralizes risk. How do we balance a need for more efficiency with the need to protect our systems and operations? These debates surrounding technology and the internet will likely continue throughout the decade as we become more connected. However, businesses need not choose, and can do both by investing and evaluating in an optimal cybersecurity infrastructure on an annual basis.

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Advanced Threats: The Difference and the Significance

One commonly held myth among involves the intelligence of cyber hackers. While some define all hackers as evil geniuses, others maintain a more grounded thought in assuming that these are merely individuals trained by other individuals how to perform and complete a criminal task for profit. As the cyber landscape grows and grows, so does the scale of these attacks. Since many of these attacks now involve nation-states and their respective governments, 2018 has consequently seen an upsurge of highly skilled hackers.

This backing not only makes a hacker’s criminal intent more politically feasible, but fiscally feasible. With national backing, these hackers are not limited to their past tendencies of merely implementing knowledge passed on from their so-to-speak “colleagues.” As global cyber terrorism and its association with nation-state war tactics expands, so will the access to more sophisticated resources. Businesses must prioritize comprehensive internal IT training, complemented by external consultations, should their cyber security infrastructure remain equipped to combat contemporary threats.

The Future

The expanding cyber landscape is reflected in everything we see and do. With total war tactics identifying targets using the World Wide Web, businesses should understand their role as a potential victim and plan accordingly. It is with little-to-no doubt that we may assume the international community’s continued reliance on the internet in the decades ahead of us. In light of this reality, all businesses must realize that cyber security is more than just online protection, but a critical means of survival.

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