Prepare Now to Survive Perfect - Storm Ahead, says Expert
Security guru urges people to plan for cyber threats just as they would any other disaster,©as World Conference on Disaster Management gets underway June 25-27 in Toronto
Toronto, Ontario - May 8, 2012 - It has been one year since hackers infiltrated multiple Sony Corp. websites, compromising millions of customer records containing private, personal information. Meanwhile, on-line attacks are on the rise by groups like Anonymous, an organization of international Internet activists characterized by their use of a Guy Hawkes styled-mask and popularized by the recent Occupy Movement.
And even more horrific cyber crimes are ahead for 2012, predicts cyber security expert Robert Beggs, CEO of Burlington, Ont.-based Digital Defence and speaker at the upcoming World Conference on Disaster Management (WCDM), to be held in Toronto, June 25-27.
"If you thought last year was bad, we're already seeing signs that this year will be worse," says Beggs, who will address the WCDM audience on Monday, June 25, at 1:30 p.m. "We're now approaching the perfect storm in cyber crime, not only because it's easier than ever to engage in cyber wrongdoing, but also because we're just now realizing how inadequately equipped our legal systems and governments are to deal with this."
The growing cyber threat is complicated by the fact that 'weapons' to conduct cyber crime are more widely available than ever, says Beggs, pointing to on-line video instructions that explain how to hack into computer systems. That means the players have changed, he explains. Whereas there used to be an organized criminal element behind most cyber threats, now even a disgruntled employee can access the tools and techniques to steal passwords or disrupt corporate systems.
At the same time, law enforcement agencies and governments are having difficulty keeping up, he says, primarily because the regulations and legal guidance currently in place is inadequate to deal with the breadth and depth of cyber crime, which now reaches across countries. Beggs compares the current situation to the days of the Wild West when crime emerged before law enforcement was in place. Similarly, cyber crime is occurring on a new global frontier and countries have limited resources to fight it.
"There are more attacks coming and the worst part is that it's easier for the hackers than it is for the defenders," points out Beggs. "It's time to put up a defence but a lot of people are struggling with where to start."
At the crux of the problem is the fact that people are failing to recognize information as the new currency of the information age. Just as we take steps to protect our money beyond the bank vaults, we need to focus on protecting our data beyond secure networks and devices, he advises. "People are concerned about the large databases and corporate handling of data and yet they let their own personal information wander about freely," he says. "The more that everyone is controlling this new currency of data, the more we'll be able to minimize its loss and misuse."
One of the most effective ways to deal with cyber threats is to prepare for them. That means putting the same amount of time and effort into protecting your information as you would into protecting a building, business or other asset. At WCDM, Beggs will refer to some of the strategies currently under way to help governments, corporations and the general population limit access to this new on-line currency called information. He will also present details to back his suspicion that the perfect cyber crime storm is brewing and what can be done about it.
"When you prepare for a storm, you get insurance, you put money aside for repairs to recuperate, you plan in advance," notes Beggs. "But very few people are planning for how to deal with this looming cyber storm. Putting a concerted, organized legal effort in place to combat cyber threat and taking steps to secure information has to be part of the planning stage."
The World Conference on Disaster Management - which will take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre June 25-27 - brings together leading Canadian and international speakers, representing all areas of disaster management, to provide solutions on how businesses, communities and government can prepare for emergencies, and adapt to global and local threats, as well as catastrophic events. With the theme of Global Threats, Local Consequences: Doing More With Less, the 2012 conference explores the latest developments in emergency preparedness, including pandemic planning, business resiliency, business continuity, natural disasters, emergency response, emergency health and emergency management.
For more information or to register for the event, visit www.wcdm.org.