Foreign Secretary William Hague addresses the London Conference on Cyberspace
Delegates from around the world gathered in London to debate Cyberspace and its role in the modern world. The benefits of the 'Net' has helped drive an estimated 21% growth in the economies of countries over the past decade and the newest start-up can now be global at the click of a button.
Internet Communications has been revolutionised around the world and has contributed to the developed of vast social networks that cross borders, cultures and interests. There are now over two billion regular users of the Internet and this is continuing to grow and become ever more mobile as smart devices continue evolve placing the digital world in our hands wherever we are.
With all the opportunities the Net has been a powerful part of the development of communities and business, but there is a darker side.
As more of our world has become digital new threats have emerged that undermine the benefits and now are posing significant risk to our digital infrastructures.
In the UK alone cyber crime now is estimated to exceed £27 billion a year and around the world over $1 trillion. The criminal element are increasingly exploiting the digital economy as our usage grows and the tools available to them get ever more sophisticated.
Activities include not only the high profile hackivist style attacks that now form a news and media staple, but online sales of personal details where private credit card details can be bought for as little as 50 pence and every day we are seeing attempts on an industrial scale to steal valuable information from individuals and companies. Every day there are attempts on an industrial scale to steal government secrets – information of interest to nation states and this is not just commercial theft from organisations
To address these issues needs a new approach for better online security, crime prevention and vitally, public awareness. The problems are truly international and needs cross-border, global solutions and there needs to be extensive collaboration between the commercial and government sectors to set the framework to start addressing the issues.
Britain has prioritised cyber attacks as a tier one threat in the National Risk Register – and put £650 million towards improving cyber defences. But this, while a powerful signal, is only a start to the effort.
We all have a role to play, but none more so than those working in the security and Business Continuity fields.