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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Britain faces deluge of more than 1000 cyber attacks per hour

23 October, 2012
Britain's Foreign Secretary warns of serious consequences resulting from sustained cyber attacks on Britain and British businesses occuring every minute throughout the day


Britain's Government and intelligence services have revealed their willingness to encourage companies and organisations to play their art in fighting cyber crime, currently estimated to involve as many as 1000 attacks every hour around the clock in the country.



Commenting on this, Terry Greer-King, the UK managing director for internet security firm Check Point said:  "Britain is under constant threat from malicious software, and it is no surprise that cyber crime costs the UK approximately £27 billion annually. The recent attack on HSBC also highlights just how a determined group or individual can cause disruption to an organisation, no matter how well-defended their networks and sites are."



"Earlier this year, we surveyed over 2,500 IT professionals worldwide and found that DDoS attacks are one of the top risks to their networks. In order to mitigate the severity of attacks or even block them before they cause widespread damage, organisations need to collaborate and share intelligence with each other to track emerging threats and avoid costly cyber attacks in the future."



The British government and big businesses facing an unprecedented number of cyber-attacks from both enemy states and criminals. Many of the attacks are thought to have the objective of stealing Intellectual Property and other trade secrets, while there is a simultaneous effort to cause chaos by disrupting critical infrastructure such as water, power and communications. In what William Hague has called ‘one of the great challenges of our time’, the persistence of cybercriminals is still costing the UK approximately £27?billion annually.



This comes just a week after the discovery of ‘miniFlame’ – another virus that is reported to originate from the same factory as other highly advanced malware including Flame, Gauss and Stuxnet. It also follows GCHQ’s statement earlier this year that too many businesses have ‘misplaced’ confidence in existing security tools, and need to take the cyber threat more seriously.



Paul Davis, director of Europe at FireEye commented:



“The ongoing battle against cybercrime is certainly intensifying, and it is up to businesses and government organisations everywhere to ensure that they are adequately protected. Today’s threat landscape cannot be underestimated. It seems that the ongoing issue of cyber spying shows no sign of slowing, as the use of highly advanced malware has evolved even further, forcing us into an era in which attackers are focusing their efforts on large corporations, governments and even nations in the hope of exfiltrating precious information.



“GCHQ has so far been a great commentator on the issue of cybercrime. However, there is only so much the organisation can do, and it is now up to businesses themselves to heed these warnings and make sure that their networks are up to scratch in terms of visibility, and the ability to fend off modern day threats.  After all, when defences are being battered at such an alarming rate, only the most robust security policies will do.



“Mr Hague has made it clear that cybercriminals are becoming more persistent than ever, with a relentless onslaught of attacks on our IT systems every hour. It has therefore become imperative – not simply recommended – that any organisation that deals with sensitive information, critical infrastructure or Intellectual Property knows exactly what is going on within their computer network at all times. While it was once a case of hackers coming onto the network and stealing credit card data or passwords, the stakes are so much higher now and the cost of leaving the backdoor open has increased exponentially. Unfortunately, this seems to be the final nail in the coffin of standalone perimeter defences – and as a result, many of the existing security tools that we place such confidence in are really no longer up to task.”


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