Defending cyberspace – The next frontier

Defending cyberspace-the next frontier

Defending cyberspace-the next frontier

Picture this, you have all the locks fitted on your front door, but your next door neighbour (sharing a common wall) has almost non-existent security. Could a burglar get to your stuff?

In today’s world, we are all connected in cyberspace, just like the next door neighbour and just not through a common wall. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or maybe a wired connection can all be an open access not only to our data but to others as well. What if we used our insecure smartphone to access corporate data, while someone sitting a few feet away then piggybacked on our device and accessed the data?

So now not only have we exposed our data but at the same time created an easy access. What if the latest app that we downloaded for free was not an innocuous app but in reality a trojan that will transform our device into a spy phone for other foreign powers? While BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) to work is the most logical thing to do, organisations are rushing to secure this space.

From 1970 the internet aka cyberspace has grown from 40 users to just about 2 Billion (2010) according to the Google/WorldBank data. This is now termed as the most complex man-made universe as we know it – Cyberspace. 800 million smartphone users (2011), 12 Billion devices connected online and this will soar even further. The number of internet connected devices is set to explode in the next four years to over 15 billion – twice the world’s population by 2015.

Cyberattacks occur almost every hour, for example in Israel alone 1000 cyber attacks take place every minute, smaller cities in India face a higher threat. The cost of cybercrime in Europe alone is a staggering 750 billion Euros a year. Several cyberintrusions have been reported against government systems, banking systems, utility services communications, defence contractors and security companies.

The firmware and applications may have flaws and vulnerabilities that could enable hackers to gain access to your digital assets or even use your device to launch an attack. A KPMG survey showed that 83% of respondents felt that mobile employees and home workers using the same IT hardware for business and personal use will contribute to an increased e-crime risk for the organisation. The survey also showed that 92% believed the use of consumer oriented IT hardware with internet connectivity such as smart phones and tablet computers, for business related purposes will contribute to an increased e-crime risk for the organisation.

The question is: How can you secure your family, organisation and nation from this growing peril that threatens to destroy, manipulate and render your digital data inaccessible or your private personal information right there in the open for the world to see? Safeguarding your digital assets will be the most important thing that you can do!

Further reading

BBC News – Cisco predicts internet device boom

Google – Internet Stats

Interpol President: 1,000 Cyber Attacks Per Minute in Israel

More Cyberattacks or Just More Media Attention?

The e-Crime Report 2011 – A KPMG study

Understanding cyberspace is key to defending against digital attacks – The Washington Post

World Development Indicators – Google Public Data Explore

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4 thoughts on “Defending cyberspace – The next frontier

  1. The ease of access that the Cyberspace has given us has now also cretated this security nightmare. In India we have seen some instances of this. Unsuspecting persons with just a wi-fi access had to go through hell after their wi-fi systems were hacked by terriosts to communicate. So this is now not a distant threat. Thanks Ravi for this thought provoking article

    • Hacking into a WiFi point doesn’t (or shouldn’t) really cause terror. There are many other factors we could attribute the security ‘nightmare’ to, but the main one seems to be a lack of education among users, and especially among security professionals.
      Network security was handled by IT staff and hackers once – people who knew where the weak points were, and how to fix them. These days it’s suits and business talk, and those professionals are getting outskilled by the criminal hackers.

  2. Uma’s comment is based on this: http://irgamag.com/?page=Cyber_04062012
    and this: http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_city-on-edge-as-terror-trail-reaches-sanpada_1180224
    the law enforcement agencies took several families for questioning, there were discussions about people subjected to brain-mapping and polygraph tests.
    There was a subsequent hack attempt in a nearby location. People in India live under a shadow of terror, never knowing whether they will reach home safely. Add politicians to the mix here. But your point is well taken.

  3. I feel these days the more worrisome fact is that the govt is turning India into a country like China. Without a warrant, they access emails, facebook feeds, tweets, blogs and more. Anonymous Operation India has done a fabulous job in spreading intel on the governments role in denying us our Freedom of Speech and Expression.

    This entire situation, where a person can be arrested and detained for over 16hrs just cause he forwarded a random joke on Mayavati by a personal email to family. Or that websites like Vimeo are banned is a very scary state in the country. I only hope that more people fight and defend our cyberspace.

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