Major cybercrime security breach
Recently,the Irish Examiner newspaper brought to our attention that more than a million people discovered — some for the first time — what it is like to be a victim, or at least potential victim, of a criminal conspiracy carried out online.
They revealed that the firm targeted by the suspected cyber criminals, Loyalty Build, acknowledged the major security breach and that credit card customer accounts may have been compromised, while the names, addresses and phone numbers of 1.12 million people may have fallen into the wrong hands. Loyalty Build customers include SuperValu, Axa and Stena Line.
In the same week at the Institute of International and European Affairs Conference, the keynote speaker Michael Daniel, President Obama’s US cyber-security coordinator, warned that the threat posed to cyber security at all levels is becoming broader due to the spread in online technology. Malware is getting harder to detect. ‘Phishing’ by the cyber criminals is now much harder to detect than it was in the days when ‘Princes of Nigeria’ were offering generous payouts in exchange for bank account numbers.
“Everyone on the Net lives at the edge of the network. Security is a shared responsibility. It cannot be assigned to any group,” he warns.
The US cyber chief says we must accept that networks are penetrated and with this in mind, constantly test systems and have in place back-up plans. Organisations, public and private, must share information rapidly and frequently.
“Cyber security is a team sport. No single entity has all the competencies needed.”
The real concern is that the attackers could take down major national infrastructure such as electricity networks.
Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar is a top EU cyber security advisor. She warns that Europe is behind the curve on cyber security, lacking institutions, proper coordination, skilled people and awareness. The problem is that traditionally hierarchical Governments find it hard to deal with nimble criminal entities.
“When you put networks against hierarchies, the latter will lose.”