David Cameron seeks cyber-security talks with China

It has been reported that David Cameron has said he is seeking “a proper dialogue” with China over cyber-security. He raised the issue with Li Keqiang the Chinese Prime Minister during a recent visit.

China has been identified by the UK and US as a major source of industrial espionage and hacking.

It’s a real problem and not just from China; businesses still don’t afford this the time it deserves. I reported a while ago that the UK estimatesthat it loses £28bn a year due to industrial espionage and hacking with £7bn lost from government.

Why is it a problem?

Because it can’t be seen, there seems to be a malaise about cyber attacks happening. Offices don’t protect computer systems. Offices are left open with computers running. I have recently been working for a Local Authority. Because the building is open to all,there is supposed to be access control to gain entry to the offices and main workings within. The access control is broken. During my time there I chose not to wear the issued pass (which I was asked to do) and walked around the building. Not one person asked me who I was or what I was doing or where my pass was. I walked past open offices with no occupants. I had pretty much the run of the building and I’m sure had I tried I could have tail-gated through doors I had no easyaccess to..

Opportunity

Is it any wonder that when criminals spot an opportunity there is no hesitation in taking it? Businesses that do take cyber-crime seriously implement procedures to negate the problem.

cyber security word image

Why does someone want your information?

Some businesses are in denial and very reactive to the problem. Again, because they cant see it there isn’t a problem. Ask yourselves this… Do you have competitors within your field of expertise? If you answered yes then why is your competitor going to spend hard cash on R&D when for a fraction of the cost they can rip off your hard work? It’s a no brainer.

Think

Who has access to your IT and networks? Cleaners are always overlooked as potential threats BUT cleaners have unsupervised access usually out of hours and have all the time in the world to go through hard copy paperwork as well as gaining access to computer systems to attach devices or install software such as keystroke loggers. I’m not accusing cleaners in general here, this is merely an example.

What can I do to begin protecting myself?

The first step should be identifying that someone out there could benefit greatly from what you know or do. If you can sit in the comfort of your office and search for information that is open source then imagine someone is sat in their office looking for ways of getting information that is not open source, YOUR INFORMATION.

This may seem pretty sensationalist and over the top but the estimate of £28bn a year lost to cyber crime isn’t a lie.

Security is not an outside company’s responsibility, it’s everyone’s responsibility within your organisation. Your business can have all the electronic security you want but if your staff are not security aware then it will fail. Just as the example I gave above of the Local Authority.

Before you spend money on securing your IT, secure the environment within which you use it.

Start making sure your staff wear their security passes and get into the habit of questioning anyone they see without a valid pass. Make sure your reception staff take back and account for all visitors passes at the end of the working day. If you have access control measures on doors then ensure staff use it correctly and if they hold the door for the person behind then make sure they know they should question that person if they don’t have a badge or they don’t see it. This may sound very simple and it is; it’s not rude to question someone’s presence where safety is concerned. You don’t need to spend thousands installing elaborate security measures. If it’s electronic it can be defeated, even biometrics.

Next step

If you want more information then please get in touch 02392 41 55 40 or email info@sppsolutions.com

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