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Think-tank to infosec: You're doing it wrong

Cyber risks 'similar to 2008 crash'

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Tomorrow's Internet is a scary, scary place, according to think-tank The Atlantic Council, so much so that we're all apparently on the brink of “a cyber sub-prime meltdown”.

The council has published a report co-prepared with Zurich Insurance which among other things recommends that ISPs should have redundancy in their peering connections, and countries should create redundant telecommunications and power suppliers (we're not making this up: you can read the announcement for yourself, here).

The full report says cyber risks are assessed “one at a time” rather than with reference to the whole system, which is says is “painfully similar to how financial risks were assessed prior to the 2008 crash”.

“Just imagine if a major cloud service provider had a ‘Lehman moment,’ with everyone’s data there on Friday, and gone on Monday. If that failure cascaded to a major logistics provider or company running critical infrastructure, it could magnify a catastrophic ripple running throughout the real economy”, the report states.

“Risk managers, regulators, and organisations with system-wide responsibility all need to focus more on resilience and agility rather than simply prevention.”

The report suggests Internet governance initiatives which include a “G20+20 Cyber Stability Board”, with formal recognition of what it calls “Global Significantly Important Internet organisations”.

More prosaically, organisations are urged to follow standard infosec procedures such as application whitelisting, prompt patching, and a minimum of users with admin privilege, while larger companies should have better board-level risk management, and should increasingly demand resilient and secure products.

“Cyber attacks of the future can and will affect globally interconnected systems like electrical grids and worldwide logistics systems. This Internet of tomorrow will be a source of global shocks for which risk managers, corporate executives, board directors, and government officials are not prepared,” The Atlantic Council states. ®

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