Is IT security keeping up with hackers’ actions?

date: 8 December 2016
reading time: 3 min

Cyber attacks have become one of the most serious threats facing the world today. A vast majority of the world’s business depends on online communication.

Almost every area of our life is closely linked to the Internet, therefore IT security has turned into a matter of utmost importance.

So, are we living in the world threatened by hackers?

This isn’t about money. This isn’t about politics. I can target anyone. Anything. Anywhere – says a mysterious cyber-terrorist in ‘Blackhat’, a 2015 American film. How far are we from apocalyptic visions of a world controlled by hackers? Considering all the daily news about cyber attacks, shouldn’t we stay in a state of a continuous alert?

Taking into account the striking scale of the world wide web project, we might be considerably anxious about our money, sensitive data and privacy. Fortunately, hackers’ actions are still isolated situations. Still, sterling IT security system is the most desirable defence in today’s world. The growing number of hackers’ attacks causes a proportional growth of IT security systems. But who will finally win the game?

Growing anxiety

On 21 September 2015 all flights from LOT Polish Airlines were cancelled due to an ICT attack. Unlocking it took many hours. 10 flights were cancelled, many were delayed. The losses have probably reached millions of dollars, not to mention a strained reputation of the airline. That was the first such case in the history of LOT, despite a giant defence spending.

Within the last few years, security community was intrigued by the news regarding a possibility to hack a navigation system of an airplane with an Android smartphone. The news was alarming because just by using a limited resource, a hacker is able to take over the entire control system on-board, including plane navigation and cockpit systems. Therefore an increasing number of aviation agencies such as European Aviation Safety Agency work on cyber security defence systems to avoid disturbing consequences.

 Rising awareness

With organisations increasingly depending on technology, it’s perhaps not surprising to find that cybercrime continues to increase in volume, frequency and sophistication, as published in PwC’s Annual Global CEO survey (2014). Twenty-four percent of all respondents of the PwC’s survey experienced cybercrime in 2014.

A rising awareness of this issue influences a development of professional defence systems. NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is an example of an alliance enhancing capability, cooperation and information sharing among NATO nations. Steadily, a growing market of IT security systems for business draws attention to market demand for protection. However, the experts claim, every company can reduce the risk of hackers’ attacks by using, at least, internal security procedures and proper software.

Win or defeat?

In the continuous game between IT security and hackers we can’t probably find a winner. It occurs that every security innovation provokes a weaponized answer. Furthermore, malware became a spectacular way to present objection to authority. Almost every steady and reliable defence system is under a test of strength. Vague laws and loopholes are the game for hackers’ benefits. Still, professionalisation of security systems altogether with the strengthening of law might help IT security to keep up with hackers’ actions. Match result is not a foregone conclusion.

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