From cyber tension to cyber resilience

#From cyber tension to cyber resilience

Facing the major threats in cyberspace has become a harsh reality today. A whole range of hostile forces are increasingly active in attacking businesses, governments and citizens. Cyber-attackers, that can vary from cyber criminals to the malicious hacker and the hacktivists, have a broad spectrum of motivations from reselling data for profit-making to political or social interests. From East to West the cyber threat is hovering around us at all times.
But hey, we’re in the digital era. The prominence of software and the Internet of Things growing at a breath taking pace, will exacerbate the situation greatly with proliferation of data volumes and data velocity. Various experts predict varying numbers but it’s looking like we’ll have around 21 billion connected objects1 by 2020.

Cyber-security a pressing concern

It is estimated that cyberattacks cost businesses as much as $800 billion per year2. This figure is set to reach $2.1 trillion by 2019 and includes direct damage, post-attack disruptions and investments to get back to normal. The Yahoo attack, known as “the hack of the century” was reportedly organised following an Ad in The Real Deal on the Dark Web market. A recent report3 indicates that some 70% of devices do not encrypt data which creates vulnerability for organisations and a playground for cyber attackers. Their methods are becoming increasingly organised and professional often with significant funding. Organisations struggle today to keep up with an ever-evolving situation putting in new defence systems but attackers find new ways around them.
Cyber security has, hence, become a pressing concern for business and governments around the world. What we need is cyber resilience, but how to go about it and where should we place the cursor given the scale and sophistication of cyberattacks?

Develop the cloud and exploit artificial intelligence

Carriers have a shared responsibility in the cyber resilience challenge to highly secure networks and the transmission of data. Telcos are potential targets with masses of data being sent every second. Telecom networks may be vulnerable to multiple types of threats: DDoS attacks aimed at overflowing networks; targeted attacks from infiltration of GMS networks; hijacking of satellite-based internet links; threats targeting end users and subscribers from malware for mobile devices to subscriber data harvesting. We know about most of the vulnerability areas and that they may be detected before hackers can actually use them against telecom operators. But to fight against these threats full vulnerability scans to assess the exposure of networks must be put in place.

We also need to develop cloud services so that they are safer and easier to use.Artificial intelligence technologies can also analyse the level of the threat, and indeed could potentially automate and guide the process. This intelligence will give defenders increasingly sophisticated ways to respond to attackers, including real-time manipulation of data bringing active defense to the forefront of cyber defense. Within the GSMA anti-fraud body our key priority is to protect the volume and the value of our partners’ incoming voice and SMS traffic.
To combat cyber-attacks we need to adopt proactive strategies across our industry and accompany our clients to set in place prevention measures. Cyber-resilience is where all players and organisations need to focus today!

1 IDC, Intel, UN 2 Juniper research 3 HP-EIU

Pierre-Louis de Guillebon
CEO, Orange International Carriers