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Collaborating on cyber-security - A private-sector imperative

Thursday, May 29, 2014
Technology Matters

Cyber attacks are on the rise, targeting businesses, financial institutions, media outlets, ecommerce sites, government agencies and even ordinary users. 


With increasing sophistication and impressive international co-ordination, hacktivists, criminal organisations and nation states are using high-tech systems to compromise classified information and steal consumer data. 


In a technology-dependent world, cyber-attacks are a serious, transnational threat, putting national and economic security at risk. No nation can rely solely on inward-looking, unilateral strategies to protect itself. To defend against cyber attacks, collaboration is key.


Security has traditionally been seen as the responsibility of national governments, tackling clearly identified enemies on well-defined battlefields. In the digital age, transnational cyber warfare has completely overturned that calculus. 


In this new era, business is now on the frontlines of conflict. The private sector controls the vast majority of the critical infrastructure systems that underpin our economy: from telecommunications and financial services to energy and healthcare. Critical infrastructure is a primary focal point for cyber-attacks. 


The effective security of critical infrastructure is therefore a priority that goes far beyond private sector interests, particularly in developing states. However, there is no effective physical or economic security without effective cyber security. Cyber security depends on effective, global collaboration between government and industry. This is why private sector and government must evolve new collaborative approaches if they are to defend critical national infrastructure assets.