“If you are connected you take your chances”
Cyber security is already at the top of many CEOs lists of risks that their business faces, and now it seems that it is coming close to the top of the list for the CEO of the United States, President Barack Obama. How do we know this? Well first of all there are reports, confirmed by US officials, that the White House has suffered its worst ever cyber security breach, with hackers gaining access to a White House computer system that contained details of the President’s itinerary amongst other sensitive data.
The security breach is thought to have started with a Russian cyber attack on the State Department’s network in February, using a phishing email scam which subsequently infected the system with malware and allowed the hackers to penetrate the nationwide network. The White House is constantly under cyber attack from sophisticated hacking networks, some of them state sponsored, as this one is thought to have been. This is why the White House maintains a discrete computer system which is unplugged from the internet for the most sensitive classified data.
The second reason we know how high a priority this is for Barack Obama is that the President has just signed an executive order extending the US administration’s powers to react to malicious cyber attacks. The order enforces financial sanctions on foreign hackers who attack American businesses, institutions and citizens. In a statement justifying the order, Obama said that “Cyber threats pose one of the most serious economic and national security challenges to the United States… As we have seen in recent months, these threats can emanate from a range of sources and target our critical infrastructure, our companies, and our citizens.”
Think about this for a moment. Even the White House cannot guarantee that its connected systems are safe from hackers and so it has to unplug some of them from the internet to protect itself. There are not many commercial organisations that can afford to disconnect like this, so you have to stay connected and take your chances. Given this inevitable vulnerability, you need to at least plan for what you will do if you, or even one of your suppliers, is attacked. The issue is how quickly can you act and protect yourself. This is where the Crises Control business continuity app can help set your mind at rest by providing a fully independent mobile command and communication platform to help your response teams execute rapid actions and return to business as usual as quickly as possible, even when your own IT network has been compromised. Check it out now and help yourself to sleep better at night.