Economy

Spy chief hired by insurance company to track cyber crime

Spy chief hired by insurance company to track cyber crimeā€¯

Mr Hannigan helped draw up the UK's cyber security strategy in 2009 and was director of GCHQ for three years before stepping down for personal reasons in January. "So I hope we wouldn't be that reactive, but that is what we often see in this space - that a big incident is what will galvanise change".

"Predictions in cyber security are quite hard, but I'm going to make one I'm reasonably confident about".

He also helped establish the National Cyber Security Centre past year.

Five years is a lifetime in cybersecurity, an industry that could be argued as unparalleled in the speed of its evolution.

However, speaking at Symantec's Crystal Ball event in central London, NCSC technical director Ian Levy warned that it's only a matter of time before the United Kingdom needs to deal with its first "category one" cyber attack.

"When we have had that category one incident, the first thing that will come out is that it is an unprecedented sophisticated attack that couldn't possibly be defended against".

"We want to publish data, publish evidence, and make sure people know how to do risk management properly".

"Because it will be our first ever category one there will be an independent investigation, I think what will really come out is that it was entirely preventable".

Dr Jessica Barker, an expert on the human nature of cybersecurity and co-founder of security firm Redacted, told Alphr that it may indeed take a major attack to provoke a widespread security reaction: "A lot of work in cybersecurity comes from an experience of an incident, or a near miss, or seeing someone or something like you having that incident".

The attack will probably be caused by "one or two" people at an organisation doing something small that subverts the existing cybersecurity protection, leaving the company open to attack.

Part of the problem, he argued, is that cyber security professionals are all too willing to blame their users when things go wrong, when really it should be the security software and practices which should be more properly analysed - because you could have the most secure software in the world, but it isn't going to stop anything if people don't use it because they don't understand how it works or it makes their job more hard.

Here, NCSC Director Levy points to the ongoing lack of understanding and appreciation of the colossal weight of the burden that security professionals are expected to carry, still believing that a security investment and a tick on the checklist constitute impenetrable security. "We've started saying that people are the strongest link - and if you leverage people better, they can be the first and last line of defence for your organisation".

Levy said: "With the trajectory I see at the moment around how cybersecurity is talked about, how people put militaristic analogies around it and make people feel like they can not defend themselves - it is actually really risky, and that is what we want to try and fix". IIF2017: Insurance in the DIGITAL World Conference will address the cyber risks issues, as well as digitalization's impact on sales, underwriting, and claims management. "We could stop it happening, but.the militaristic analogies people put around it make people think they can't defend themselves, and that's actually really risky". Why is cybersecurity so fundamentally different? "I think we could stop it happening", said Levy.



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