FireEye comments on UK being hit by 120,000 cyber attacks a day

Britain’s IT skills shortage means that the country and its critical infrastructure could be unable to defend itself from cyber attacks for at least 20 years warns a report from the National Audit Office. It also reported that the UK suffered 44 million cyber attacks in 2011 – approximately 120,000 per day, costing the country more than £27bn annually.

In an effort to increase the level of computer expertise, it is proposed that science and technology be promoted properly in schools to ensure that the number of cyber security specialists grows in line with the nature of the threat.

Paul Davis, director of Europe at FireEye – a leader in stopping advanced targeted attacks – has made the following comments: “It is hardly surprising that we are deemed unprepared to tackle current cyber security threats – as until recently, there has been a long-standing culture of complacency when it comes to proper cyber defence. While it is true that our national bank of computer experts is light in comparison to the number of cybercriminals attempting to break into our networks, there is also the issue that widespread overreliance on obsolete security tools and low awareness of the advanced tactics used by hackers is leaving too many networks wide open to attack.

“The stakes have never been higher, and cyber security is no longer a conversation restricted to the IT team – it is an enterprise-wide concern that must be treated as such. The advanced capabilities of hackers and the increased storage of highly sensitive data has created a perfect storm for cybercrime, and it is essential that board level executives are able to gauge the vulnerabilities within their organisation, and understand what investments must be made to combat that security risk.

“It is a great step forward to propose greater promotion of science and technology in schools to develop the next generation of cyber security experts, but what happens in the meantime? Organisations, particularly those with vulnerable intellectual property or critical national infrastructure to defend must urgently up the ante on security to avoid the potentially devastating consequences of attack. Constant monitoring and proactive threat mitigation are essential for bulletproof protection. With so many attacks reported daily, the odds really are stacked against organisations – and it’s time to fight fire with fire.”

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