The Global Community Takes an Important Step in Protecting a Hyper-Connected World at the World Economic Forum Meeting in Tianjin, China
Guest post by Alberto Yepez, Managing Director, Trident Capital, and AlienVault, Chairman
Recently the American financial industry faced five weeks of sustained cyber-attacks from hackers in Iran, hindering online banking services that can make up as much as 60 percent of a bank’s transactions. What started as assaults on the nation’s largest financial institutions quickly expanded to regional banks and even credit unions.
Several elements make this episode particularly troubling:
- It reveals vulnerabilities in one of the most secure industries
- This attack is more sophisticated than previous episodes (about ten times the volume and intensity)
- The hackers moved beyond “disruptive” assaults to a “destructive” attack that purposely and successfully brought down online operations
- Hackers targeted even small institutions.
In response, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that the U.S. faces the potential of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor.” But this is not a problem unique to America and its largest companies – the digital world has no borders and organizations of all size increasingly rely on connectivity to operate. This global threat calls for international collaboration. And the good news is that global leaders are already starting to mobilize.
This fall I had the opportunity to attend the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions and accept the Technology Pioneer award on behalf of AlienVault. The event is designed to shape global, regional and industry agendas with input from global leaders in government, business and academia. The organization believes that network resilience is crucial as societies increasingly rely on connectivity for day-to-day functions, and it is working to increase the world’s focus on global cyber security.
Partnering for Cyber Resilience is a global, multi-industry, multi-stakeholder initiative to improve cyber resilience, raise business standards, and contribute to a safer and connected society. This represents the social value that AlienVault provides through its “security for all” technology with an open and collaborative approach that makes proven solutions available to large and small organizations alike.
But this project is in its early stages, and the recent attacks on the financial industry underscore the need for the global community to move quickly to stay ahead of increasingly sophisticated threats from hackers, organized crime, rogue governments and activist groups. The principles established during the meeting provide a framework to move forward, and we need to see quick action from three groups:
- Governments: Create policies that set legal guidelines for the digital world
- Established companies: Support and collaborate on innovation in IT security
- Technology Pioneers: Rapidly develop the technology to enable a safer, hyper-connected world
No one or two pieces can stand on their own – contributions from all three sectors are crucial for success. More than anything, the principles set forth at the meeting are a necessary starting point, but must lead to real action to create a safe, digital world.