Don't let your guard down on cybersecurity

The private sector should not treat losses due to cyberattacks as a cost of doing business.

On Sept. 5, Iain Lobban, who is the head of Great Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, which is a member of the British intelligence community, hosted a discussion with executives from the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100-listed companies. During that discussion he advised that businesses face and unprecedented threat from cyberattacks.

The amount of attention this topic has received has certainly increased over the past few years. This is not just filler content; there is substance to it, and there is good reason for the heightened coverage. Also on Sept. 5, cybersecurity icon McAfee released its Second Quarter Threats Report. In that report, McAfee acknowledged the largest increase in the identification of new malware strains in the past four years.

It is not just the frequency of attacks and amount of new malware, cybersecurity experts also have expressed concerns over the growing sophistication of the processes and methods used in the newer attacks. For years now, CIOs and CISOs have warned business executives about the threats they face from cyberattacks. Cyber crime has continually grown in frequency and sophistication, as well as cyberattacks being launched by terrorists, hacktivists, foreign countries and other entities. Cyberattacks have become so common, it seems as if businesses are beginning to treat them like they have come to treat inventory shrinkage. If you are not familiar with that term it is the dressed up verbiage used in place of the common terminology for shoplifting and employee theft.

Have executives become numb to the constant bombardment of Internet media coverage of cyberattacks? Are we now just treating the losses due to cyberattacks as a cost of doing business? It certainly looks that way.