PwC reveals a disturbing 656pc increase in cybersecurity incidents

25 Nov 201667 Shares

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The rise of technology is just as potent a threat to civilisation as the rise in population, climate change and resource scarcity, warns PwC. Image: 24Novembers/Shutterstock

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There has been a frightening 656pc increase in cybersecurity incidents involving industrial control systems since 2010, PwC has revealed in its latest ‘megatrend’ forecasts.

In a new report, Five Megatrends and their Implications for Global Defence and Security, PwC highlights major challenges that lie ahead.

These megatrends include shifts in global economic power, demographic shifts, accelerating urbanisation and the rise of ‘megaslums’ and feral cities, the rise of technology and most frightening of all, climate change and resource scarcity.

‘Undetected cyber penetration of critical commercial networks can allow adversaries to gather information regarding defence supply chains that could enable major disruptions during a time of crisis’
– THOMAS MODLY

The author of the report, Thomas Modly, PwC leader of government and public services, warns that the confluence of these five megatrends will intensify defence and security challenges.

A cat and mouse game between attacker and defender

The report points out that with new technology advancements, more challenges will arrive.

“Vendors will also make all devices ‘secure to the user’ which will inhibit surveillance and evidence gathering by intelligence and law enforcement entities. The challenge for defence and security organisations will be to develop and adapt these tools at the speed of business – not the traditional speed of government.”

The report indicated that all new advances in computing and technology will be fundamentally mobile-based. It added that the combination of mobile devices, data analytics and cloud computing will provide security and defence organisations with step-function increases in capabilities.

But this will also be true for the attackers.

Industrial control systems – which control everything from nuclear power plants to rail systems and water plants – have seen cyber incidents increase from 39 in 2010 to 295 in 2015.

“In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in unlawful cybersecurity breaches and infiltrations,” the report said.

“Some of these have been orchestrated by independent criminal actors, but others are far more sophisticated and coordinated, formally and informally, by government agencies seeking to disrupt or create competitive advantages.

“Network vulnerabilities to such attacks create national security vulnerabilities that extend beyond financial crime, to the crippling of key infrastructure and access to classified information that could compromise critical national infrastructure, in addition to ongoing military and police operations.

“Undetected cyber penetration of critical commercial networks can allow adversaries to gather information regarding defence supply chains that could enable major disruptions during a time of crisis,” the report warned.

Only this morning, we reported how the personal details of 130,000 US navy sailors were stolen from a laptop belonging to a contractor, indicating that the battle is on.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com