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Corporates need alternative approach to cybersecurity

A recent study from market analysts Juniper Research puts the global cost of cyber crime for business at $2.1 trillion by 2019, which is four times the expected cost for 2015. With the stakes so high, companies really need to tackle this problem and take it seriously – at least as seriously as cyber criminals are taking it.

But the same-old tools used to protect online data – firewalls, keys, PINs and passwords – need to be rethought, according to Aneesh Chopra, the former US government chief technology officer under President Obama, speaking last week at the CTC Corporate Treasurers Forum. Chopra referred to the “ever-increasing moats” that companies build around their data assets, adding: “but the attackers come in, in so many clever ways. It’s a fool’s errand to think we could ever build a moat big enough to keep all the attackers out.”

Game changing strategies to combat cyber fraud

Chopra outlined two “game-changing” strategies to combat cyber fraud currently under development in both the public and private sectors: 'moving-target defence' and 'network upon network'. The first assumes that hackers will eventually succeed in entering a network, so it focuses on neutralising their impact once they are in. Chopra said: “Moving target defence is just the beginning of a conversation around behavioural activity within our networks.”

The second strategy - network upon network – is a secure network that can't be accessed from outside and is already being used in several spheres, for example Direct protocol, the secure communications platform used by doctors to exchange confidential data.

Chopra also said that standards and clarity in pricing are needed in the cyber insurance market, which he branded a “market failure”, saying it represents a “bottomless pit of spending” for corporates. Increasing pressure on governments and companies to protect business and consumers from cyber crime is likely to result in more-stringent regulation and standards for cybersecurity.

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