Since the beginning of the millennium, the use of digital means to conduct everyday activities has been escalating at a meteoric pace around the globe.
As the world becomes more digitised, with billions of people conducting day-to-day activities online, and a seemingly uncountable number of personal information gets stored in the digital sphere, cyber-security has become a priority not only on an individual level, but also on a national scale.
Between 2004 and 2013, the personal information of over 100 billion people had been leaked due to data breaches in organisations. News of cybercrime ranging from the iCloud hack of private photographs of Hollywood celebrities, to Bangladesh losing $100 million to hackers, made headlines and raised concerns all over the world.
The Global State of Information Security Survey 2016 by PwC says that, in 2015, there was 38% more security incidents detected than in 2014. Market research and business consultancy firm Juniper Research predicts that the cost of data breaches will rise to $2.1tn, globally by 2019, “increasing to almost four times the estimated cost of breaches in 2015.”
The internet is the core platform of global connectivity. This platform is the spine of the digital sphere. Since the internet’s arrival, the pace at which connectivity is being revolutionised has risen dramatically.
Greater cyber connectivity is often accompanied by greater threats of cybercrime. As digital connectivity evolves, so does the means of breaching it
The Internet of Things, which is simply defined as “a proposed development of the internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data,” is poised to bring about the next big revolution in connectivity.
However, greater cyber connectivity is often accompanied by greater threats of cybercrime. As digital connectivity evolves, so does the means of breaching it. Therefore, individuals, institutions, and governments must be aware of accepting newer security measures to protect private, confidential, and sensitive information.
However, statistics say that the level of awareness and preparedness, as of now, is far from adequate. This is because people often become aware of the need for security only after they become direct victims of crime.
The 2015 Global Cybersecurity Status Report by ISACA International says that only 38% of global organisations claim to have been prepared to handle a sophisticated cyber-attack.
In the survey conducted by PwC, it was also found that only 58% of all global companies have an overall security strategy, 49% conduct threat assessments, and 48% actively monitor and analyse security intelligence.
A study by KPMG on global CEOs of companies with more than $500m in revenue shows that a staggering 50% of all CEOs do not feel prepared for a cyber attack.
Bangladesh, still far behind in terms of digitisation compared to more developed nations, must consider adopting measures to protect state assets from external cyber threats as fast as possible. The same applies to organisations as well as individuals. The need is now felt even more particularly after the revelation of the elaborate heist of millions of dollars from the state by hackers.
The good news is that, with increasing threats to cyber-security, counter-active measures to tackle them are also evolving.
Today, any organisation can obtain tailor-made security solutions from expert cyber-security providers that suit their operational demands. This is essential for protection from risks such as unauthorised access to, and change or destruction of, private, confidential, or sensitive data.
What needs to be the bridge between the problem and the solution is awareness and willingness. States and organisations must be pro-active in adopting need-based, tailor-made security solutions from proven experts in order to prevent regrets later.
Bangladesh has recently seen a noticeable rise in telecommunication network technology and digital services. The number of internet users has also seen a noticeable hike. According to BTRC, the number of internet users in Bangladesh, as of June 2016, is over 63 million, nearly 60 million of which are mobile internet users.
All of these point at the country’s progress towards enhanced connectivity through digitisation. However, events such as the recent heist worth millions of dollars of national assets has also pointed towards an urgent need for securing the digital sphere pertaining to the nation.
To ensure that the progress towards digitisation is not interrupted by issues concerning security, pro-active measures towards raising awareness and adoption of security measures must be ensured. Only then will the dream of Bangladesh becoming a digitised nation be realised.
Md Jubair Ahmed is CEO, BASE Technologies.