Cyber security Beyond the Borders

Following pleas from US President Joe Biden for the private sector to “raise the bar on cyber security” to protect critical infrastructure against increasingly sophisticated attacks, some of the globe’s technology giants have committed billions of dollars to strengthening their cyber security defences.

On 25 August 2021, President Biden held a White House Cyber Security Meeting with representatives from energy, education, insurance, finance and technology sectors, resulting in the following commitments from global tech giants:

  1. Google has publicly committed to investing $10 billion in cyber security over the next five years, with an emphasis on securing the software supply chain, expanding zero-trust programs and upgrading open-source security, making Google safer for users by eliminating threats. Google has also pledged to train 100,000 people in IT Support and Data Analytics sectors to promote cyber security skills. 
  2. Microsoft has committed to investing $20 billion in cyber security over the next five years, and also made $150 million available in technical services to help local governments to upgrade their defences against cybercrime.
  3. IBM has announced that they plan to train 150,000 people in cyber security over a three year period.
  4. Apple has committed to developing a new program to help strengthen the technology supply chain.
  5. Amazon has said that the security awareness training it gives to its employees will be offered to the public.

The impacts of software providers such as Google and Microsoft having high quality and regularly updated cyber security policies and systems are far reaching and critical. Consumers around the world, including individuals, businesses and governments benefit from this increased cyber security, however this does not mitigate the need for everyone to continue to do their part.  

According to the Australia Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), there was a 15% increase in reports of ransomware cybercrime against Australian entities during the 2021 financial year, with self-reported losses due to cybercrime totalling over $33 billion. Rachael Falk from the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC) has commented that many Australian businesses are "woefully under prepared" for cyber threats.

Interestingly, Google, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon have all committed to investing in or providing training to people or entities external to their organisations. This active recognition and encouragement of a precautionary approach is demonstrative that a reactionary response to cyberattacks is no longer considered enough. 

In our June 2021 article, ‘Imagine trying to do COVID without electricity’ we wrote on what individuals can do to minimise the risk of cyberattacks from the ground up, in a world where cyberattacks ignore all borders – virtual and physical.

Lavan comment

In a world where cybercrime, ransomware attacks and data breaches have no borders and are becoming increasingly sophisticated, it is vital to ensure that steps are taken at all levels to ensure that cyber security is prioritised. 

It is unfortunate that ransoms are paid to criminal organisations for the recovery of data, thus fuelling a vicious cycle and funding further attacks. In circumstances of ransomware attacks, businesses are faced with immense pressure to resume services, and must make a commercial decision about the cost of paying a ransom versus the cost of not being able to recover data. 

For this reason, it is more important than ever that governments, the private sector and individuals all do their part to ensure that awareness is raised, and precautionary steps are taken to minimise the risk of successful cyberattacks.

If you have any questions in relation to cyber security, or if you would like advice on Cyber and Data Protection or Cyber Law, please contact Iain Freeman.