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Here’s why everyone needs to tackle cybercrime

As we have recently heard, the dream of the connected car could actually quite soon become a nightmare; we now have proof that any skilled engineer could take control remotely of any connected "thing". This new reality changes the traditional rules of warfare -- both for defense strategists and businesses.

Society has not yet realized the incredible amount of scenarios that can be created from such new a capability. In 1940, the French army was still arguing about whether industrializing tanks production or not, while the Germans already had the V1 rockets in mind, and the Americans were conceiving the atomic bomb. We know the outcome of the Second World War.

Today, we are in the same position of underestimating the risks of a connected world, unaware of the nature and diversity of threats.

Given asymmetry of risks created by the fourth industrial revolution , we cannot afford to be security-illiterate


Take an asymmetric approach

Hlib Shabashnyi | Getty Images

To succeed in this digital revolution we need to learn to deal with asymmetric approaches to warfare and business.

Terrorist or drone attacks are perhaps the best example: the risk the attacker faces is minimal compared to the massive impact it can have. This creates the need for broader security sensitivity, for sufficient skills to secure assets beforehand, and for capabilities to monitor, analyse and react to threats in real time.

We recently conducted a study which found that most companies' digital infrastructures were already under attack by hackers. These advanced persistent threats are silent, unnoticeable, but with potential to cause extreme damage, in a split second. Getting prepared for this unprecedented situation requires mobilization of minds and resources, not only at a management or infrastructures level, but also at the level of every employee or citizen. A lost smart-phone, a connected production line of production or a connected plane, can become a powerful weapon. Appropriate solutions will come from both political and business initiatives

Real-time intelligence

Companies need to understand that on top of device and software-based security solutions, only an holistic approach that includes real-time intelligence will create an effective hedge. This type of response has a name: Guerilla. The media industry already understood it a few years ago. In order to protect every year 200 billions of revenue in content distribution, they realized they didn't just need hardware and software protection. They set up security labs to fight cybercriminals continuously in order to prevent real-time sharing of content for free on the Internet.

But, to be successful, collaboration between regulatory, political and business environments needs to be strengthened. Current responses such as closing economic borders, and avoiding addressing pertinent economic issues will only lead to the rarefication of talent, and a defensive mindset. Diversity, sense of purpose, respect for the roots of each nation while a strong confidence in the future, are the only ingredients that will spark a proper political response that will reduce volatility.

As technology becomes smarter and smarter, security becomes an open challenge - for us all.


André Kudelski is Chairman and Chief Executive of Kudelski Group