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Collaboration key to defeat cyber threats, says Cert-UK

The Cisp uniquely provides the opportunity to see what is happening across all industry sectors, join the dots and share insights, says Cert-UK

Collaboration is the main way cyber security threats will be beaten, according to Chris Gibson, director of UK national computer emergency response team (Cert-UK).

This is the driving factor behind the Cert-UK’s cyber security information sharing partnership (Cisp), which is aimed at jump-starting greater collaboration around cyber threats in the UK.

“The Cisp uniquely provides the opportunity to see what is happening across all industry sectors, join the dots and share insights,” Gibson told Westminster Briefing’s Cyber Security Summit in London.

However, he added that in terms of security strategies, the “way to go” is to be able to detect intrusions and respond, in addition to improving basic cyber hygiene, which he said is still lacking in many organisations.

Spear phishing is becoming an increasing threat, and no matter how much training an organisation does, they need to be able to detect and respond when these attacks are successful,” said Gibson, adding that by just improving cyber hygiene, a lot of Cert-UK’s incident work would go away.

SME participation

Although Cert-UK’s main focus is supporting critical national infrastructure suppliers, he said it is important for all UK firms, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to join the Cisp.

“We want the SMEs to take part, to learn and understand the threats they are up against,” said Gibson, adding that longer term SME benefits are likely to increase as automated threat information sharing systems are developed.

Membership of the Cisp is free of charge, but entitles businesses to access reports by the Cert-UK’s team of analysts from private and public sector organisations, including intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

“Cisp members can also participate in finding answers to problems, as we did with Shellshock, and then benefit from the concise reports we compile to help companies to respond,” said Gibson.

Through the Cisp, Cert-UK is able to make reports from international partners available to UK companies, as well as insights from a range of threat intelligence feeds, alerts, advisories and threat monitoring services.

Looking ahead

Gibson said Cert-UK expect supply chains to be increasingly hard hit by attackers looking for easier routes into larger, better-protected organisations higher up supply chains.

It is believed there will be further incidents like Heartbleed and Shellshock, in which long-standing vulnerabilities in older, widely-used systems are discovered and exploited.

The cyber criminal services-based marketplace is expected to become even more sophisticated and accessible, enabling relatively low-level criminals carry out cyber-enabled crimes using advanced tools and techniques.

Cert-UK anticipates a rise in ever-greater cyber breaches, such as the breach of data at the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM), in which the personal data of more than 22 million current and former employees of the US government was exposed.

According to Cert-UK, there is a likelihood that mobile devices will emerge as a single point of failure for businesses when it comes to keeping corporate data secure.

Finally, Cert-UK expects consumers to demand better security, but Gibson admits this is as much a hope and aspiration as it is a prediction.

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