Share IT security intelligence to counter electronic terrorism

Companies should be sharing intelligence on IT security to counter the increasing threat of electronic attack from Islamic...

Companies should be sharing intelligence on IT security to counter the increasing threat of electronic attack from Islamic fundamentalists and other groups, user bodies advised this week.

Last week, the head of the UK's National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre told Computer Weekly that companies should be reviewing the security of their systems because the prospect of war with Iraq has increased the threat of cyberattacks.

While most large organisations have invested heavily in IT security since the 11 September terrorist attacks, collaboration will help prevent potential problems arising from any war with Iraq, said David Roberts, chief executive of blue chip IT user body the Corporate IT Forum (Tif).

"There has been a lot of investment in IT security since 9/11 and companies are a great deal wiser about the issue than they used to be," he said. "What we would hope to see is organisations working more collaboratively with the intelligence they have picked up."

The continuing prevarication over the Iraq situation has heightened uncertainty for IT departments, and this means more collaboration and sharing of information is vital, Roberts said.

"Organisations are sharing more information than they would have historically done but everybody is still on a learning curve," he said. "We launched a service allowing Tif members to share information on IT security six months ago, but we have not had big numbers using it."

Regardless of whether there is an attack on Iraq, companies should be wary of electronic attacks, Roberts said.

"It does not really matter where the threat emanates from, tightening systems against attack should still be a priority," he said. "The situation [in Iraq] has seen it escalating to some extent but the preparation is done to counter threats of electronic attacks from all sorts of perpetrators."

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