Security

Why UN cybercrime chief calls attacks an economic issue

Companies don't just lose valuable information after experiencing a cyberattack, they lose the public's trust as well. "This impacts people's lives," says the UN's Neil Walsh.

There isn't a day that goes by where we don't see a company or government losing an enormous amount of data, according to Neil Walsh, Chief of the UN Office on Drugs & Crime Global Cybercrime Programme.

TechRepublic's Dan Patterson met with Walsh to discuss what companies can learn from cyberattacks targeting governments and NGOs.

It's getting increasingly harder for companies and organizations to retain trust from the public after experiencing a cyberattack, he said. Every time there is a hack, or a loss of a large amount of data, the public loses confidence. While there may be confusion about who should take responsibility for cybersecurity in an organization, "this is a corporate responsibility."

SEE: Cybersecurity in 2017: A roundup of predictions (Tech Pro Research)

"Cybersecurity is as important as keeping your staff physically secure," he added. And until companies recognize that and make it routine, cyberattacks will continue to happen.

Because everyone plays a role in cybersecurity, Walsh suggests for individuals to do three things: Keep your data backed up on a separate device which isn't online, and keep your software up to date, and be careful what you click on.

Once cyberweapons are created and leaked, there isn't a way to confine them. Cybercriminals will take something that may have been used for one purpose, and then turn it into something that causes much more harm, and can be used for many other techniques. "The broader harm that comes from that continues to echo," he said.

With the IoT and the amount of devices emerging into the market, "we got to do what we can to try to secure things like this from the public because ultimately, as we see from every ransomware attack, it hits countries across the globe. It has an impact on poverty, it has an impact on economy, it has an impact on prosperity. This isn't just technology. This impacts people's lives here and now," he said.

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About Leah Brown

Leah Brown is the Associate Social Media Editor for TechRepublic. She manages and develops social strategies for TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research.

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