Cyber security on the world stage

OSP Cyber Academy, the cyber security and awareness training provider partner of the Cyber Centre of Excellence (CCoE), recently attended the Arab International Cybersecurity Summit (AICS) for the second time since its launch in 2022. We visited with eight other CCoE representatives and the experience has helped us understand more about the common cyber security challenges globally and what the CCoE can do to tackle them.

During the two-day event in December we heard multiple speakers from different geographic locations share similar concerns. Delegates and speakers from all over Europe, America, and the Gulf region highlighted that cyber challenges are not unique to one geographical area, and we all need to collaborate in the fight against them. We are all linked through supply chains, we are all vulnerable.

All governments are worried about the threat from Korea, China, Russia, and Iran which are using cyber-attack as weapons of war. The biggest global worry is advanced phishing campaigns that are so credible that you would think they come from a legitimate source. Everyone is also talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI). Since the introduction of ChatGPT people are getting nervous because of the unknown. AI is becoming the tool of choice for cyber criminals because it gives them more capability to develop more sophisticated attacks at greater speed. Data protection is also a huge concern. The criminals want data because that is where the value is. There have been some huge breaches recently where personal data has been exposed and sold on the dark web, leading to reputational damage and massive recovery costs.

Deepfake phishing is a relatively new concern but one that is growing. Essentially deepfake describes the manipulation or creation of audio or audio-visual content designed to extract information or obtain funds. An example could include a video call where face-swapping technology allows impersonation of someone or voice cloning which could be used to leave convincing voice messages or conduct a conversation.

What can we do on a global level to meet this threat without borders? The truth is you can spend your entire life reviewing the next silver bullet and a lot of people are getting fed up with hearing “this is the product that is going to solve all of your problems”. There is no one solution that is going to address all your challenges when it comes to cyber because there are so many things to take into consideration and you should take advice from experts in each field, such as endpoint protection, vulnerability scanning and secure communications, just to give a few examples. Ultimately though, at the end of it, there is always a beating heart. The vulnerability is in the human. Everyone is talking about your weakest link being your people, but they don’t have to be, they can be your strongest link if you keep them engaged with your cyber security resilience programme. Senior leaders must understand this too – if they don’t then the message won’t resonate with the workforce.

In just one year the CCoE has built a very powerful platform which is well situated to help organisations in the UK and beyond. We’ve done this by pulling together hundreds of years of collective experience in the form of our Advisory Board which brings together experts in every aspect of cyber security. Unlike government organisations where there are geographic restrictions, the CCoE has the capability to help wherever in the world your assets are. We understand that cyber security has no boundaries and territories and can help raise awareness and protection globally as well as nationally.

The CCoE is carrying out a research piece on common global challenges. To have your views included please contact enquiries@iese.org.uk.  

Thomas McCarthy is the founder and Managing Director of OSP Cyber Academy, the cyber security and awareness training provider partner of the CCoE which provides access to a wide range of cyber security and data protection training programmes. He is a member of the CCoE Advisory Board and a Director of the CCoE.

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