During the last couple of years, cyber-attacks on private citizens and companies have become a natural part of the news stream, highlighting yet another company, public institution or private citizens under attack.
The development of the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence means that more and more physical entities are connected to the Internet, and digital artificial intelligence is increasingly expected to perform analyzes and make decisions. This poses new challenges.
We no longer talk about warfare in the classical terms of guns and other weapons, but instead of cyber-attacks and the spreading of fake news or leaks that potentially influence political campaigns and democratic institutions.
But how big is the threat really?
According to a 2016 report from Deloitte, Denmark is the fourth most attractive exposed economy in the world, when it comes to cyber-attacks. Most Danish citizens heard about the hacker attack on Maersk in June 2017, causing them to lose the astonishing amount of around 1.9 billion DKK. However, it is not only large international Danish companies that are under attack. In 2017 one third of Danish companies answered that they have experienced a digital attack within one year.
But it is not just companies that are targets. In February, Microsoft’s CEO Marianne Dahl, who previously spoke at a Digi-Talks event, encouraged Danish politicians and political organizations to be careful as the Danish election and EU parliamentary election are coming up. In the last couple of years elections have become a primary target of hacker groups. It has been revealed that the Russian hacker group, known as Fancy Bear, has previously hit American political organizations and have now targeted European political institutions.
Last year, Denmark was included in the protection program called “Defending Democracy”, which is a proactive choice to avoid the influence of hacker attacks on the democratic processes in Denmark, Marianne Dahl explains. In the month of February the Danish Centre for Cyber Security and the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) have held workshops at Christiansborg to prepare Danish politicians for the potential threats in the upcoming elections.
How does it affect me as a citizen?
As private citizens we also need to be aware of cyber threats that can hit us in our everyday life. The concept “ransomware” often hits private people by sending out an e-mail with a hostile link. As the recipient clicks on the link, a program locks the files on your computer, taking them hostage. The hackers will then in return demand a ransom to unlock your personal files. In 2017 over 300 Danish people were affected by the global ransomware attack called Wannacry.
This article is not meant to scare you, but to hopefully help you to take the issue of cybersecurity seriously. In the digital world of today, we can no longer close our eyes to the importance of protecting our institutions against cyberattacks. It also seems naive to continue stating that we as a private citizens do not have anything of interest to the hackers.
However, the good news is that you can take relatively simple measures to prevent a personal attack and equip you to recognize a viscous e-mail when you receive one for example by having different passwords, using different mail accounts and keep updating all your software.
Nevertheless, it is more difficult for big companies and the public sector to prevent cyber attacks. Moreover, we need to be aware of the potential influence of fake news and cyber-attacks on the democratic foundation of our country, namely our elections.
Want to know more?
Join our event the 3rd of April 17:00 – 19:00 at CBS here. We have invited IT-Security consultant, Keld Normann, will guide us through how hackers find their target, how they can hack your computer and how you preprare for it. In addition the current CIO for Total in Denmark (former Maersk Oil), Tom Christensen, will enlighten us on the consequences of a cyber-attack on private companies and the public sector.