The UK’s national cyber security strategy, published in November 2011, set out the government’s intentions to encourage industry-led standards and guidance for organisations to manage the risk to their information. However there is still confusion around which standards are best followed. As a consequence the government has announced that it plans to select and endorse a preferred organisational standard that best meets the requirements for effective cyber risk management.
Facebook and Apple have become the latest companies to reveal they had been the target of a “sophisticated cyber-attack” by hackers last month. Although security was breached both companies confirmed that they had found no evidence any user data had been compromised.
In a blog post on its website Facebook explained what it knew of the cyber-attack:
Last weekend the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, signed up to a new World Economic Forum set of principles on cyber-resilience on behalf of the UK government. The UK has joined 70 companies and government bodies across 25 countries and 15 sectors in demonstrating their commitment and determination to taking a responsible and collective approach to ensure secure, resilient digital global networks that are safe, yet open to all.
The majority of organisations will generally now have a number of information security controls in place. However, without a formal Information Security Management System (ISMS), these controls tend to be somewhat disorganized, haphazard and disjointed.
The reason for this is that the controls have often been implemented partly as specific solutions for specific situations, or simply introduced as a matter of convention. Unfortunately, the security controls in operation today typically only address certain aspects of IT or data security, leaving non-IT information assets like paperwork and proprietary knowledge less protected and vulnerable. Sometimes business continuity planning and physical security might be managed independently of IT or information security, whilst Human Resources practices may not recognise the need to define and assign information security roles and responsibilities throughout the organization. The ISO 27001 standard was introduced to address these issues.
The security of both the critical national infrastructure and business interests is increasingly being threatened by cyber criminals. Terrorists, fraudsters, rogue states and individual activists are among the criminals who have been targeting computer systems in the UK over the last two years.