“Cyber ​​security is like playing chess. You always have to think a step ahead.”

“Cyber ​​security is like playing chess. You always have to think a step ahead.”

From the goal to the means

Due to geopolitical tensions, cybercrime is no longer an end in itself. “Look at it as a new way to achieve goals that were previously too difficult,” Masland says. “If China wanted to gather information from abroad for forty years, someone had to spy physically. Nowadays, it’s a different story; now a laptop can be used to digitally hack companies and governments.” Countries are also thinking about how to use the Internet strategically. For example, they saw quite a bit of activity from North Korea at digital security company ESET in February. “Many attacks have been carried out specifically on the agricultural sector. Why? In the country where they are dealing with a food crisis, so they want to collect knowledge to improve their food production. To achieve this, they use cyber attacks. A good example of this is that cyber crime is not an end in itself , but it is mostly used as a means.

Awareness of the dangers of cyber attacks

As the chance of becoming a target increases, the question arises whether we are sufficiently aware that other countries are targeting us. Masland has her doubts. “Yes and no. I see that the Dutch government has a cybersecurity strategy that is going in the right direction. This strategy states that our entire ecosystem must be made more secure, just as we have done in the physical world. We should soon be able to assume that a laptop is safe, that it There are no software bugs and that companies can take many measures against cyberattacks.

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So far, the CEO is positive. However, he has his doubts about whether we are sufficiently aware of the urgency with which we may actually have, due to current geopolitical tensions, to deal with an increasing number of cyberattacks in the very short term. “The plans and the awareness are there, but we are not fast enough to implement the measures. I get the impression that we are continuing to hold on too much.”

He states that companies often view cybersecurity as a constantly moving forward task. “We don’t have that luxury, and often we don’t realize it enough. Somehow I think we all think that Russia is totally against Ukraine, and China is with the US. But that’s not the case. The plans are on the shelf, only the urgency to take action is missing. Because we are Holland We often want to be the best boy in the class, I’d like to do that in terms of digital flexibility!”

Keep intruders away

As mentioned, cyber criminals can strike quickly to collect information and crack systems. According to Masland, this is the gist: “For corporations, standing up for yourself is not an end in itself. However, criminals have only one goal, they are well grouped and are becoming more experienced by the day. Combine that and you end up in a situation We’re in it now.” Increasingly, ESET sees that cybercriminals can act very quickly. “A bug in a piece of software can be found and misused in half an hour. What organization in the Netherlands does an IT team work together in half an hour?” According to the cyber expert, we should go there. “If we are not quick to fix a software bug, we need to think about what to do if the virtual backdoor is open in the meantime. For example, put cyber security on the agenda for a management meeting, meet regularly with the IT department as a manager and raise awareness that if We as a company were like something, it could potentially involve risks.”

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Should we, according to Masland, lie awake at night from a potential cyberattack? “No, not that. But we must realize that the digital playing field has recently become faster and more dynamic.” And closing with a reassuring message: “Where did we first say that if criminals wanted to enter, they would come. Do we now see in Ukraine that Russia, perhaps with its most aggressive cyber army, still fails to digitally destroy Ukraine? So you see: if you want to defend yourself And know what to do if you’re the target, you’ll succeed. Resilience is achievable!”

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