If somebody were to say that there is a security concern, bigger than even the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war; which has put the global security and economy in a disarray, one would be awestruck. You would find it difficult believe it and you would keep rattling your brain for the right answer. Mostly, you would not be able to tackle the riddle. This is how little we knew of the security of the planet we inhabit and claim to be extremely conversant with. The head of the National Cyber Security Centre (NSCC) UK said, ”Even with a war raging in Ukraine – the biggest global cyber threat we still face is ransomware.” Cyber Security became the biggest nation security concern of the US since 2014 and by its extension the world. Ransomware is the biggest of the cyber security threats, and then this equation becomes very simple and clear.
Ransomware can also seamlessly play into any evolving security scenario and can add a decisive advantage to any fight. The warning of the Linday Cameron, CEO, NCSC, tells us something about the scale of the problem. She feels that ransomware has the potential of affect societies and economies. The other intriguing aspect is that the attacks are unrelenting and has kept on increasing in numbers and on every single parameter to judge the intensity and impact of any crime. That the scale is global can send a chill down anyone’s spine. From a single user to bringing the whole nation to its knees can be achieved by this weapon, delivered with an intelligent precision leading to an extremely debilitating impact.
Think of WanaCry, NoPetya to Colonial Pipelines to JBS and the storyline would get completely clear. The attacks are hard and fast. “They are evolving rapidly, they are all-pervasive, they are increasingly offered by gangs as a service, lowering the bar for entry into cyber crime.” As the CEO, she had tryst with such attacks; ”nationally significant incidents” besides the general ones which impact UK more widely. The first type mentioned are complex attacks. The situation could have turned out to be worse, but for the work of NCSC first responders, alongside their counterparts in the industry and international counterparts. In India, this should be neatly worked out, with the capability of instant delivery as in the case of the countries leading cyber defense and response.
While the battle against this high tech crime is waging, taking its own toll but so far that tilt has been against the victims and also the governments trying to wrestle control, in a widely believed Slipping Crime Scenario. A new approach is being advocated by the CEO, NCSC. She says that the NCSC is trying to understand the criminal system that drives ransomware attacks. The complexity of state / non-state actors and ransomware as weapon of war also needs to be understood in this context. What is also to be understood is how the nature of ransomware gangs and techniques they’re using to facilitate ransomware campaigns continue to evolve. She said it not all doom and gloom when we talk of cyber security and ransomware. She proclaimed, ”We want to make ransomware an unprofitable and unattractive business.” Currently, it looks like an uphill task, but henceforth this thought also needs to be a part of the anti-ransomware strategy.
WITHOUT A COORDINATED GLOBAL RESPONSE, THE SCARE OF GETTING CAUGHT NAPPING IS THE BIGGEST SECURITY NIGHTMARE.