Seven tips for cyber exercises

Cyber%201By Dominic Cockram

Cyber attacks will continue to threaten business operations in 2016, with many commentators claiming that this year we could see ‘the big one’.

Organisations are increasingly focused on understanding the impacts a cyber attack could have on their operations and reputation. Many are now using cyber scenarios in their crisis exercises to test and validate their assumptions on how they would respond and reflect on the unique challenges a cyber attack could bring.

The exercises range from fully immersive simulations, that develop and build competence and confidence, by allowing a realistic replication of the pressures, issues and uncertainty, to desktop sessions, that provide leadership teams and broader management the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the nuances of a cyber response such as the awkward language and reporting processes.

Having run a large number of cyber exercises over the last 18 months, I thought it would be useful to share some of the common lessons.

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TalkTalk: The twists and turns of the cyber crisis continue

iStock_000006935624_LargeThe story of the TalkTalk cyber crisis and the company’s response continues to unfold as we saw inevitable outrage over the week-end with stories galore of customers with “potentially hacked bank accounts” raising a whole new raft of rumours, heating the debate and breeding more noise about what might have happened and just how great the impacts may be.

The story was moved by the CEO (quite cleverly) to the broader focus of “cyber risk is a wider problem the UK needs to face up to and address” with calls for more Government support to tackle cyber crime.  A fair appeal and one raised by me in my earlier blog – regulation and control or assurance in this domain is very much required –  even though challenging to apply in a reasonable manner. Continue reading

Talk Talk – a network hack by any other name

talktalk-cyberattack-hack-bank-card-detailsTalkTalk is the latest in a long line of high profile businesses to undergo a ‘cyber attack’ as they call it.  A real pattern is emerging of how these matters are managed in the public domain and it is interesting to note there is no use of the dreaded “hacked” terminology in their reports and messages.

They are now in that incredibly tricky position of knowing intruders have been in – but not being quite sure what they have left with in their bag of electronic ‘swag’.  It is now that the executive team discover just how convoluted the investigations can be and the awful fact that there is the potential to never know exactly how they got in or what was taken.  At a time when everyone is seeking certainty, the challenge of a cyber crisis such as this is that conducting investigations as to where hackers have been on your network, particularly if it is integrated across key platforms, can be a very, very long process. It can be quick if fortune smiles on you but there are no guarantees. Continue reading

Brandjacking: A history of the latest corporate crisis

BurgerKing_hackBy Rosanna Moseley

This week, Twitter hacking has been the corporate crisis of the moment. It started with Burger King on Monday, when their official Twitter handle @BurgerKing was hijacked and adorned with McDonalds’ branding, and claims that ‘the whopper flopped’ and had been bought by their arch-rival and a string of offensive tweets followed. On Tuesday, Jeep was taken over Continue reading

Cyber Security and Business Continuity: The stats & the steps

National Cyber Security MonthAs the relationships between businesses and customers move increasingly online, last week’s denial-of-service attack on HSBC was a stark reminder of how dangerous cyber attacks have become. ICT continuity has quickly risen to become a top business and policy priority, and essential to safeguarding organisational survival.

Most organisations, regardless of size or sector, are dependent on their ICT infrastructure to deliver products and services. Any disruption can negatively impact operational capability, and by extension, do damage to reputation, profitability and even potential for future growth.

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Cyber Security and the 2012 Olympics

With just one week to go until the Opening Ceremony, London is buzzing! The summer Olympics in London offer an incredible opportunity for athletes, spectators and whole nations to come together in celebration of sporting achievement. Unfortunately, the London 2012 Games will also offer a unique opportunity for criminals to defraud large numbers of people. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it was reported that China suffered 12 million online attacks per day, and officials at this summer’s London Olympics have already reported 124 known scams that have targeted millions of consumers. In the past four months, fraudulent activity targeting smartphones has increased by 800% in the UK, which has been linked to the fast-approaching Olympic Games. Smartphones offer a new, easily targeted and particularly vulnerable chink in the armour of cyber security. Continue reading

Hello Crisis Thinkers!

Welcome back to our new, revamped and rejuvenated blog. We’ve been away from the blogosphere for a while, keeping busy with many projects and preparing our clients for London 2012, but now that the Olympics are just around the corner (how time flies!) we are back. We will be using this space to discuss all things crisis – providing you with top tips on resilience planning and crisis management, giving our two pennies’ worth as crises unfold, and answering any queries or questions you may have.

We’d love to hear your comments and feedback, so please do get in touch.