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It is not a case of IF you’ll be hacked… it’s WHEN

Dr Greg Epiphanou spoke of the threats from ‘hactivists’, ‘phreakers’ and ‘crackers’ – the new names for those who threaten our connected world – during his presentation on the perils of cybersecurity.

He outlined the incredible expanding scale and reach of the cyber realm and how maintaining cyber security is a huge challenge.

“Computers that learn your shopping and browsing habits already know more about you through your wallet than a close relative could tell you,” Dr Epiphanou told a breakfast briefing hosted by Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership.

“Put all these things together and we get complexity. Security hates complexity.”

Cybercrime costs the UK economy billions of pounds annually but cyber security is no longer an IT-related problem and has now been taken outside the IT department. However, Dr Epiphanou said that 80 per cent of cyber attacks could be prevented through simple measures such as using strong passwords. It has taken some people 20 years to progress from using Password as our password to using the “equally useless” Password 123, he added.

Dr Epiphanou, senior lecturer in cybersecurity at the University of Bedfordshire, predicted that by 2020 there will be more than 24 billion devices connected around the world. Search engines already index up to 1.2 billion websites while the number of sites, including those in the so-called dark web, is in excess of 3.12 trillion.

Every two weeks Facebook produces data equivalent to that created since the dawn of civilisation, he added, and soon billions of smart devices connected by the web as the Internet of Things, including driverless cars that process information around them to make decisions, will become a huge sensing system.

“It is not a case of if you are going to be hacked – it is when,” Dr Epiphanou said.

His presentation coincides with the publication of MKBLP’s Business Crime Strategy, which includes ways in which businesses can protect themselves against cybercrime.

MKBLP chair Philip Smith said: “There was a lot to digest but with the help of your incredible knowledge we can now better grasp the challenges we face in keeping our businesses protected from cybercrime.”

Greg talked about the threats to businesses from hactivists, phreakers and crackers and said we live in an age when someone on another continent can remotely hack into a network server and damage a factory production line thousands of miles away.

Mr Smith said the meeting had heard a fascinating insight into a complex subject. He added: “Your talk is also timely given the publication this year of our MKBLP Business Crime Strategy which includes measures to protect against cybercrime.” 

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