Thousands of people from over 40 countries around the world are participating in Cybertech Europe 2018, considered the largest cyber event on the continent. The two-day conference launched today is comprised of keynote speeches and expert panels, focusing on the global cyber threat, and strategies and solutions for diverse challenges in sectors including finance, transportation, utilities, defense, and government to protect operations, infrastructure, and people. Among the keynote speakers at the event are industry leaders such as Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo, Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky, and Trend Micro CEO Eva Chen, as well as government officials such as Angelo Tofalo, Italy's Undersecretary of State for Defense; Olivier Onidi, Deputy Director General of the Directorate General Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission; Sir Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union; and many more. "Protection of the cyber domain is a central part of ensuring the resilience of critical infrastructure and the safety of governments, companies and individual citizens. It is fundamental to a country's economic growth," said Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo's Chief Executive Officer.
According to Symantec, the ransomware landscape shifted dramatically this year with the appearance of two new self-propagating threats in the form of WannaCry and Petya. Both outbreaks caused global panic and caught many organisations off-guard, and despite the Petya outbreak appearing to mainly target Ukraine, organisations around the world found themselves victim to this cyber attack. With the damage bill in the region of $300 million for shipping giant Maersk and £100 million for Reckitt Benckiser, known for Dettol cleaning products, Nurofen tablets, and Durex condoms, Petya also halted chocolate production at Cadbury on June 27, 2017 -- the day the outbreak came to light. According to Symantec, Ukraine experienced 138 instances of Petya infection on June 27; on the same day, Australia experienced 11. Speaking with ZDNet, Nick Savvides, Norton by Symantec CTO for Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, said his organisation is still seeing thousands of infection attempts from cybercriminals using the same exploits and hacking mechanisms used by Petya.
The Singapore government has underscored the need to safeguard critical infrastructures and drive the necessary ecosystem to safeguard the nation's cyberspace, including pushing ahead with plans to restrict internet access among its employees. In his opening address Monday at the inaugural Singapore International Cyber Week, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said ICT had enabled the country to develop from a third-world to a first-world economy and continued to play a critical role in its efforts to become a smart nation. However, ICT also opened up new vulnerabilities, introducing cyberthreats and attacks that were increasingly frequent and sophisticated, and resulting in more severe consequences. Lee pointed to the December 2015 attack on Ukraine's power grid and and this year's cyber theft involving Bangladesh Bank, which lost US 81 million. He added that the Singapore government, too, had been a target and had experienced phishing and malware attacks, as well as the defacement of its websites.
People's reliance on the internet in their everyday lives is such that good cybersecurity is not only about what individuals and organisations do to protect themselves, but what governments must do to ensure that national critical infrastructure is well protected. Ben Gummer, the minister for the Cabinet Office, has highlighted the growing vulnerability of public services to cyber attack, and the chancellor, Philip Hammond, has committed £1.9bn over five years to bolster cybersecurity defences. The chancellor's announcement, a re-announcement of the same figure by his predecessor George Osborne, is dwarfed by the amount of spending the US has earmarked – in 2017 along, it plans to spend 10 times the UK sum. That said, Britain's spend is almost twice the figure France has put aside over the next three years, and is slightly more than the European Commission's €1.8bn investment in a new public-private partnership on cybersecurity. But just how will this money tackle cyber-attacks and is it effective?