“Mobile internet is creating a new cybersecurity challenge”

Written with input from Akamai

Cybersecurity is receiving increasing attention. And fortunately, because the number of cyberattacks is also growing. While some sectors are particularly at risk, some trends are also having an impact. Cyber-specialist Richard Meeus (Akamai) gives us some important insights.

This is one of the key points on the agenda of the Management Committee in most companies… Cybersecurity is gaining in importance, day by day. This interest is, of course, largely linked to the increasing number of cases of computer hacking and other ransomware, such as very recently in the City of Antwerp.

But the subject is also particularly sensitive to consumers. “In the investigation YouGov, which we commissioned and commissioned in the UK, 59% of respondents said they no longer buy products or services from companies that have been victims of cyberattacks,” comments Richard Meeus. He is Director of Security Technology & Strategy at Akamai, a specialist company that helps companies prevent cyberattacks or limit the damage in the event of an attack.

“Companies are under intense pressure, both upstream and downstream, to take cybersecurity seriously,” says Meeus. “But it also offers advantages. Businesses can see this as an opportunity. Cybersecurity budgets should not be seen as an expense but rather as an investment, with a positive ROI for the business. For example, by positioning it very clearly as a safe company that inspires consumer confidence. Cybersecurity is becoming a differentiating factor. »

Industry and business services, two extra vulnerable sectors

Even industries that had little regard for cybersecurity are changing their tune. This is particularly the case for companies in the industrial sector. “This is the sector most affected by cyberattacks,” confirms Richard Meeus. “It’s because for many years these companies didn’t pay much attention to it. They did not focus so much on the internet and therefore considered themselves to have little exposure. But ransomware has changed that. Thus, the largest gas pipeline in the United States – the Colonial Pipeline – was the victim of a cyberattack in early 2022.

The business services sector is also vulnerable, according to Richard Meeus. “Not because these companies aren’t internet-focused, but because they provide information to many companies and hold a lot of data. When they are affected, it therefore has an impact on hundreds, if not thousands of other companies. »

Of course, the fact that these sectors stand out does not mean that the others escape the phenomenon. It’s still extremely important for every business to be prepared, but… “The higher the wall we build, the higher the ladder for cybercriminals,” adds Richard Meeus. By this he means not just committing to preventing an attack, but also assuming that the attack could happen and succeed. “’Assume bridge’, as we say in our jargon,” continues R. Meeus. “When a cyberattack occurs, it is essential to have everything in place so that it is detected quickly and its impact is as low as possible. »

Cloud is an asset, mobile a challenge

In this increasingly dangerous environment, two other trends are impacting cybersecurity. The first has a positive impact and the second a negative impact. These are the ‘cloud’ and mobile internet, two trends that are gaining momentum in the business world.

“The cloud offers many advantages in terms of cybersecurity,” explains Richard Meeus. “We can store data there and rely on the security of the cloud. The advantage is that the partner with whom we work is responsible for security and ensures that it is constantly updated. We don’t have to worry about it. »

When it comes to the mobile internet, Richard Meeus takes a different view: “Applications often use interfaces – APIs or Application Programming Interface − to exchange data. API security is on par with web applications a decade ago. But of course, cybercriminals don’t take this into account. So you have to be very careful. »

The day when there will be no more cyberattacks therefore does not seem to be for tomorrow. “Cars continue to have accidents despite the fact that they have become much safer,” compares Richard Meeus. “So you have to have the same attitude when it comes to cybersecurity. Do everything in our power to prevent an attack, but once it happens, also have a second line of defence. “A knowledgeable man…

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“Mobile internet is creating a new cybersecurity challenge”

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