Extensive cyber security needed

Dhaka,  Wed,  24 May 2017
Published : 16 Apr 2017, 20:20:38
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Extensive cyber security needed

The recent Bangladesh Bank reserve heist has brought into sharp focus the kind of damage cyber crimes can wreak with financial institutions, businesses and individuals. It was in fact just the tip of an iceberg as the country is making a silent but remarkable headway in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).  The heist is indeed a wakeup call for financial and other sectors of the country. Particularly, the financial sector should take lessons from the act of hacking exclusive information. The banking institutions should revisit their IT systems for protection against growing threats. They need to take necessary technical assistance to secure depositors' money, especially to preserve and protect the interest of stakeholders. 

Bangladesh alone is not suffering from cyber threat; it is a global issue now. On an average, 200 cyber attacks take place every day across the world. The attackers now target government and non-government organisations, including financial institutions. A leading think tank on cyber security Ernst & Young estimated the cost of cyber attacks at $100 billion globally. In developing countries such as Bangladesh, the main problem is that many companies and organisations do not know how they are falling victim to cyber attacks. That is exactly why experts have felt the need to address it jointly.

If not checked in time, cyber attacks could emerge as a major threat to the digital transformation of Bangladesh given the poor knowledge and lack of government initiatives to counter the growing problem, according to a study. With the rising use of mobile phones and internet, Bangladesh is ever more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Cyber criminals can gain access to financial data, compromise intellectual property of companies, tap sensitive national data and steal government records. These actions could even compromise national security and interests. The country had witnessed high-profile security breaches over the last few years. Accounts of a private bank were compromised and money withdrawn from them, while the websites of Bangladesh police and the Rapid Action Battalion were hacked. In a single year, 26 government websites were hacked. 

Hackers destroy cyber security of a bank or a company by installing malware in its system, and steal information. They use information to steal money. The authorities must take a closer look at the needs of the country's industries-particularly the financial industry-in managing risk and ensuring protection against cyber security threats. At the same time, we must ensure that we have the capability and know-how to build a secured digital system. 

The cost of ensuring cyber safety is increasing every year in many countries. Financial institutions around the world spend 8.0 per cent to 10 per cent of their IT budget for cyber security. The rate is 2.0-3.0 per cent for non-financial institutions, says IBM. But it is not enough to spend money for ensuring cyber security; it is equally important to identify how cyber security is being breached and take steps accordingly. Banks and companies should put in place prevention, detection, analysis and response system to thwart any cyber attacks. The government should set up cyber security centres to prevent such attacks.

 
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Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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