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Preparing for Geo-Political Tension

Sabrina Berko

Sabrina Berko

Conference Producer at CIO & CISO VISIONS | UK

How do businesses prepare for geo-political tension and what has past conflict taught us?

Historically, nefarious state-sponsored cyber-activities have escalated when geo-political tensions are high. With the recent and continuing unrest in Ukraine, the European Central Bank has issued warnings about potential cyber attacks.

“The Russian invasion has shaken the foundations of the European security architecture to its core,” said the Under-Secretary-General.

Over the past six months there has been an increase in threats, including distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, malware activity, phishing and attacks on cyber-physical systems. Proactive business leaders have already made risk assessments about operations that may be affected or if their supply chains are vulnerable.

But if you are only just now evaluating your cyber posture, it may be too late. Effective cyber defence is a long game and the cost for those unprepared can be catastrophic.

With businesses implementing sanctions in Russia, desperation to get global fund sources in the next few months could increase the risk of pseudo-governmental ransomware attacks.

Is your company ready to defend itself? Do you know what threats your organisation should look out for?

How can my organisation prepare for geo-political tension?

  • Review your business continuity plans
  • Closely examine your supply chain, and where you base your IT services.
  • Patch for all software and vulnerabilities, even old ones. If it is on the internet, communications, or remote business operations.
  • Actively engage your peer networks, vendors and law enforcement around cyber intrusions. Empower your teams to reach out to the cyber and intelligence community who are closely watching the same threats.
  • Instil a security mindset in your employees. Be prepared to respond quickly, reinforce how closely cyber security is connected to overall business security. Too often leadership turns to IT teams for a solution but IT security and geopolitical risk go hand in hand.
  • Security leaders need to be looking at the global threat landscape from a business lens, enterprise security cannot be managed in a vacuum by the security team.

Corporate resilience and business continuity plans are paramount. It is time to prepare those contingency plans and test if they are current, realistic and fit for purpose.

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