Michael Gazeley, Founder and Managing Director, Network Box Corporation, argues that government legislation in the realm of cybersecurity has become an urgent and critical necessity.
In today’s hyper-connected world, where technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives, the need for robust cybersecurity measures cannot be overstated. From our omnipresent mobile phones, to our laptops and desktops, to smart devices such as CCTVs, refrigerators and webcam-equipped televisions, which rule our day-to-day existence, everything is an internet connected computer now. With cyber threats constantly evolving, posing significant risks to individuals, businesses and even national security, it is critical for governments to enact legislation to tackle these issues head-on.
Given the objective failure of organisations to secure themselves from hackers and malware, government legislation on cybersecurity is a necessity, bringing potential benefits to society as a whole. Just look at the number of confidential credentials posted on the Dark Web by hackers, which stands at 12.6 billion and counting. There are literally more hacked accounts than there are people on Earth. If that is not a call to action, I am not sure what is.
Safeguarding personal information
In this digital age, personal data is constantly at risk of being compromised. Yet governments and organisations force us to give up more and more of our information. We often have no choice but to fill in the online forms presented to us, typically with the exact information a hacker can use to steal our identities. Instances of identity theft, financial fraud and unauthorised access to private information have become alarmingly common. Government legislation on cybersecurity can empower individuals by instituting standards and regulations to ensure the protection of personal information. The implementation of strong data protection laws, such as stringent encryption protocols and mandatory breach notification requirements, can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches and protect citizens from the potential consequences of cybercrime.
Educating and enhancing public awareness
With the rapid advancement of technology, cyber threats are continuously evolving, necessitating ongoing education and awareness initiatives. Government legislation in cybersecurity can facilitate the implementation of public awareness campaigns, educational programmes and training opportunities aimed at increasing cyber literacy among citizens. Helping citizens become aware of the tactics used by cyber criminals is imperative. By promoting responsible digital practices and equipping individuals with the skills to protect themselves online, government legislation can empower citizens to navigate the cyberspace securely, ultimately reducing susceptibilities to cyberattacks. Artificial intelligence is bringing a whole new level of threat too, as what we see, hear and believe is being challenged with ever more sophisticated deep fakes.
Supporting economic stability
Cyber threats not only jeopardise individuals’ privacy but also pose a significant risk to our economies. Businesses of all sizes, from multinational corporations to small startups, are increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks that can result in financial losses, reputational damage and even bankruptcy. Government legislation in the realm of cybersecurity can foster a secure environment for businesses to thrive. By mandating adequate cybersecurity measures and promoting information sharing about emerging threats, governments can provide businesses with the necessary tools to safeguard their digital assets and ensure economic stability. For governments to implement not only threat intelligence, but also install ‘cyber radar,’ to monitor threats in real-time, would make all the difference to ongoing economic stability.
Protecting national security
Cyberattacks now have the potential to disrupt essential services, compromise sensitive government information, and even threaten national security. By legislating cybersecurity, governments can establish comprehensive frameworks to protect critical infrastructure, safeguard classified data and respond effectively to cyber threats that may originate from both internal and external sources. This proactive approach allows governments to counteract potential attacks and reduce the impact on the nation’s security. The first blow to a nation’s security, even in the case of a war commencing, is far more likely to come from a targeted cyberattack than a barrage of cruise missiles. Indeed, modern warfare now includes the use of hackers and malware, as much as tanks and aircraft. The biggest threat to a nation, or an economy, is likely the use of an enemy’s cybersecurity equipment during a time of peace, only for that equipment to become a Trojan Horse, if and when a war, or even a cold war, commences.
Promoting international cooperation
Cyber threats are not confined within national borders; they are a global concern. Government legislation on cybersecurity creates a foundation for international cooperation in combating cybercrime. On a non-military, law enforcement level, global cooperation can help the entire world combat cyber criminals much more effectively. By establishing international standards and frameworks, governments can collaborate with other nations to address cross-border cyber threats more effectively. This collaborative approach will facilitate information sharing, joint investigations and the extradition of cyber criminals, ultimately leading to a safer and more secure cyberspace on a global scale. In the end, there is essentially one internet to police, despite that internet existing across some 206 economies. This means securing the internet needs to be done collectively. It is simply impossible for one country or economy, to do it all alone.
The urgency to prioritise cybersecurity has never been greater, with cyber threats escalating in complexity and severity. New malware, vulnerabilities and hackers appear all the time. They target our identities, our assets and even our core beliefs. Unfettered attacks on societies, can, and unfortunately do, result in a world where not even what is fact and what is fiction is clear anymore. Facts matter. Truth matters. The government’s role in legislating cybersecurity cannot be underestimated. Leaving all of this to companies, organisations and private individuals just doesn’t work. By enacting comprehensive cybersecurity legislation, governments can protect national security, safeguard personal information, support economic stability, promote international cooperation and educate the public about the importance of cyber resilience. It is through these measures that governments can create a safer and more secure digital environment for individuals, businesses and nations at large. The time to act is now, and through collaborative efforts between governments, industries and citizens, we can build a resilient cyber infrastructure that protects us, empowers us and propels us forward into a secure digital future.
Michael Gazeley, Founder and Managing Director
Network Box Corporation