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For those in the supply chain industry, losing your warehouse management system to ransomware would be akin to disaster

Editorial – June / July 2017

Investing in security systems used to mean CCTV, electric-wire fences or even just a hefty padlock, but with businesses moving to cloud-based data storage and operating systems, it was inevitable that modern-day criminals would shift there too.

At a recent tech seminar I attended, the keynote speaker told delegates that the Next Big Thing in careers would be IT security: “Growing cyber attacks around the world mean organisations across all industries will need professionals to keep their data safe and secure.” These words rang true this weekend when a ransomware attack on a global scale never experienced before crippled the likes of the UK’s National Health Service, telecoms firm Telefónica in Spain and FedEx in the US.

New Zealand’s voice for the technology industry, NZTech, says cyber attacks around the world by ransomware have increased by 50% in the past year, and the total cost of cyber attacks has been estimated to be over NZ$400 billion a year. Chief executive Graeme Muller says ransomware locks people out of their files and demands a ransom before they can access them again. “While the ransom is relatively small at around NZ$430 per computer, the criminals who are collecting the ransom will be making millions due to the number of computers affected.”

For those in the supply chain industry, losing your warehouse management system would be akin to disaster, with the business unable to accept orders, receive stock, or dispatch goods. Mark Micklefield, a senior consultant with IT experts Kaon Security, says cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and aggressive in their endeavours, and management needs to put cyber security on the agenda. He describes the awareness of the seriousness of the cyber security issue as a ‘gaping chasm’.

You can read Iain MacIntyre’s interview with Mark Micklefield in this edition of FTD. If you think you have a cyber security problem and need advice or wish to report an incident, contact the national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) at www.cert.govt.nz.

Until next time …
Lynne Richardson, editor


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