The recurrent hacks experienced by several business corporations and government agencies prove that cyberattacks are too big a threat for either sector to mitigate alone.
Cybercrime is fast becoming a leading threat, especially in an era with repeated reports of cyberattacks, database infiltration, and compromising of various corporations across the globe. Over the pandemic, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation received over three times the usual reports of cybersecurity complaints.
This record is more disturbing than those collated in previous years. Additionally, the average payment of ransomware by victims saw a 43% increase in the first quarter of 2021. The software supply chain is not left out, with numerous attacks recorded globally in these sectors. Many believe the 5G wireless technology does little to abate the situation, contributing instead to the prevalence of these cyberthreats.
How Government And Businesses Could Work Together
With private businesses and government agencies falling prey to this menace, it becomes apparent these major targets can barely survive alone. A way around this is for the private sectors and government agencies to collaborate and jointly fight against this threat.
This government-business collaboration could prove to be the most effective means of beefing up cybersecurity. Here are some effective means through which the government and businesses could collaborate to overcome cybersecurity.
1. Reinforcement of Privacy Laws
Most countries like the United kingdom enforce privacy regulations that prevent government agencies from infringing on the rights of citizens. In such countries, the activities of the government may be restricted, especially when the private sectors and individuals frown upon them.
Hence, forging a government-business collaboration thereon could prove difficult for a number of reasons. Sadly, cybercriminals hardly adhere to these restrictions, opting instead to thrive in them, using these regulations as leverage.
Hence, bad actors and hackers continue to thrive while private corporations and government agencies report increased cyberattacks. Many private bodies kick against potential government-business collaborations because they consider it an avenue for the government to keep tabs on their classified activities, without granting them access to classified databases.
While this proves true in most cases, companies could ensure their safety by employing means such as the use of VPN. The Virtual Private Network serves to create a secure tunnel for internet traffic. This in turn keeps organizations safe from anyone, criminals or government, looking to access private data without consent.
2. Combining Intelligence
This might seem counterintuitive, but sharing information and making them more public could prove effective in the fight against cybercrime. The reason behind this is not far-fetched, as different companies and agencies have varying sources of intelligence.
Sometimes, the missing piece of a puzzle just might lie in a supposed unimportant piece of information within the reach of another agency. When such information is pooled together at the right time, it facilitates faster and more accurate detection of potential cyberattacks by creating a clearer picture.
For years, several industries have kicked against initiatives promoting government-business collaborations. The Barack Obama-led administration in 2012 proposed the establishment of cybersecurity standards encouraging cooperation between the government, private sectors, and consumers.
Many states and industries kicked against this legislation, citing possible infringement of privacy terms. Most considered it antithetical, and a threat to the free-market capitalist ideals.
The effort to foster the cybersecurity collaboration emphasized the need for the private sector to share reports of any data breach with federal agencies.
To facilitate this, the administration introduced private-sector networks like Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations and Cyberthreat Intelligence Integration Center, while empowering the existing cyber-focused agencies.
Although not well received at the time, recent happenings have made companies more open to these initiatives. In March 2022, the White House issued an executive order mandating US companies running critical infrastructure to report cyber hacks. This cyber defense initiative was launched under the project name, “Shields Up,” and has seen impressive compliance.
Interestingly, unlike previous records of cyberattacks reported over the pandemic, the world has seen a reduced number of such threats. This is especially alarming as the prevailing Russia-Ukraine crisis was expected to give rise to cyberwar. Yet, little of this has been reported, which undoubtedly depicts progress.
3. Impose Desired Security Standards
Ensuring security in cyberspace should not solely rest on the consumers, but also producers. Hence, tech companies should naturally strive to tackle risk factors surrounding any product before releasing them to the public.
Sadly, this is not so in most regions, as companies only look forward to releasing high-end products into the market. Such products become potential malware hosts in the hands of unsuspecting users. Human errors make technological devices susceptible to phishing attacks and installing malware which grants hackers access to private data.
However, certain government legislatures could tackle this from the grassroots. For starters, mandating private tech companies to install better security in devices during production could mitigate cyber-risks. Imbibing these measures by design rather than default, in turn, reduces security risks to individuals, companies, and government agencies alike.
4. Enforcing Stricter Response Measures
Irrespective of the security put in place to check cyberattacks, cybercriminals and bad actors keep upgrading their games as well. Sometimes, they can breach these measures established via government-business collaboration.
When these cyber defenses are cracked, the government and private bodies are expected to respond swiftly. Such swift responses could prevent further damage or even lead to the apprehension of the culprit.
These two factions of society could compliment each other using their various strengths. While the government has unlimited access to law enforcement agencies and otherwise secret intelligence, they hardly focus on the commercial implication of certain actions..
That is where businesses come in. Major companies and corporations have departments set aside to study and mitigate potential risks. They also have access to talented individuals trained to hack into cyberspace or detect potential cyberthreats.
This information makes them equipped enough to pinpoint looming cyber-risks or malware. However, the lack of adequate databases at their disposal somewhat limits their potential.
A government-business collaboration would make all efforts against cybercrime more reliable and effective.
From ensuring the availability of information on all fronts through shared data to having enhanced levels of intelligence through joint training exercises, the government and private businesses could indeed tap into each others’ strengths in the fight against cybercriminal activities.