Do we live in a golden age for hackers? - Statements from IT experts

Organisation & Compliance
What do experts think? Do we live in a golden age for hackers? Board members and university professors take stock of new technologies and state their opinion on how vulnerable companies are.
Mathias Maierhofer, Vorsitzender der Geschäftsleitung bei FL1 - Telecom Liechtenstein

Mathias Maierhofer, Chairman of the Executive Board at FL1 – Telecom Liechtenstein

Yes, these are golden times for hackers. In most companies there is still too little awareness of the risk potential and possible attack vectors thus a lot of targets for them to attack. Of course, these factors play into the hands of hackers.

At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult for authorities and companies to protect themselves with their own know-how and to detect attacks in a timely manner. Staff with the necessary training and experience is scarce, the tools used for defence and detection are becoming increasingly complex and processes for a quick response to an attack are often not sufficiently established. How much longer we will live in golden times for hackers heavily depends on the willingness of companies and authorities to make themselves fit to ward off cyber attacks.

Hendrik F. Löffler, Mitglied der Geschäftsleitung der Funk Gruppe

Hendrik F. Löffler, Member of the Executive Board of Funk Gruppe

We are experiencing an increase of awareness for the topic of hacking in companies. In this respect hackers no longer have it that easy, but cybercriminals are refining their techniques as well! In recent months alone, we have conducted over 60 workshops to assess risks and have worked with our clients to optimise their risk management strategies. Many companies now evaluate attacks from the outside much more realistically than before but tend to forget that the failure or damage of their company’s IT can also happen from within. We see a clear need to catch up!

Andreas Bechthold, Geschäftsführer Infinigate Deutschland GmbH

Andreas Bechtold, Managing Director Infinigate Deutschland GmbH

Permanent monitoring, analysis and risk assessment are indispensable in order to protect companies’ IT environments against modern cyber attacks.

With a SOC as a Service solution, the enormous expense of operating a Security Operations Centre is eliminated, allowing companies to concentrate primarily on the essentials, i.e. eliminating weak points.

Frank Heinzmann, Vorstandsmitglied bei der Information Security Society Switzerland (ISSS)

Frank Heinzmann, Member of the Board, Information Security Society Switzerland (ISSS)

In my point of view, there was already a ‘golden age’ for the typical ‘hacktivist’ in the past. The easiest target was, is and, in my opinion, will remain in the near future end users and SMEs, i.e. the broad population that lacks the know-how and resources to ensure appropriate levels of protection.

However, the protagonists and the attack vectors have shifted, and when we move from ‘typical’ hackers to organised or state-supported cyber attacks and terror, the situation is very different. There, highly specialised, complex attacks are launched against selected targets with very specific objectives. As a rule, substantial funds are available for these – and yes, in this context, one could speak of a ‘golden age’ for the players involved here.

Hassan Marzouk, Head of Sales DACH bei RadarServices

Hassan Marzouk, Head of Sales DACH at RadarServices

These are truly golden times for hackers. Many companies and authorities are inadequately prepared for today’s challenges. This fact opens up a lot of possibilities for cyber attackers. Every organization must consider the fact that it will become the target of attacks. Those who lull themselves into a false sense of security, thinking “I won’t be the next victim”, instead of taking the appropriate precautions, risk massive damage to their organisation, employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. The golden times for hackers will only come to an end if companies and authorities quickly recognize the need for action and react adequately to the actual risks. Then the “hacking as a business model” becomes less lucrative and less interesting for those who run it.

Prof . Dr. Pavel Las kov, Hilti Lehrstuhl für Daten- und Anwendungssicherheit, Universität Liechtenstein, Institut für Wirtschaftsinformatik

Prof . Dr. Pavel Las kov, Hilti Chair for Data and Application Security, University of Liechtenstein, Institute of Information Systems

Yes, absolutely. The more critical tasks of our life we “outsource” to computing devices, the more it makes sense for criminals to hack them. Whoever pays ransom to salvage an encrypted laptop or mobile phone, will certainly do so for “repairing” the “broken” car brakes, opening the door to his home or turning his heart pacemaker back on. All of the coveted and, indeed, extremely beneficial features brought to us by novel IT technologies increase their complexity and, necessarily, the attack surface. Excellent news for the hackers to earn their living and a bit more.