On 27 June, on the eve of a public holiday in Ukraine, a major global cyberattack took place. Ukrainian companies were among the first to announce that they were being attacked, followed by reported infections across 64 countries. Later reports confirmed that 80% of all infections were in Ukraine. The hack was the biggest in Ukraine’s history, with businesses, government institutions, media companies, industrial holdings and strategic state owned enterprises attacked.
Smart Security is Total Security
The lack of legal regulation of the national state policy on cybersecurity and a clear cybersecurity strategy complicate Ukraine’s fight against cybercrime. A recent cybersecurity test demonstrated the need to develop a clear legal framework for national cybersecurity policy. The legal basis should determine the legal and organizational framework for ensuring the protection of vital interests of Ukraine and its people in cyberspace.
One example to follow is that of our colleagues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC. The U.S. Chamber’s National Security and Emergency Preparedness Department was established over a decade ago to develop and implement the Chamber’s homeland and national security policies. The task force’s Cybersecurity Working Group identifies current and emerging issues, crafts policies and positions, and provides analysis and direct advocacy to government and business leaders.
The need to address increasingly sophisticated threats against American and global businesses has evolved from an IT issue into a top priority for the C-suite and the boardroom. US Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue recently commented: “In an interconnected world, economic security and national security are linked. To maintain a strong and resilient economy, we must protect against the threat of cyberattacks.”
Software Security: Keep It legal
Unlike most things you buy, software doesn’t necessarily belong to you. Paying for software generally makes a person a licensed user, not the owner. Some users turn to installing pirated software. The usage of illegal software is a widespread problem in Ukraine, as the market for pirated software is significant. Using such software means potential trouble for users dealing with confidential information like financial statements, sensitive passwords, and personal media items.
Due to high levels of unregulated usage, software companies experience material losses, the risks of cyberattacks greatly increase, and Ukraine’s IT sector lags behind many European countries. Obviously, the Ukrainian government as well as business should respect and follow antipiracy legislation, because software piracy has resulted in lost jobs and unfair market competition. The only way to solve the problem with illegal software is to carry high penalties for users caught in the act.
Think Before You Click
Digital literacy is an emerging concept in Ukraine that can serve as an effective tool for personal and data protection. Digital literacy is not just a basic skill or the ability to handle a computer. It is the competence to use, create and share digital content safely and responsibly. Thus, every bona fide employer today, understanding that big data needs big security, should promote knowledge of effective navigation, evaluation, and creation of information in cyberspace within their staff. Various instruments can be used nowadays: trainings, online resource guides, development of eLearning strategies, and even self-exploration.
In the words of Neil Rerup, cybersecurity entrepreneur and IT security futurist: “True cybersecurity is preparing for what’s next, not what was last”. That is why it is pivotal for Ukraine to develop a legislative framework on cybersecurity, comply with software licenses, and promote digital literacy. These factors can become powerful drivers for securing Ukraine’s cyberspace.