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Friday, 03 July 2015

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Security guru warns businesses of cyber theft

CHINESE cyber criminals could be targeting the nuclear industry in a bid to steal information and copy technology, west Cumbrian businesses have been warned.

IT security expert Dr Paul Irving shocked members of the Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster with a presentation outlining the scale of cyber crime, which costs the UK economy £27bn a year.

And he warned that the state-sponsered cyber criminals based in China could be trying to hack into the businesses linked to the British nuclear industry.

China has already listed the nuclear industry on a list of 16 major special projects it wants to develop.

Other areas on the list such as production of large planes, trains and wind energy have already seen China stop imports and suddenly start exporting the technology it used to buy, Dr Irving said, adding that in some cases there had been clear links to cyber espionage to steal technology.

“SMEs may be targeted and there is a need for the industry to ensure the supply chain is protected from attack,” he said.

Nuclear reactors and associated technology are worth £34.8bn in exports to the UK and are likely to be top target for cyber criminals.

Dr Irving, of Keswick-based Lakestyle, told his audience at the cluster members meeting at Energus that companies could fall victim to cyber criminals in many ways, including through attacks on the IT system; email interception; interference with phones and laptops on foreign trips and social media based attacks.

An advanced persistent threat would see a sustained bombardment of a company’s IT systems to find a weakness and gain access, Dr Irving said, adding that on average they would lie undiscovered for 416 days.

“Imagine somebody being able to route around in your files at their leisure for that long,” he said.

The vast majority of firms attacked in this way – 94 per cent – only found out when third parties alerted them to the problem, he said.

l This article first appeared on our business site in-cumbria.com.


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