UK data watchdog urges vigilance amid heightened cyber threat

In light of the increased risk from Russian hackers, businesses should increase their alertness against cyber-attacks and employees should report any strange emails instead of deleting them, according to the UK data watchdog.

John Edwards, the information commissioner, said that a new era of security had begun. Urging people to keep an eye on their inboxes rather than closing their windows.

Russian hackers might attack Britain, according to experts, including the UK's cyber security agency, and the application of penalties by London against Moscow has reinforced those worries.

Then Edwards said, In answer to the issue of whether a cyber-battle between Russia and Ukraine may expand to the United Kingdom, we have identified that extremely heightened danger environment and believe it is crucial to take this chance to reassure companies of the value of protection over the data they store. Now is not the right moment to draw the shades and turn the lights down. The threats will be sent to your email address.

Outside of the Ukraine crisis and the heightened security danger it has brought. Edwards stated that the Information Commissioner's Office has noticed a "steady and considerable" increase in cyber-attacks against UK firms over the last two years.

The ICO tracked 1,345 "cybersecurity incidents" between July and December of last year. It includes ransomware attacks and phishing scams (where the victim is duped into downloading malware or providing their login information). They are frequently carried out via email. According to the ICO statistics, this represents an increase of about 20% from the same period in 2019.

They might be malicious state actors carrying out an offensive, members of organized crime, or bothersome vandal hackers. It is irrelevant. We should continue working with the National Crime Agency and the NCSC. It will help people understand that cybersecurity is a continuous process. It all comes down to being alert at all times.

The ICO has not yet seen evidence of Russian cyber reprisal against the UK for its backing of Ukraine, according to Edwards. But businesses should evaluate their cybersecurity and encourage staff to report questionable emails rather than just delete them. Before the Russian invasion started, the NCSC advised UK businesses to "create resilience and keep ahead of possible hazards."

According to Edwards, "I have not yet seen such cyber threats come to pass". But now is the time to be cautious, evaluate security settings, and ensure that servers are patched and up to date. Also, encourage employees to practice good email hygiene, and be wary of phishing schemes. You should also notify your IT department. We should get these items blocked to avoid one of your employees from mistakenly exposing the business to vulnerability.

Edwards was New Zealand's privacy commissioner before moving to the UK. He added that if firms do not take adequate safeguards against assaults, they face facing penalties that may include multimillion-pound fines.

The ICO's mission is to help organizations secure persons' data while adhering to data protection legislation. Edwards said, "We'll maybe look at the regulatory choices that we have. Also, the consequences that are there if it's the equivalent of leaving the front door open with a big bunch of other people's possessions inside for anyone to walk away with.