Cyberthreat posed by script kiddies’
A tech-savvy schoolchild could bring Bermuda to its knees with a cyberattack on its IT systems, national security minister Wayne Caines warned yesterday.
Mr Caines explained that national security strategies had identified “script kiddies” as possible threats.
He added these were “people, even some children, are technically sophisticated enough to wreak havoc with someone else’s programme”.
Mr Caines said: “It is now difficult to avoid stories of companies, or municipalities or countries, suffering damage from cyberincidents. Companies fold or face millions of dollars in fines, while municipalities suffer from power outages or citizens are denied access to services they need.
“There can be no doubt that cybersecurity is a critically important issue that all Bermudians must take seriously.
“Indeed, without strong cybersecurity awareness and preparedness, our safety, economic prosperity and national security is at risk.”
Mr Caines added that finance, retail, hotels, professional services firms such as lawyers and accountants, as well as healthcare institutions could all be targeted with catastrophic consequences.”
The threat from schoolchild hackers echoes the plot of the 1983 Cold War smash hit movie WarGames, where a high school pupil (Matthew Broderick) accidentally hacks into a US defence computer system controlling nuclear missiles and almost starts the Third World War.
Mr Caines said: “Today we rely on interconnected virtual information networks for nearly everything we do in our personal, business, and public service lives. “While this undoubtedly benefits our lives in many ways, it also carries risks.
“We are vulnerable to cyberattacks from malicious actors and today these actors can be anyone and they can come from anywhere — small time con artists trying to make a few bitcoins or steal personal data that can disrupt government institutions.”
Mr Caines was speaking as he opened the two-day Cybersecurity Framework Workshop at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute in Hamilton.
A keynote speaker yesterday was Matthew Barrett of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, who led a discussion on the cybersecurity framework.
Mr Caines told delegates: “It is important to adopt an internationally recognised, industry standard framework for the sake of proper cybersecurity planning and proper risk management, rather than to have no framework at all.
“We are a globally-recognised jurisdiction in international finance, business, law and we are considered one of the richest countries in the world.
“We must now all work to ensure that we have the necessary elements in place to protect and secure our key infrastructure and businesses. You represent that new vanguard. Let’s work together and ensure we raise and keep the standards of cybersecurity at the requisite levels.”
But he added that everyone — Government, public and private sectors and individuals — had to take steps to maintain cybersecurity protection.
Mr Caines said that “we share a responsibility to ensure that we are well-prepared to identify and manage cybersecurity risks, wherever they are and whenever they appear”.
He added that Bermuda already had cybersecurity working group, made up of professionals from the public and private sector, which was working on an audit of the island’s ability to withstand attacks.
Mr Caines said: “We are also working through the cybersecurity Cabinet committee, under my chairmanship, to address and attempt to mitigate cybersecurity risks to the Government.”
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