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Island needs more cybercrime fighters

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Growing threat: cybersecurity in focus, discussed by, from left, Lloyd Holder, Colin van den Bosch and Janet Wilth (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A shortage of cybercrime fighters could put Bermuda at risk from hackers, an expert in the field said yesterday.

Darren Wray, the CEO of IT management company Fifth Step and the guest speaker at a major cybersecurity conference, said: “I don’t think Bermuda is uniquely vulnerable in terms of attack from a cybersecurity perspective but it is unique in terms of it’s geography and in bringing someone in through immigration makes it a bit more of a challenge.”

Mr Wray told the Secure Bermuda conference at the Hamilton Princess yesterday that there had been a huge increase in job advertisements internationally for cybercrime experts.

He added: “Since 2010, there has been a massive increase in the requirements for cybersecurity professionals and the financial services sector has seen an increase of 113 per cent.

“I’m not saying the full 113 per cent exists in Bermuda, but it will have an element of that too.”

Mr Wray said: “The industries that are in here are an attractive target.”

Earlier, during a panel discussion, Colin van den Bosch, head of IT at Clarien Bank, said there was a perception worldwide that Bermuda, as an offshore location, was home to massive sums of cash — which made it a tempting target for hackers.

Mr Wray said that most hackers were “fairly indiscriminate” but that “it’s something that Bermuda and Bermudian companies need to take seriously, irrespective of whether they think they are a juicy target or not”.

He added: “It may be the aspiration of an attacker that he just wants to take someone offline for a while.”

But he said that hackers may only be looking for addresses to complete a patchwork of information stolen from elsewhere in another attack.

Mr Wray added: “Companies may say they don’t hold anything that’s sensitive, but attackers and hackers are looking at how to piece information together.

“That information, when pieced together with another data source they have got from somewhere else, actually completes the jigsaw.”

Mr Wray added that cyberattacks were “virtually inevitable” for companies holding any computer-based information.

He added that he had attended a US law enforcement conference where FBI experts had said most hackers are inside a system for 200 days before they are detected — giving them plenty of time to steal information and cause massive damage.

Mr Wray, whose London-based firm has a Bermuda office, said that it was very difficult to make a company’s computer system invulnerable to attack, which made a good recovery plan crucial.

He added: “It’s vital that they have a good response plan so if they are hacked, if they do have a data breach, they follow that plan.”

Mr Wray said that a 2013 attack on retail giant Target, where hackers broke in through a supplier’s network, had led to the loss of 110 million records, including details of 40 million credit cards.

He added: “It’s important that companies do not suffer the reputational damage that Target had.”

Mr Wray, who in 2000 pioneered new computer techniques to help UK police track down a thief who stole a historic Second World War German Enigma machine from a museum at Bletchley Park in England, set up his consultancy and outsourcing firm several years ago to help firms beef up their cyber protection, has more than 25 years of experience, including stints at IBM, Ace, now Chubb, and at UK banks.

Darren Wray