Keep calm and keep your data secure

Are you sitting comfortably?  Well you shouldn’t be.  By the time you’ve read this blog, your computer will have been the target of multiple cyber-attacks. The UK government and many of this country’s biggest companies are fighting off thousands of sophisticated cyber-attacks every day.  It’s a big problem, and it’s only going to get bigger.

In February 2015, 100 banks and financial institutions were been attacked in an ‘unprecedented cyber robbery’.  Recently, Sony one of the biggest consumer electronics and digital entertainment companies in the world got hacked on two occasions.  Passwords were discovered, secret emails made public and corporate transactions were exposed to the world. The company lost millions in the damage done to its share price and in lost transactions.  Apple, Microsoft and Vodafone have also experienced breaches in their corporate digital security.

In this connected world, the old desktop based term of “online security” is out of date.  Like everything in life, cyber-crime has moved on.  In the next 20 years, it’s predicted that ‘traditional’ crime will decline but there will be a substantial growth in cyber-crime.  That’s because so much more of the way we live our lives will be in a “connected, smart” world. Fitbits and smartwatches; connected. Credit card payments and smartphones; connected. Paying for your parking and restocking your fridge; connected. Your wallet and your car? Connected.

But O2 customers don’t need to rip their internet connections out of the wall and sit under the stairs.  O2 drives the prevention of cyber-crime, not just the cure.  We are determined to stop it in its tracks. And we work 24/7 to achieve it.

FACT: O2 was the first network operator to be awarded the CESG Assured Telecoms certification, CAS-T, for mobile voice and data security

FACT: O2 was the first mobile operator to gain the new Business Continuity standard ISO 22301, which sits alongside our ISO 27001 certification for the way in which we handle and protect all of the data we hold for our customers

FACT:  Starting in 2013, we developed a‘10 Steps to Cyber Security’ protocol based on policy and guidance from the Government security agency at GCHQ and the British Standards Institute

FACT: O2 received a Green (high assurance rating) from the Information Commissioner’s Office on how we protect data. This means that our customers can have complete confidence in our network and the way we handle their information.

We also play a key role in a number of Government security forums, such as the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), Technical Advisory Board, Telecommunications Industry Security Advisory Council (TISAC), Communications Industry Personnel Security Information exchange (CIPSIE), and Communications Crime Strategy Group (CCSG).

As one of the world’s leading technology and communications companies, we know cyber-criminals change their tactics every day.  We shouldn’t be fooled into thinking there’s a magical technology that will eliminate data security threats. No single technology can keep us completely safe all the time. No one country or business can tackle cybercrime alone.  That’s why we work with the Government, our customers, shareholders, employees, suppliers and society at large.  We will continue to embed security into everything we do in the fight for data security as we believe it’s one of our most important ‘battles’ in the war against cyber-crime.

Nigel Watson, Head of IT Security at Telefónica UK