Heads in the sand: NTT reveals apathetic attitudes towards incident response plans

Heads in the sand: NTT reveals apathetic attitudes towards incident response plans

The way in which an organisation responds to a cyber attack can really be the difference between a few non-critical systems being offline for a short amount of time and a large-scale outage that results in millions of dollars in damages. Having robust cyber defences in place is just non-negotiable anymore, as more and more organisations fall victim to cyber-attack. Looking to the UK market, just last week, research by Hiscox revealed that more than half (55%) of British firms reported a cyber attack in 2019, rising from 40% in the previous year. In conjunction, a recent Twitter poll from Infosecurity Europe 2019 revealed that 83% of respondents believe that organisations are not innovating as quickly as the cyber-criminals who plan to attack them. Both of these revelations are just the latest in a long line of alarming statistics, painting cyber-criminals as an advancing, ever-prevalent threat to digital-savvy businesses.

So one thing that you might expect organisations to be on top of is creating and updating their incident response plans, however, new research from NTT security reveals that this is not the case. According to data from a survey of 5500 respondents, only 49% of organisations have an incident response plan. Perhaps more interestingly, of those organisations that do have one, only a minority actually even know what it stipulates. This is probably not the best area for organisations to be lacking in, as the losses for those who don't act appropriately can be massive.

In a roundtable discussion at NTT's Security Operations Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, vice president of consulting for Europe Patrick Schraut explains one tangible situation where processes weren't good enough after an attack. He says that while it's critical that organisations avoid ‘headless-chicken mode' when an attack occurs, that's unfortunately what he sees in many cases.

‘'A family member of mine works at a hospital and they had a minor attack which used some kind of cryptolocker malware,'' Schraut says. ‘'They didn't patch their systems and as a result, the whole hospital was down. In most situations, they would detect it and try and contain it as soon as possible, as - in the beginning - it was just a few dedicated machines.

‘'However, after five days, they had to shut down their entire operation. They couldn't do anything. They couldn't do important things like retrieve blood results, and they couldn't do X-rays because the storage on the machine was only for five or six pictures and the system couldn't upload pictures anymore. They were completely shut down.''

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Pat Martlew

Patrick Martlew is a technology enthusiast and editorial guru that works the digital enterprise beat in London. After making his tech writing debut in Sydney, he has now made his way to the UK where he works to cover the very latest trends and provide top-grade expert analysis.

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