By Ryan Gallagher, Steven Bell, Tamsin Eames and Mushtaq Quraishi
Cyberterrorism advice and ‘ethical hacking’ is being provided globally by a Manchester-based IT security firm, after a government warning that internet attacks are among the most serious threats facing Britain.
The National Security Strategy, outlined last week ahead of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, identified terrorism, cyber attacks and natural disasters as the three big risks facing the UK over the next 20 years.
NCC Group, based on Oxford Road, provides ‘ethical hacking’ software – technology which allows companies to make their IT systems secure and safe from the threat of a cyber attack from a real hacker.
Business Development Director, John Redeyoff, said: “The bad guys have realised that it’s a lot less risky trying to steal credit card information or trying to steal personal information for identity theft than smuggling cocaine through airports.
“It’s like an arms race – you have to try and keep one step ahead of the bad guys, and ethical hacking is a really important part of that.”
Mr Redeyoff said the company tests government computer systems and emphasised the need for government bodies to keep information secure as well as commercial businesses.
“Any organisation that deals with either financial information or personal information is at risk,” added Mr Redeyoff. “They [the hackers] can do it from home, they can do it from their bedrooms and there’s less chance of being detected and in terms of organised crime, it is a real threat now to organisations.
“The terrorists are getting cyber smart now as well. If people can bring down government systems it can have a crippling effect on the government as a whole.”
Mr Redeyoff said that millions of credit cards are stolen from companies every year.
The government claims the UK economy loses out to the tune of billions of pounds every year because of internet crime and has set up the Office for Cyber Security to tackle the problem.
There are now requirements on both public and private sector organisations to ensure data is held securely. Some organisations have been fined by the FSA because of lost data.
Cyber attacks can take different forms but usually involve acts of deliberate disruption of computer networks for political, social, religious or economical motives.