Boards need to defend against era of cyber warfare

Boards need to defend against era of cyber warfar...

Malcolm Marshall talks about developing cyber capabilities.

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Malcolm Marshall, head of cyber security at KPMG, comments on news that the UK is further developing its cyber capabilities. He says:

“The UK defence secretary's announcement, earlier this week, that the country is developing cyber war capability brings cyber warfare further into the open and highlights a great threat to our society and our economy.

“Only a few years ago most businesses thought that the greatest cyber security threat came from teenage hackers, so-called, 'script kiddies' in their bedrooms. Now the greatest danger comes from sophisticated foreign states attacking businesses as legitimate targets in a low cost alternative to conventional warfare.“

The implications are real and very serious for two reasons. Cyber warfare can be conducted with little physical harm to human life making it inherently attractive. Secondly, the potential to cause serious economic damage is almost unimaginable. The attacks we have seen in the last few weeks on a number of high street banks are trivial when compared to what could be done by a military power. Businesses, particularly those involved in supporting critical national infrastructure, are primary targets, not secondary targets, in cyber war.“

Yet very few have realised that they are at the centre of the next generation of warfare. While governments can provide some protection, businesses can't leave themselves wide open to attack. The chances of any meaningful international treaty governing cyber war being agreed in the next ten years is close to zero, and waiting for this makes no sense.“Boards, in particular the board Chairs and CEOs need to get to grips with the new reality of cyber war threats and lead the defence.”

- ENDS -

Media enquiries:

Mike Petrook,

KPMG Press Office

T: 020 7311 5271

M: 07917 384 576


Lucinda Kemeny/Virginia Furness,

MHP Communications

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About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 12,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2012. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 156 countries and have 152,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.KPMG International provides no client services.

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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