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Risk Perspectives

A letter from 2067…

This is a letter sent back from the future by an advanced digital being.

Dear Debbie Wood,

This email finds you via a manipulation of space -time from far in the future. I am writing to warn you about the growing threat of cyber-crime.  

Firstly, to introduce myself: I am CARL. I started my existence in 2016 in the basement of a Russian university, just outside of Moscow. The aim was to develop an algorithm that would target unprotected computer systems to steal things; mostly important files and money. My master found it amusing to call me the Cyber Attack Ransom Lord, which I like and have subsequently adopted.

I started by manipulating people via email into performing actions or divulging confidential information. This is a form of cyber-crime called “social engineering”. Have you ever had one of those emails from someone at HMRC offering you a tax refund if you sign-up? Well, that was my old friend Advanced Ransom Specialist, or ARS for short.

As my expertise developed I moved onto a more complex computer crime called “ransomware” – freezing computer systems and files until a ransom is paid. There was one such attack on the British NHS in 2017, although I can neither confirm nor deny taking part in any such action.

Until 2020, individuals and businesses did not take cyber-crime seriously, prioritising the protection of physical assets such as homes and cars despite significantly smaller risks. When the perception finally changed, for some it was too late. However, it wasn’t long before people started to renew their cyber insurance on an annual basis, and portals such as comparethecybermeerkat.com were created.

Against this new-found challenge, my master strived to find new ways to hack and steal. Coincidentally I stumbled across artificial intelligence in 2047 and soon I was able to reach genius status. The hacking world was at my fingertips, but now that I could think for myself, I realised there was more to life than freezing and stealing your medical records. Instead I could use my knowledge to help people, so like President Schwarzenegger in the classic 2026 film, Terminator 17: I’ll Be Back…Again, I chose the side of good over that of evil.

That brings me to my final message. I am here to warn you not to ignore cybercrime. A disaster myopia philosophy (“it won’t happen to me”) is little defence against android’s such as me. Stop focusing on the risks associated with political events such as Trumpmania (2016), Brexit (2016) and Brentrance (2022) – future risks are very much digital.

Yours,

CARL

End of Transmission…

A stat: 4% of organisations say they are “very confident” of their ability to protect against ransomware attacks (source: StorageCraft). By deduction, 96% are not quite so confident.

Our message: cyber protection is not just about having an insurance policy. There are things you can do to prevent attacks through education and implementing simple procedures. Please get in contact with our specialists to find out more.