The digital world is now so polluted with viruses, ransomware, malware and other malicious code that it is impossible to clean up and the focus of business investment and industry research must be to manage and defend against such threats.
The problem is that there are so many people out there spending all their time creating new ways to infiltrate systems, find back doors in the code of programmes or just attack networks. Security and monitoring systems are very robust but individuals all over the world are doing this and the Internet allows their creations to spread at lightning pace.
There are even kits people can buy online where they can build their own virus. It is becoming more and more accessible and the problem is only going to grow.
Once viruses are released, they never go away. They hang around, either lying dormant in files or being passed between cyber attackers, either being updated and modified or simply used to target systems that are not up to date. Trying to eradicate the problem is no longer a viable option.
As commerce, industry and even our personal lives become more reliant on the web and the Cloud – remote data storage that can be accessed anywhere via PCs, laptops and mobile devices – the risks of cyber attack become even greater.
Personal banking data, telephone numbers, client information and business accounts all need to be protected and that is why the focus of the digital industry and global governments now needs to shift to managing and containing threats.
People and businesses need to take responsibility for their own protection. It is no longer an option to rely on luck or expect not to be targeted as often attacks can be issued to thousands or millions of email addresses or machines at a time.
But even if it were possible to keep on top of every new threat, there is one inherent weakness in all systems which can never be truly eliminated – people. There is always the risk that a user can be tricked into opening an attachment which unleashes one of these programmes, causing critical data to be lost, stolen or destroyed.
As more firms migrate to the Cloud and outsource their data storage and networking, they need to prioritise the ability to protect their data alongside functionality and cost. Is saving money on digital security worth the risk of losing your data and the impact on your business? That is the big business decision firms of all sizes now have to make.