Countering Cybercrime in the 21st Century

28 June 2019

How is cybercrime affecting our world and what can be done to counter it? Dr Tristram Riley-Smith chaired a discussion at CSaP's annual conference on 26 June where he was joined by a panel of speakers from Rand Europe, the Home Office and Dstl. In his opening comments he posited the idea that globalisation, despite its many advantages, had opened the door for a massive wave of cybercrime to occur with ease and impunity.

Access to malware via the dark web is widespread and doesn't require any technical skills. One of the panellists, a speaker from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), described the military and national security implications of such threats and how the “world wide web” had now become the "wild west web".

Dr Giacomo Persi Paoli discussed the potential threats and mitigations cybercrime can pose to largescale events such as the Olympics. Building on examples of cyberattacks in the past, such as the 40 minute-long ‘denial of service’ attack on the London 2012 Olympics power supply, he described resilience and preparation as the bedrock of any cyber system.

During a fruitful discussion with the audience, a key point was noted that a crucial change in the mechanism by which government acquires and retains talent in the cyber space was needed. The competition in pay and perceived glory of private employment was much too great for government to retain the talent of cyber specialists needed to tackle an increasingly widespread threat. The career paths offered in public service for cyberspace would need to be adapted to match the needs and wants of the specialists. In addition, huge non-technological issues remained around cybersecurity and privacy which could lead to Western society as a whole having to rethink its approach to the internet.

In conclusion, due to the unpredictable nature of cyberthreats, one potential solution would be to shift our focus away from preventative measures towards the design and building of resilient cyber systems which could be sustained in any eventuality.

  • 26 June 2019, 9:30am

    CSaP Annual Conference 2019

    CSaP's Annual Conference will bring together members of our network from government, academia and elsewhere to discuss some of the policy challenges we have worked on over the past year.