UK businesses could be liable for £122 billion in fines for cybersecurity breaches from 2018, as the debate on Bitcoin’s role in combating ransomware threats shows signs of change.
‘Stratospheric’ Fines Reveal Scale of Cybersecurity and Ransomware Problems
Despite the looming fear of Brexit, from 2018 the country looks to be bound by EU-wide legislation which will set penalties for breaches at 4 percent of global turnover. While the figure now is £500,000, under the new rules it could be up to €20 million.
“The regulator will be able to impose a stratospheric rise in penalties for security breaches, and it remains to be seen whether businesses facing these fines will be able to shoulder the costs,” PCI Security Standards Council international director Jeremy King said quoted in Finextra. He described the new fees as “astronomical.”
The £122 billion figure is the result of the pervasiveness of cyberattacks facing UK businesses. 90% of larger organizations and 74% of the remainder flagged attacks in 2015, generating £1.4 billion in fines.
The news comes as the Police Service of Northern Ireland investigates a ransomware attack on a business center in the capital, Belfast. Hackers gained control of the IT infrastructure and demanded 3 BTC in return for restoring access.
“The important thing to note is that we didn’t have any specific vulnerabilities, but these criminals are incredibly intelligent,” CEO Maragret McMahon told the BBC, echoing rising sentiment that cybersecurity sophistication must rise in order to meet increasingly adept criminal threats.
McMahon and the BBC erroneously reported the 3 BTC fine as equal to £13,000; in fact it is around £1,575.
MIT Director: ‘Bad Guys Still Use’ Suppressed Technologies
While the ‘Bitcoin ransomware attack’ has become common press parlance, contemporary debate is already actively separating Bitcoin from any inherent ties with cyber threats.
Speaking in a closed debate on artificial intelligence and security with Barack Obama and Wired editor-in-chief Scott Dadich last week, MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito suggested Bitcoin should be a tool for crime fighters.
“To me… the problem is if you suppress [AI and Bitcoin] because of fear, the bad guys are still using it,” he said. “What’s important is to get people who want to use it for good… so that that’s where we start to lean.”
Nonetheless, at business level, the message regarding cybercrime remains “act fast”.
“Companies, both large and small, need to act now and start putting in place robust standards and procedures to counter the cybersecurity threat,” King added.
What do you think about current commentaries on cybercrime? Let us know in the comments section below.
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