Public institutions, banks and large corporations are frequent targets of this type of attack, given the fundamental role they play in society and the economy.
The effect could be devastating. Blocking operations and stealing sensitive information from the state, corporations and users has the potential to jeopardize the credibility, survival and even safety of the victims of computer hackers.
The danger of cyber-attacks is serious and permanent. By going online, any company, institution or citizen is subject to many high risks from those who take advantage of the weaknesses of the internet itself and breaches in users' security systems to cause damage to property and reputation that can be fatal.
In the same vein, the so-called Advanced Persistent Threats, sophisticated cyber attacks developed by hackers sponsored by states or criminal organizations, add to the cybersecurity challenges.
The breeding ground for cyberattacks is also fed by failures that go beyond the digital world. Non-compliance with highly complex and costly regulations and standards, a lack of collaboration between professionals in the various risk sectors and a lack of knowledge about cyber threats on the part of those in charge, all greatly increase the likelihood of attacks via the web.
On the other hand, financial and social crises also contribute to this vulnerability. During these periods, there is usually a lack of budget to invest in technology and specialized training. In a context of crisis, the brain drain in search of better living conditions makes it difficult to retain qualified cybersecurity professionals who know the critical infrastructures, their vulnerabilities and how to protect the systems at risk.
Faced with the threat, alarm and counterattack systems must be strengthened.
Firstly, it is necessary to institute real and effective operational collaboration in the protection of these sectors through public-private partnerships (government/military security agencies, cybersecurity community and experts) at national and international level in all types of events, a dynamic known as Threat Intelligence Sharing.
At the same time, it is urgent to improve the ability to respond to coordinated cyber attacks aimed at destabilizing a nation's critical infrastructures. Stakeholders should carry out cyber defense simulation exercises on critical structures, with joint exercises, drills, incident response planning, monitoring and practical tests (Table top exercises), just like a conventional army.