Firms to combat large scale cyber-attacks by 2018

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Companies are set to roll out plans to combat large scale cyber-attacks that could severely disrupt the normal course of business, according to research from Gartner.

40% of firms are predicted to have these in place by 2018, up from close to zero at the moment, a process which will require collaboration between security and business continuity departments.

"Gartner defines aggressive business disruption attacks as targeted attacks that reach deeply into internal digital business operations with the express purpose of widespread business damage," said Paul Proctor, VP at Gartner.

"Servers may be taken down completely, data may be wiped and digital intellectual property may be released on the Internet by attackers. Employees may not be able to fully function normally in the workplace for months."

Such an attack was last seen against the film division Sony Pictures Entertainment, which last year was infiltrated by a group called Guardians of Peace.

The hackers not only managed to make systems inoperable at the company for several days, but also leaked company emails, employee data and even film files to the internet, resulting in weeks of embarrassing headlines for the firm.

"Victim organisations could be hounded by media inquiries for response and status, and government reaction and statements may increase the visibility and chaos of the attack," Proctor said.

"These attacks may expose embarrassing internal data via social media channels — and could have a longer media cycle than a breach of credit card or personal data."

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