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2014: the year that security broke

Davey Winder takes a look back at how insecure we all were in 2014...

Yes, I'm talking Sony Pictures Entertainment and the breach that led not only to gigabytes of data in the form of emails, documents and unreleased movies being stolen, but also to a shocking display of corporate capitulation.

Sony, when threatened by what is believed to be terrorists, withdrew the film apparently at the heart of the hacking raid. That film will likely now never be seen, nor will the days when cyber attackers took the money (well, data) and ran.

Already there has another attack, this time on a South Korean nuclear power plant, where the attackers have demanded reactors are closed or system specification documents will be released into the public domain. This story was breaking as I wrote this article, so the precise security implications of the stolen documents and the South Korean response is - as yet to me - unconfirmed. The fact that political blackmail has firmly entered the breach equation though does mean that all enterprises will have to double their security efforts in 2015.

I said at the start of this look back that there was little positive to be plucked from the insecurity cluster-bomb that was 2014 but, looking forwards, I think there probably was one rather large bit of collateral repair as it were: publicity.

This was the year that cyber security stories reached the mainstream media outlets with a vengeance. Indeed, at the annual BT Information Security Journalism awards ceremony, the overall title (which I myself have won three times in the past) went to BBC correspondent Gordon Corera for his various reports on the subject.

This has to be a good thing, because when these stories find their way out of the technology sector silo and into the psyche of the general public it means awareness of the threat increases. And, after all, awareness is pretty much the only weapon we have left to fight the continuing onslaught.

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