OECD: Economic risk in cyber threats

The logo for the cyber hacking group ‘Anonymous’ is seen on computer screens. (photo credit: REUTERS)
The logo for the cyber hacking group ‘Anonymous’ is seen on computer screens.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In its first set of recommendations in 13 years, the OECD on Thursday said digital security was an economic threat, and not a technical one.
“Digital risk cannot be eliminated, and a totally secure digital environment is impossible if you want to reap the economic potential it opens up,” said OECD Science, Technology and Innovation director Andrew Wyckoff. “But digital risk can be managed effectively. The leaders of an organization are best placed to steer the cultural and organizational changes needed to reduce this risk to an acceptable level.”
Both governments and private companies have a role to play in combating digital risks, the report said.
The recommendations urged governments to adopt national cyber security strategies, including creating a national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), establishing best practices and coordinating with both international bodies and private businesses.
One aim, the report said, was to foster information-sharing across multiple bodies.
The report noted several prominent cyber-attacks and thefts, including the Stuxnet work that destroyed Iranian nuclear centrifuges in 2010, and attacks on US retailers Target and Home Depot in 2013 and 2014, respectively, that led to the theft of millions of customer records and credit cards.
One principal in the recommendations focused on increasing awareness of the problem and how to combat it.
“Since all stakeholders are interdependent in the digital environment, the ignorance of the risk faced by one, or incapacity to manage it, can increase the risk for others,” the report noted. Another recommendation urged responsibility, but avoided the touchy subject of liability.
Perhaps most relevant to Israel was the principal of “innovation,” which noted that keeping ahead of the technological curve was a crucial element in protecting information.
Israel has placed a growing emphasis on cyber security innovation, and has created a cyber security-focused industrial park in Beersheba.