Magazine article National Defense

Malware Attacks Reveal European Cybersecurity Gaps

Magazine article National Defense

Malware Attacks Reveal European Cybersecurity Gaps

Article excerpt

In the wake of two major malware attacks in Europe this past summer, contractors based in the region who wish to do business with the Pentagon and other U.S. government agencies need to ensure proper cybersecurity measures, according to one analyst.

In May, the United Kingdom's National Health Service and other organizations were infected by ransomware called WannaCry. It affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries. Less than two months later, a malware variant dubbed NotPetya attacked several major U.S. and European companies.

These attacks reveal that malware is growing increasingly sophisticated to the point that it is "virtually impossible to detect" with standard cybersecurity protocols, said Timothy Crosby, senior security consultant for Spohn Security Solutions, an Austin, Texas-based information technology consulting firm. That should encourage European companies looking to work with U.S. agencies to enhance their procedures, he added.

NotPetya "devastated Europe because they don't have the type of programs that our Department of Defense and national security infrastructure" has, he said.

A 2017 report by cybersecurity firm FireEye said that "general awareness of the risk posed by cyber attacks, while increasing, remains low" among European companies. Only 31 percent of businesses reported having a strong understanding of their cyber posture in 2016, while 9 percent of surveyed organizations did not even include cyber on their risk register.

"Despite this progress, European companies, like their counterparts around the world, have a long way to go to keep pace with the dramatically changing threat and regulatory environment," the report said. …

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