October 16th – In the U.K., the government has received warnings around ‘massive’ potential cyber breaches, involving theft of banking details and tax information, should it continue to ignore its aging computer systems.
Parliament’s Treasury committee is preparing to grill HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about the issue on Wednesday.
Imminent IT meltdown
The security warning states that outdated technologies could result in a “major IT failure or security breach”. Experts believe that permanent, business-disrupting damage could occur.
The risk level has been characterized as “red,” indicating the type of attention and prioritization this concern requires.
What could happen
If legacy infrastructure issues remain unaddressed, large-scale data breaches may occur, exposing government and personal information. As noted above, this information could include bank details, tax information, national insurance numbers and more.
But it’s not just about the data…The compromise of critical infrastructure systems, such as energy grids, public vehicles or healthcare services, could have dire consequences in terms of public safety and national security.
Further, the financial toll associated with a national IT meltdown could be substantial, and the entire episode would likely erode public trust in government and institutions.
Managing the risks
- Government entities should engage in resilience planning. Experts encourage agencies to maintain and update IT resilience plans, ensuring that systems can handle the unexpected.
- Federal entities should invest in state-of-the-art cyber security measures in order to prevent and defend against emerging cyber threats.
- Federal entities must also create redundancies, establishing backup systems and data storage programs that can limit the impact of IT failures.
- Collaboration across public and private sectors is key. This can effectively assist with the prevention of adverse outcomes and strengthen national security.
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