The Wikileaks furore says two things to risk managers: digital information is never secret and be aware of cyber attacks
As StrategicRISK was going to press, the founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, was handing himself over to police on Swedish sex crime charges. Assange’s reputation is under attack, just as the organisation he founded is responsible for assaulting the reputation of the US government, among others. The publication of 250,000 classified diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks at the end of November is unprecedented in the history of journalism. It shows just how much our world has changed. It would have been unimaginable 10 or 20 years ago for so many top-secret documents to appear overnight in the public domain, available for anyone to download. The message for large organisations is that you can’t always expect electronic information to remain secret forever. And there’s another side to this story too. Faced with a barrage of electronic (or cyber) attacks,
WikiLeaks has been forced to move the location of its website and change the way it transmits some of its leaked documents. The suggestion is that international agencies are attempting to shut the website down through cyber assault. The lesson here is about the sophistication, anonymity and power that hackers now wield in the electronic economy. Any large organisation that relies on the internet or digital communications and isn’t investing in its electronic defences is living on borrowed time.
We’ve explored these and many other issues in much more depth in this month’s StrategicRISK. On page 24, you can read how cyber spies are digging for secret information that they can exploit.
Terrorists operating from the Arabian Peninsula are taking the limelight, with a sophisticated plot to blow up transatlantic airliners with bombs disguised in printer cartridges. Turn to page 32 to see what our analyst thinks about the threat. Speaking of aviation risks, in our latest risk manager profile we’ve investigated BA’s risk systems and asked what other industries can learn from an inherently risky but incredibly well risk-managed industry (see page 20). StrategicRISK European Risk Management Awards That time has arrived once again. StrategicRISK is accepting entries for the European Risk Management
Awards. We hope you’ll fi nd the time to visit our website www.strategicrisk.eu/digital/srawards2011and complete our short 10-question entry form. If you win, you stand to receive a well-deserved profile boost, plus it’s a great way to build confi dence with your stakeholders, team morale and to recognise achievements. You can also nominate a client or colleague, which is just a nice thing to do. StrategicRISK is delighted to be able to support, recognise and reward the risk management industry’s achievements. We think it’s more important now than ever.
Nathan Skinner, editor, StrategicRISK