Protect NGOs and small firms from digital attacks

7 June 2017

Protect NGOs and small firms from digital attacks

The SP is proposing the establishment of a Digital Trust Centre to combat the growing stream of digital attacks against firms and social organisations. SP Member of Parliament Maarten Hijink wants to see such a centre cooperating intensively with the Dutch National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). “For small and medium-sized businesses and social organisations it’s extremely difficult to arm themselves against massive attacks such as occurred recently with ransomware,” Hijink explains. “The Digital Trust Centre would aim to inform people about the risks, but most importantly to detect attacks and offer organisations practical support in keeping their ICT safe in the event of an attack.”

Last month more than 100,000 computers were infected with ‘Wannacry’ ransomware, a type of virus that locks computers and files. Victims were asked to pay a ransom before they could access their systems and retrieve data. Wannacry led to chaos in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, where hospitals had to be closed and operations postponed. In the Netherlands the ICT systems of Q-park car parks was infected. “The risk of a massive attack with ransomware grows by the day,” says Hijink. “Many organisations aren’t well-prepared, and that can have major consequences. If thousands of firms in one fell swoop are hacked, the economic damage can’t be foreseen. Of course institutions must make sure that their software is up-to-date, but there is also a collective interest in increasing digital security. So a Digital Trust Centre is extremely important.”

During the parliamentary debate on the proposal for a Digital Trust Centre, Hijink also called for an investigation of how the responsibilities of the suppliers of software might be broadened. As things stand suppliers are free to stop providing any support for outmoded software. Firms, organisations and private individuals who continue to work with such software run a heightened risk of infection with new computer viruses.

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