With the publishing of our latest Media Cybersecurity Briefing today, I want to mention the exemplary effort of the Royal United Services Institute and the National Cyber Security Centre in producing a comprehensive exposé of the layered harms caused to victims, downstream targets, infrastructure and society itself, by what the authors aptly call “the Scourge of Ransomware”.
Although the paper has not enjoyed widespread exposure, it offers a solid anchor for journalists, reporters and media professionals to take a much-needed deep dive into the shocking impacts of modern extortion and leverage a taxonomy of cyber harms to effectively educate the public.
This type of risk-based effort should be applauded as it strives to raise public and professional awareness, not shying away from the real harms associated with a climate of tolerance towards an unacceptable ecosystem of normalized cybercrime, populated by organized gangs, openly corrupt organizations and an ocean of bottom-feeders.
Crucially, the paper also recognizes – right in its title and throughout – the suffering of victims and struggles of incident responders as a result of what are largely preventable crimes. It’s not just about the money. It is about loss of trust in law enforcement and public services, ruined lives, psychological harms, physical harms to healthcare patients and schoolchildren.
As part of our weekly (invitation-only) Media Cybersecurity Briefing (MCB™, formerly the Sentinel), we educate savvy journalists and intrepid reporters on best practices for cybersecurity interviews and the real harms related to privacy and security incidents.