"To reap the full benefits of the IoT, there’s an obvious need for intelligent security assessments,” says Sectra CEO in light of cybersecurity news.
During the past few quarters, including yesterday’s presentation of the nine-month interim report, Sectra has mentioned its intentions to broaden the operations of the business area for secure communication to include new customer segments where Sectra, as a specialist in data security, can contribute. In this interview, Torbjörn Kronander, Sectra's President and CEO, elaborates on the background to these plans.
Can you explain why you see an opportunity for Sectra to make a contribution in new areas of society?
Connecting more and more devices to each other and to various sources of information is making the day-to-day life of both businesses and individuals more efficient, richer and simplified. However, this Internet of Things (IoT) is also creating a vulnerability to human and technical errors, data breaches and cyberattacks. At Sectra, we have a longstanding experience of providing security and threat analyses for our encryption systems for defense and government authorities. We now see an increasing need for the same type of analyses in other parts of society.
Let me mention a few examples to clarify:
- This summer, researchers announced that they had remotely taken control of cars and driven them off road. Moreover, they made their tools public. This news has gained renewed attention in social media this past week. (Learn more: http://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/)
- This winter, US care providers were forced to pay a ransom to regain access to patient information when this information was “held hostage” by ransomware in the IT system. (Learn more: http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/02/la-hospital-latest-victim-of-targeted-crypto-ransomware-attack/ or http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/17/los-angeles-hospital-hacked-ransom-bitcoin-hollywood-presbyterian-medical-center)
- During the past few months, there have been continuous cyberattacks on the Ukrainian power industry severely damaging the operations of three regional companies. (Learn more: http://www.wired.com/2016/03/inside-cunning-unprecedented-hack-ukraines-power-grid/)
We believe that embracing the Internet of Things offers major gains for society, such as in terms of efficiency and effectiveness as well as business development for traditionally rigid industries. But the risks involved must be mitigated.
So, how can Sectra contribute?
We have 30 years’ experience of making threat analyses and security assessments for the most demanding industry – the defense and government sector, where national security is actually at stake. This has given us deep knowledge and understanding of data security and well-proven processes on how to assess a situation, evaluate various threat scenarios and improve security without jeopardizing efficiency and the need to communicate. We understand the value of balancing security against asset value and can support organizations in adequately mitigating risk without overinvesting. Making decisions in this area requires a keen understanding of the way information and data flow in and between systems and where they create value for the organization. Our security experts have this understanding.
In which segments of society do you feel Sectra can contribute?
Like the examples mentioned earlier show, the need exists in several different businesses and Sectra has been evaluating its concepts in some of these over the past year. We have, for example, participated in a research project with the automotive industry, which provided a systematic approach of security requirements for the automotive industry.
For us, this research project was a way to validate our processes and knowledge, proving that it is applicable and valuable to industries outside of our normal realm. I see it as an example of how the Internet of Things is creating a much bigger need for security awareness on a level that has not previously been seen.
Other areas where we have evaluated our concepts include the energy sector. As the efficiency of critical systems in this sector is enhanced by adding connectivity and controllability, the resulting need for increased data flows between control systems, remote systems and business systems elevates complexity and the exposure to cyber threats. The effects can be severe, as shown in the example above.
All in all, we see many new ways for Sectra to contribute to the stability of society.
For further information, please contact:
Michael Bertilsson, President Sectra Communications AB, tel 46 (0)708 23 52 25
Torbjörn Kronander, President and CEO, Sectra AB, Tel: 46 46 (0) 13 23 52 27
The world needs more efficient healthcare and more secure communication. Sectra plays a key role in meeting these needs. Sectra assists hospitals throughout the world to enhance the efficiency of care, and authorities and defense forces in Europe to protect society’s most sensitive information. The company was founded in 1978, has its head office in Linköping, Sweden, with subsidiaries in 14 countries, and operates through partners worldwide. Sales in the 2014/2015 fiscal year totaled SEK 961 million. The Sectra share is quoted on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange. For more information, visit www.sectra.com.