Published on in Cyber Security

399px-Enchoen27n3200In the first of a series of security-themed posts here on the Fujitsu UK & Ireland blog, one of our security experts, John Swanson, asks what cyber security can learn from Sun Tzu… 

Just like most of the people I meet across the ICT spectrum, I can see that corporate data is growing. And fast.

But perhaps most significantly of all, this explosion in Big Data means that IT security threats are growing. But faster.

So I was fascinated when the guys at Check Point started quoting Sun Tzu’s Art of War. What surprised me was how strategies from 2,600 years ago still hold true today.

One quote in particular really stuck with me: “Just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.” It seems to capture perfectly the constantly shifting battleground of today’s cyber warfare.

Just to bring this right back up-to-date, in its 2013 Security Report, Check Point identified that:

  • 63% of organizations were infected with bots,
  • 75% of organizations visited malicious websites,
  • 54% of organizations had at least one potential data loss incident, and
  • 36% of financial organizations sent credit card information outside of the organization.

Corporate information is stored everywhere – from datacentres to servers, PCs to mobile phones – and it’s on the increase. Plus we know that security threats are not getting shorter and each new attack reveals a deeper level of sophistication.

There are so many examples:

  • A global payment processing company was hacked in June 2012. Over 1.5 million payment card details were stolen.
  • Between July 2011 and July 2012, the UK National Health Service experienced several data breaches that exposed nearly 1.8 million patient records.
  • In the ‘Eurograbber’ attack in 2012, €36 million was stolen from more than 30,000 bank customers.

Our Security Operation Centre is one part of the global army battling these threats.

When threatened Sun Tzu explains, “Having collected an army and concentrated his forces, he must blend and harmonize the different elements thereof before pitching his camp.”

This aptly describes today’s fight against cyber warfare. For Fujitsu, it’s all about layering your protection, remembering that technology alone is not enough.

I wonder if he realised his words would still hold true over two millennia later?

John Swanson is Head of Security Offerings and Strategy at Fujitsu UK & Ireland.  Find more from him on LinkedIn.

Image credit – Creative Commons Enchoen by 663highland – licensed under CC BY SA.

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1 Comment

  1. another Sun tzu quote:
    “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”

    I am sure this quote is still true over two millenia

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