Global Cyber Alliance is formed – aims to combat increasing cybercrime

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/Okan Metin)

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., City of London Police Commissioner Adrian Leppard, and the Center for Internet Security (CIS) today announced the formation of the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), an international, cross-sector effort designed to confront, address, and prevent malicious cyber activity. 

Cybercrime-related headlines seem to make the news every week. Just yesterday a Russian hacker, Vladimir Drinkman, was prosecuted in the United States for breaking into corporate computers – including those owned by NASDAQ, 7-Eleven, JCP, JetBlue, Dow Jones, Visa Jordan, Diners Singapore and Ingenicard – in what the Justice Department calls “the largest such scheme ever prosecuted in the United States.” 

Adrian Leppard, City of London Police Commissioner, said: “Protection from cyber attacks is a huge challenge for businesses and organisations across the globe. The threat doesn’t respect national borders or legal jurisdictions and the solution to the challenge should recognise this. Today’s announcement should be a sign that the partnership between our nations can continue to protect us today and into the future from those that would use technology against us.” 

Tensions with cyber security remain high, and mark an international problem. Back in July, Russia was accused of launching a cyber attack on the Pentagon which affected 4,000 military and civilian personnel working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

We must treat cyber security threats and crimes as we would any widespread infectious disease – immediately, urgently and collectively.

Russia has also been the victim of cyber attacks. On Monday, the head of the Russian Electoral Commission, Vladimir Churov, told the Russian media the commission’s website came under a cyber-attack carried out by an US-based company. “Yesterday someone attempted to hack our website and alter the data there making 50,000 requests per minute. They failed and we have already established the culprit – it’s a company based in San Francisco,” Churov told reporters. 

Yet the highest amount of cyber attack traffic comes from China, according to the latest “State of the Internet” report from Akamai. The country is said to be responsible for a huge 41% of cyber attacks; which dwarfs the United States in second place with 13% of attack traffic. 

Will Pelgrin, former CEO and President of the Center for Internet Security, said: “Cyber crimes have become a worldwide epidemic with estimates of a half billion global cyber victims annually. We must treat cyber security threats and crimes as we would any widespread infectious disease – immediately, urgently and collectively. Cyber risks have reached catastrophic proportions and, therefore, require an unparalleled, public/private and transnational response.”

Protection from cyber attacks is a huge challenge for businesses and organisations

The Global Cyber Alliance will be headquartered in New York City and London, and will have to be careful to ensure the alliance is seen to maintain cyber security for all rather than pose a united threat in hostile times. 

Jane Holl Lute, CEO of the Center for Internet Security, said: “The Alliance will make practical, effective action a priority, and reach out broadly – irrespective of geographic boundaries or sectors – to build a truly inclusive and collaborative approach to cybersecurity.” 

There’s little denying such an alliance is needed, and a list of partners agree. Partners who have joined the Global Cyber Alliance include leaders from security, defense, retail, healthcare, insurance, energy, aviation, education, law enforcement, government, and finance institutions, including American Express, Barclays Bank, Citibank, US Bank, and the Financial Services ISAC. 

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has committed $25 million in criminal asset forfeiture proceeds to fund this critical work – an initial investment of $15 million over the first three years with an additional $10 million to follow. 

What do you think about the formation of the Global Cyber Alliance? Let us know in the comments.

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