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AUTUMN 2015 - Hacked off? It could get a lot worse…

Exactly 210 years ago on this very day (Wednesday 21st October) a man’s plan destroyed those of his rival and gave Britain safety from invasion by another flawed genius whose ambition was, in a chilling portent of the dark days of May 1940, to cross the channel and destroy the British.

Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar was outmanned, outgunned and outshipped (that isn’t a word but it should be) by his combined French and Spanish adversaries. Not only that, his manoeuvre to cut the enemy’s line in 2 places at right angles to their path meant, in the light breeze, his ships were under fire for nearly an hour before they could retaliate.

Despite all these factors the result was the bad guys lost 22 ships destroyed or captured. The Brits? None! – they also managed to inflict over 8 times as many casualties on their opponents by shooting quicker and with more effect.         

Of course Nelson paid the ultimate price for his victory – you can still see his uniform with the hole the musket ball made in his collar bone at Greenwich Naval Museum. Nelson’s uniform and bed taken from The Victory are tiny – small in stature but huge by any standard of achievement. From what I know of the man he wasn’t the sort to retire to his potting shed so this exit was probably always in the back of his mind.

So where have all the heroes gone? We lament we don’t see their like nowadays and it’s true, the world has turned and we no longer have the obvious heroes and villains so easy to spot.

The danger is now hidden. It lurks within every computer in every home, office, school and factory. Apparently there are now 2 billion PC’s operating in the world today in a population of 7.3 billion – In 2013 the National Nuclear Security Administration, in charge of America's nuclear stockpile, saw 10 million cyber attacks per day in 2013 and the numbers only get bigger.

What does this tell you? That the pervasive and relentless invasion of the Internet into our lives will eventually result in what? Global Meltdown? I’ve no idea, but certainly on a smaller scale the increasing ability for large corporations to lose confidential data is truly frightening.

Take a look at these statistics:


These are just a few examples and the numbers are staggering.  That ebay figure is 145 million!!!

This then means that despite running a tight ship, memorising your PIN and never leaving your Blackberry on the train, you can and probably some day will, have all your information pinched by some sleazy good-for-nothing with halitosis, sandals and a dodgy tank-top, who has nothing better to do with his time than to see how much information he can steal.

Abertay Univerity now offers degrees on Ethical Hacking, whatever that means.   

Do I think everyone schooled and trained to breach third party data systems will use their powers for good not evil? I’d bet Nelson’s right eye you know the answer to that one…

Here on Marrs we are at least providing businesses with the means to combat the financial loss which inevitably follows a breach of their computer system. You don’t have to be a J P Morgan to end up in serious difficulties. Even if your data can be recovered, your clients could be a mite ticked off if their information was held on your server and has now been compromised.

I see Cyber Indemnity, both first and third party, becoming the next must have. Think it over – but not for too long, the enemy is just over the (virtual) horizon!

Company breached/date

Type of breach

No. records breached


ebay - 21/05/2014

Hacking or malware


San Jose, California  

J.P. Morgan Chase - 28/08/2014

Hacking or malware


New York, New York

The Home Depot - 02/09/2014

Hacking or malware


Atlanta, Georgia

Community Health Systems - 18/08/2014

Hacking or malware


Franklin, Tennessee

Michaels Stores - 25/01/2014

Hacking or malware


Irving, Texas

Source: iDigital Times