Two weeks ago the first rumors about a hack at Dutch company Diginotar were heard. With short and powerful tweets from experts, an unprecedented digital drama unfolded within 48 hours. Soon came reports in blogs, newspapers and television news programs. And, last week, on Sunday morning at 2 am, there was that historic press conference by Dutch Minister Donner. Our data may not be secure. And the government was not prepared for this.
More and more data about world trade are stored in community systems. We share this information with others in the supply chain, and increasingly, in the cloud. Commercial transactions are handled by Portbase, Cargonaut and international trade and customs systems. Our financial data can be found in the banking community systems of Swift.
And when we’re traveling around the globe, our personal data is stored in the Amadeus reservation systems, but also in many custom and border systems.
All these systems are in the information chain interlock. All these systems depend on the confidence that we have in the data contained in those systems.
The Internet is shaken by doubts about security. Can we still trust our trade data? Might this be worse than the global banking crisis?
Dutch organization VNO-NCW told companies that use Diginotar certificates to secure their Internet communications, by moving rapidly to other providers of security certificates.
But who trusts the other certificates that are available? Diginotar-gate spreads like wildfire. The Iranian hackers have also hacked Yahoo, Twitter and Facebook.
No organization appears to be immune. What happens when companies in the supply chain will no longer trust each other’s information? Is this financial transaction guaranteed? Is this order confirmation actually true? Are our containers actually on that vessel? And is the bill-of-lading accurate?
You would rather not imagine what the impact could be on world trade if we no longer trust information in the supply chain. Are companies, unlike government, prepared for this? I am afraid the answer is no. This may be worse than the banking crisis.
It is 10 years after September 11, 2001, the day of the attacks on America. Today we don’t need trained pilots hi-jacking aircrafts to teach the Western world ‘a lesson’. Cyber terrorists today can work from home, via satellite, like in a real James Bond movie. In contrast, you cannot guard yourself, as an individual company, against this threat.
I am worried; ‘we ain’t seen nothin’ yet…’. We might just be too trusting!
Walther Ploos van Amstel.
p.s. thanks to Bill Beblo for translation!