This coming Thursday, the United Kingdom will vote on a referendum that could result in the country leaving the European Union after 43 years. While there are a number of political and economic effects to be considered, we at Solutions Review are especially curious about another possible outcome resulting from a “leave” vote.
Recently, 300 IT workers were surveyed by AlienVault at this year’s Infosec conference regarding the referendum. Nearly 40% of the survey participants feared that an exit could expose the UK to an increase in cyber-attacks. Currently, the United Kingdom benefits from information sharing over threats with other EU nations. Leaving the EU would put an end to this.
This is what worries most British IT professionals, according to AlienVault security Advocate, Javvad Malik.
“Overall, it seems that the vast majority of the cyber security industry would prefer to remain part of the EU. Other parts of the survey found that nearly 80% of participants believe that the a UK “leave” vote would not make their jobs easier and supported EU legislation regarding data protection. “A significant proportion of those surveyed believe that being part of the EU actually benefits them and their work,” he said. “This is especially true of the industry’s attitudes towards intelligence sharing between EU states. Cyber attackers pay no attention to geographical boundaries, transcending borders and jurisdictions to maximize malicious effect. The truth is that we can provide a stronger and more robust defense against emerging threats by working together and sharing information.”
The UK is also facing an upcoming piece of regulation legislation known as The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which would be implemented in 2018. This piece of legislation, proposed by the European Commission, hopes to allow greater unity among EU member nations in terms of data protection. A majority of survey participants believe that even if the UK were to leave the European Union, the GDPR would still need to be addressed.
Regarding the 200 page piece of legislation, Malik said, “Many information security professionals seem to view the legislation in a positive light, believing that stipulations such as ‘data protection by design’ will make the data held by their organisations more secure.”
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