Opinion | Channel 4’s The Undeclared War: Cyber Fact or TV Fiction?

The Undeclared War kicked off on Channel 4 last week, telling the story of the UK wrestling with future nation state cyber-attacks. With the UK pledging £5m to the state of Georgia to prepare them for such attacks, and the Russian cyber threat increasing worldwide: are the lines between fact and TV fiction blurring?

Ross Brewer, Vice President of EMEA and APJ for Attack IQ has worked in cybersecurity for over 30 years, and comments on the hit Channel 4 drama:

“With 3,500,000 unfulfilled cybersecurity positions expected by 2025 the industry owes a big thanks to Channel 4 for raising the viability, criticality, and risks associated with cyber-attacks. Hopefully, the show will inspire people to consider cybersecurity as a career path. While it may not be as exciting as depicted it can be very lucrative.

“Many are asking, is this show anything like reality, could such an attack happen? The sad truth is it can and does happen to telecommunications, critical national infrastructure, and government organisations all over the world all the time.”

Ross continues: “The dirty secret of the cybersecurity industry is it doesn’t take a nation state bad actor to bring down the organisation you work for, it takes a basic hacking group a little time and patience to compromise, hold to ransom or disrupt any major business’s IT operations.

“There were over 300,000,000 ransomware attacks during the first half of last year. With analysts reporting more of these kinds attacks last year than the last five years combined, so we are seeing a massive escalation on cyber-crime.

“Organisations need to adopt a Threat Informed Defence whereby they use the known threat actor behaviour (TTPe Tactics, Techniques and Procedures) from the likes of the MITRE ATT&CK matrix and test their cybersecurity defences to find the gaps before the hackers do.”

Ross concludes: “Organisations have two choices when it comes to testing their cybersecurity readiness, they can do it, or the hackers will do it for them.”


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