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March 01, 2010

Businesses Now On Notice

Recent events have put businesses on notice; they are far game when it comes to cyber attacks for socio-political and national security/military reasons. The major reason given when you investigate critical systems vulnerabilities is the high price of improving security and with the recent economic conditions many feel this is a proper justification. When the topic of cyber attack or even cyber war come up, many in the private sector feel the U.S. government is at least partially responsible for protecting them from foreign attack. 
Given that more than 80 percent of the critical infrastructure is privately owned and operated, and an estimated sixty plus percent of the control systems are directly connected to the Internet, the exposure is clear. Nearly all security experts with deep knowledge of critical infrastructure systems believe this makes them not only vulnerable, but a primary target. 
The risk of cyber attacks are now foreseeable risks and as such businesses must address these risks. As a first step, businesses need to become fully engaged with military and government cyber defense planning and emergency response to cyber attacks. The second step would integrate the business community into the investigation of acts of cyber aggression, as well as into the cyber intelligence community so that they can proactively address cyber threats. Finally, the computer, networking and software industries must rapidly address the flaws and vulnerabilities in hardware and software.
Reasons for Action
 A recent report stated that for 18 months hackers based in Europe and China infiltrate more than 75,000 computer systems at nearly 2,500 businesses.
Mike McConnell stated the United States is fighting a cyber-war today, and we are losing.
Richard Clarke, former anti-terrorism czar, said that North Korea was better prepared than the U.S. for cyber war. 
Intel (News - Alert) disclosed that it was hit by a cyber attack in January.

Kevin G. Coleman, a consultant and advisor with Technolytics Institute, writes the Data Security column for TMCnet. To read more articles by Kevin, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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