Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cyber Attacks, Cyber Terrorism, & Russinovich's Zero Day

Earlier today I posted about drones.  Now we can read about another new technology used in warfare:  cyber attacks.  Here's Tuesday's NBC article "Cyber attacks are leading threat against US: spy agencies:"
Intelligence leaders said for the first time on Tuesday that cyber attacks and cyber espionage have supplanted terrorism as the top security threat facing the United States... They expressed concern that computer technology is evolving so quickly it is hard for security experts to keep up. "In some cases, the world is applying digital technologies faster than our ability to understand the security implications and mitigate potential risks," James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, told the committee... On Monday, White House national security adviser Tom Donilon, citing complaints from U.S. businesses about alleged Chinese cyber espionage, said the issue is a growing challenge to economic relations between the United States and China.

For a novel on cyber attacks, try Zero Day by Mark Russinovich:
An airliner's controls abruptly fail mid-flight over the Atlantic. An oil tanker runs aground in Japan when its navigational system suddenly stops dead. Hospitals everywhere have to abandon their computer databases when patients die after being administered incorrect dosages of their medicine. In the Midwest, a nuclear power plant nearly becomes the next Chernobyl when its cooling systems malfunction. At first, these random computer failures seem like unrelated events. But Jeff Aiken, a former government analyst who quit in disgust after witnessing the gross errors that led to 9/11, thinks otherwise. Jeff fears a more serious attack targeting the U.S. computer infrastructure is already under way. And as other menacing computer malfunctions pop up around the world, some with deadly results, he realizes that there isn't much time if he hopes to prevent an international catastrophe.

If you want further news coverage about cyber attacks, another interesting article from Tuesday was the New York Times' "Security Leader Says U.S. Would Retaliate Against Cyberattacks:"
The chief of the military’s newly created Cyber Command told Congress on Tuesday that he is establishing 13 teams of programmers and computer experts who could carry out offensive cyberattacks on foreign nations if the United States were hit with a major attack on its own networks, the first time the Obama administration has publicly admitted to developing such weapons for use in wartime.

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