Friday, 24 May 2013

Why we have to take cyber-attacks more seriously


The US defence secretary has said that cyber-terrorist attacks can be as devastating as a physical attack.

Leon Panetta said US intelligence showed "foreign actors" were targeting control systems for utilities, industry and transport to subvert computer control systems and wreak havoc. So the country is preparing to take pre-emptive action if a serious cyber-attack becomes imminent.  

"An aggressor nation or extremist group could gain control of critical switches and derail passenger trains, or trains loaded with lethal chemicals. They could contaminate the water supply in major cities, or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country" stated Mr Panetta in a speech to business leaders on the Aircraft USS intrepid. “Such a destructive cyber-terrorist attack could paralyse the nation and create a profound new sense of vulnerability," he continued.

Mr Panetta explained that smaller scale cyber-attacks are now common. In the last few weeks, many firms have suffered such attacks. He also discussed Shamoon attacks - where oil companies in Qatar and Saudi Arabia have had their computer data replaced with random code.

To know more about such attacks and to trace them, the US defence department developed tools, and a cyber-strike force to attack the source.

"Potential aggressors should be aware that the United States has the capacity to locate them and hold them accountable for actions that harm America or its interests, if we detect an imminent threat of attack that will cause significant physical destruction or kill American citizens, we need to have the option to take action to defend the nation, when directed by the president." Panetta concluded.

We all must be prepared for a cyber-attack, and to understand how much damage it can do. Companies are spending more money every day, to develop protection and to secure their database.

Cyber-attacks are the weapons of tomorrow.

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About the Author:
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.