The last few months have seen some real interesting news in the area of computer security. First there was the Stuxnet virus that attacked Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Then there was the announcement of the Flame virus that not only could affect software, but could turn a computer into a fancy eavesdropping device And just this week, Tech Central.ie reported a cyber-security think tank has published a manual studying how international law applies to conflicts in cyberspace, where the laws of conventional warfare are more difficult to apply. The manual comes from experts working with the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), an institute based in Tallinn, Estonia, founded in 2008 that assists NATO with technical and legal issues associated with cyber warfare related issues.
As the political party conventions have ended here in the US, both parties are talking about Cyber Security as a national threat. The White House is circulating a draft of an executive order aimed at protecting the country from cyber-attacks according to The Hill’s Technical Blog. The Republican Party has responded with a plank in their platform calling for voluntary cooperation between companies rather than another governmental organization.
It’s not just on a national policy level that major security issues. Google has admitted that its online mapping service cars snatched data from private wireless hotspots. Considering that a recent study done by the University of Illinois found that only half of all users change any defaults at all on the most popular brand of wireless router, can the company that has an informal motto of “Don’t be Evil” be really trusted with what they have found?
I haven’t even touched upon the criminal or simply vandalistic element that we have all seen over the last few years.
We have all heard about collateral damage in war zones. I would contend that if you are on the Internet, you are in a war zone. Are you already or are you going to be “collateral damage”? Have you reviewed your defenses for this new age? What could you afford to lose if you are hit, even if you weren’t the target? Contact your IT Professional and have them check your environment. And when the cost estimates arrive, balance not just the cost dollars, but also the potential dollars that could be lost if you become collateral damage.