Armageddon On The Cyber Horizon?

Saturday, April 20, 2013
By Paul Martin

UK networks are being targeted by up to 1,000 cyber attacks every hour. Are we sitting idly waiting to be attacked?

Alan Bentley
Wednesday 17 April 2013

Cyber security has become a major threat to global infrastructure and economy. We’ve seen malware designed to spy on and subvert industrial systems at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, a destructive Trojan horse disable thousands of computers at Saudi Aramco and the US Defense Secretary warning that the US could face a “cyber Pearl Harbor” following the crippling of US bank websites. The tide of increasingly sophisticated and potentially destructive attacks is rising. The possibilities are chilling.

The problem is that operational technology is the bedrock of every industry and fundamentally underpins our critical infrastructure. It is so widespread it controls everything from oil plants to nuclear reactors, power grids and banking systems.

So much critical infrastructure is vulnerable. Oil pipelines can be turned off and the pressure in nuclear plants turned up. Hackers can use any number of entry points to breach IT systems and, once inside, can access servers, databases and operational equipment.

More recently, a diplomatic time bomb was uncovered, which illustrates how cunning this activity has become. Dubbed Red October, this subterranean stalker has been stealthily stealing emails and other encrypted classified documents from diplomats for about five years. It has infected at least 350 government organisations around the world, especially in the former Soviet republics.

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