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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Cyber War on the U.S. has Begun

Unseen, All-Out Cyber War 

on the U.S. has Begun

Security pros and government officials warn of a possible cyber 9/11 involving banks, utilities, other companies, or the Internet.

InfoWorld —
There's a war going on, and it's raging here at home -- not in the streets or the fields, but on the Internet. You can think of it as a war on the digital homeland. If you work for a power company, bank, defense contractor, transportation provider, or other critical infrastructure type of operation, your organization might be in the direct line of fire. And everyone can become collateral damage.

"The cyber war has been under way in the private sector for the past year," says Israel Martinez, a board member of the U.S. National Cyber Security Council, a nonprofit group composed of federal government and private sector executives.

"We're finding espionage, advanced persistent threats (APTs), and other malware sitting in networks, often for more than a year before it's ever detected," Martinez says. He says U.S. entities are being targeted on multiple fronts by China and Iran for espionage and intellectual property theft, by interests in Russia and Eastern Europe for syndicated crime such stealing cash and identities, by social-agenda "hacktivist" groups such as Anonymous, and by increasingly skilled individual criminal hackers.

The cyber war now raging in the digital homeland
Such attacks have been going on for years, but what's new is the cyber war brewing between the United States and Israel on one side and Iran in the other, says Emilian Papadopoulos, chief of staff at Good Harbor Security Risk Management, a consulting firm focused on cyber threats.
"We have seen cyber attacks evolve from espionage attacks that steal intellectual property or monitor communications to disruptive or destructive attacks. ... Destructive and disruptive cyber attacks are relatively uncharted -- and troubling -- territory,"
The private sector owns and operates the infrastructure and systems that form the backbone of the Internet, and attacks on that system could break down trust in the Internet, with major economic and operational impact.
Such cyber attacks on U.S. companies and their overseas partners, as well as on the Internet infrastructure, could be as devastating as the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, warned Leon Panetta, the U.S. Secretary of Defense. And Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security, warned just last week that a cyber 911 attack could happen any time.
Recently, there were reports of banks seeking help from the National Security Agency, Papadopoulos says. "How will the government's role change if we see more and more attacks against companies and they are more and more disruptive or destructive?" he says. That's a question many more people may ask if the world cyber war indeed escalates.
One thing is clear: The era of cyber warfare is here, and it's happening on the homefront.
This story, "Unseen, all-out cyber war on the U.S. has begun," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in information security at For the latest developments in business technology news, on Twitter.

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