The Reality of Cyber Warfare

It is 3:00 am and a screen lights up notifying the operator of an issue that requires their attention. The operator reviews the information and decides that this is something that requires additional investigation. He contacts his support organization and brings together some senior investigators who review the details that caused this alarm to fire and to determine the severity and scope of the incident. The investigators may request other people to join the bridge to help discover the extent of the incident, effective mitigation techniques, evidence recovery methods, and service restoration concerns as needed.

It doesn’t seem exciting. There are no explosions. There are no bright flashes of light. There are no warning sirens. However, these are folks fighting in the trenches of cyber warfare to defend themselves. It may not be loud, or muddy, but the work they do is vital to the organizations they defend.

These are the people fighting on the front lines in the ongoing cyber battleground that is the internet, many are defending critical infrastructure to help maintain public safety and comfort. Still others defend the economic infrastructure.

Few people are aware of the extent and frequency of the attacks taking place around the globe in cyberspace. This is not a simple war with one side against the other. This is a complex, hostile environment where there are millions of sides and many battles being fought simultaneously. Those on the front lines for specific organizations can see those attacks directed at them and determine the proper response to defend their environment.

Cyber warfare is the new frontier for military actions and defense concerns. New attacks are targeting critical assets that could wreak havoc on infrastructure. Hand could result in numerous casualties.

One example is the recent stuxnet worm that was reported to have been targeting the nuclear reactors in Iran. Whatever those targets might have been, this is one of the first worms to demonstrate how a cyber attack could impact physical infrastructure.

Targets such as power grids, regional water delivery systems, gas and oil pipelines, are at risk and are often protected by the cyber warriors fighting on the front lines in those cyber trenches. No longer are they only protecting cyber assets, they are also defending our food, water, energy, and other critical physical systems.

What have you experienced with Cyber warfare?  What is the best way to defend against it? Where do you think it is leading?  We look forward to your comments.
The Networking Exchange Blog Team About NEB Team