Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cybersecurity - An Update

As you may be aware, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, a designation intended to help raise awareness about potential cyber threats to the United States. Although many Americans think of this issue as one confined to personal events like denial of service attacks and malicious emails, truth is, a well executed, coordinated cyber attack on U.S. infrastructure could be just as damaging to the nation's economy as bombs dropped from enemy aircraft. For that reason, during the past six months, the White House and Congress have been trying to culminate several years of legislative discussions on the topic in order to pass a bill codifying several cybersecurity initiatives. Adding urgency to the situation, approximately one year ago, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security were forced to investigate circumstances at an Illinois water treatment facility that appear to have been the first successful cyber attack against American infrastructure by foreign agents (see: First Successful Cyber Attack Against U.S. Infrastructure).  As an update to this series of developments, find below a chronological list of articles that relate recent developments:
July 26, 2012Rise Is Seen in Cyberattacks Targeting U.S. Infrastructure (New York Times)
August 5, 2012Congress Goes On Recess Without Cybersecurity Law (Tech Crunch)
August 8, 2012: Obama Considering Executive Branch Action on Cybersecurity (Bloomberg)
September 7, 2012White House Draft Cyber Order Promotes Voluntary Critical Infrastructure Protections (Federal News Radio)
October 9, 2012The Dangers of Delaying Heightened Cybersecurity (Senator Lieberman Editorial, Washington Post)

Comment: Serious stuff  - which exists as an issue for the nation's infrastructure because of visualization and control through Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems which increasingly use the Internet, yet employ virtually none of the standard security features found in many online systems. So let's hope between local effort to share information between utilities and responders, and Washington's effort to enact guidelines for protecting the cyber security of the nation's infrastructure, we can find a way to work together to solve these issues before we are beset by another 9/11.

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