Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cyberattacks - A Major Threat in Modern Times

Cyberattacks have become a big concern for companies, and the US and foreign governments, especially in the last decade.

Companies store secrets on their computers that are accessible via the internet. Many companies and even governments are at risk, and not prepared for an attack.

Countries/individuals use cyberattacks to get trade secrets, and gain an economic advantage, as well as to get defense/military secrets.

Stories about attacks may only make headlines for a brief time, and/or information may only appear in business and industry websites/magazines.

However, this is something everyone should be aware of.

A Brief History of Attacks:

In 2007 there was an attack on Estonian (Estonia is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe) government and banking websites.

In August of 2008 there were cyberattacks on Georgian government websites (Georgia is in Europe - east of the Black Sea and south of Russia).

In November 2008 a virus attacked a US military computer network, believed to have come from Russia.

In June 2009 the "stuxnet" virus started sabotaging Iran's nuclear program.

More Recent Attacks:

On May 21, 2011 Lockheed Martin, which is the largest U.S. government contractor, and RSA Security, said there was a hacker attack on it's computer networks.

RSA Security is a branch of EMC Corp. and supplies "electronic access tokens" to corporate users and government officials. Some clients include Lockhead Martin, Northwest Bancshares, and Wells Fargo.

RSA said the May 21 cyberattack was linked to a March attack on RSA's database.

Lockhead said the attack was "significant and tenacious", but a White House spokesman said the damage was "fairly minimal"!

There have also been attacks against other large corporations such as Northrop-Grumman, Sony, Google, Visa, and Mastercard.

In April 2011, Sony PlayStation Network accountholders information was stolen.

Also in April 2011, Gmail accounts of top government officials were hacked.

Many investigators think the attacks come from China - possibly from a vocational school run by the People's Liberation Army.

On October 13, 2011 the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) released a document that says public companies must disclose cyberattacks and describe the intellectual property stolen by the hackers.

In late January 2012, The FBI director Robert Mueller said that cyberattacks are becoming a top terror threat.

James Clapper, director of national intelligence for the United States, says that China, Russia, and even Iran have been responsible for intrusions into computer networks.

He said Iran claimed it brought down an American drone, by hacking into the plane's guidance systems.

A New Modern Concern:

Today most of us are now dependent on computers and digital networks for electricity, banking, and many other items.

If power plants are disrupted, or bank accounts, ATM networks, etc, are hacked into, it can affect thousands of people and cost millions of dollars.

Not to mention railroads, nuclear plants and other areas.

So this is something that we should certainly all be aware of, and take whatever security measures we can to counteract.

View the original article here

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