Is society prepared for a kinetic cyber attack?

During this year's RSA Conference, security experts Ed Skoudis and Johannes Ullrich detailed how everything from an industrial control system to big financial institutions are vulnerable to a widespread cyber kinetic attack. Skoudis also expressed concerns that society continues to ignore the risks of these types of attacks. Do you think we're prepared for a kinetic cyber attack? What future steps can we do to better protect our infrastructure?

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Generally speaking, no society is not prepared…nor are most IT shops based on what I see in my work.

I think the overarching issue is the fact that many (most?) people don’t truly understand computer security and what’s at stake…hence the continued security gaffes we see.

The Mandiant APT1 report was fascinating…some eye-opening things for me and I live and breathe this stuff every day. Should be mandatory reading for all.

We can claim compliance with this or cybersecurity for that. I still think we’ve got a long road ahead of us.

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  • TomLiotta
    I agree. Society is not prepared, and most IT shops are not prepared. It costs money to get prepared. Taxpayers don't want to pay for things they feel ought to be free. Management doesn't want to fund work that they feel ought to already have been done (and doesn't return a profit!)   Of course, when original work was done, nobody wanted to invest (pay for) necessary time in putting required safeguards in place. And also, many vulnerabilities are discovered long after components are in place, so there is no way to do things absolutely right in the first place. Constant vigilence and continual updates of security protocols and review of implementations are needed. The lack of ROI (in actual profit) keeps resources from being assigned to perform all tasks that must be done.   Until after society has chosen to pay for it, the work isn't going to be done. In that respect, the continued "hacks" that do happen and that are detected are most of what can be considered the driving force for any work that does get done.   Tom
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  • Kevin Beaver
    Great points Tom. It's sort of a downward spiral - something that was setup for failure from the beginning. I suspect like resiliency we continually build into anything (airline security, building security, automobile safety, etc.) we'll continually get "better" but it'll be at the cost of something else (privacy, freedom, money, etc.).
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