Cyberwar. This term has being thrown around over the last couple of months and it does sound very scary. The whole thought of someone taking down a countries power, banks, transport etc without having to leave their computer was once the stuff of science fiction. If you believe all the hype this is now a reality.
Today the world is so immersed in technology that it affects every aspect of our daily lives. Any action taken online affects actions taken offline and vice versa. Everything we use, whether it is banking, shopping, driving etc is linked in some way to our use of computers. If these computers go down the task they were helping to manage becomes affected. Just think of the hassle when your emails don’t work and then multiply that by thousands when, for example, a banking error means people can’t access money at cash points.
How real is it the threat of an actual cyber attack then? If you look at what happened to Sony Pictures just before Christmas the threat is very real. When Sony got hit workers at one point were forced to work with pen and paper. “We even fired up our fax machine,” one employee told the LA Times. This is a multi national company brought to its knees as emails and confidential data were stolen and then released to the world.
The threat is so real to some governments that the US and UK have agreed to stage cyber war games to test each others defences.
So what is the best defence? Personally cyberwarfare should be treated along the same lines as traditional warfare. There is always a threat of potential war somewhere in the world but governments don’t panic about it. The same approach should be taken with cyber attacks. You continually test your own defences and if they are found to be wanting you improve them. Knee jerk reactions like banning encryption as David Cameron wanted a couple of weeks ago is not going to help. Teaching people to understand the implications of a cyber attack could also go a long way.
What do you think?
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