Coming soon: More attacks on critical infrastructure?

Lauri Almann

Estonia's Undersecretary of Defence, was part of the response team faced with the challenge of defending against the attacks. In the year that has passed, much has been learned by Almann and others about the nature of the attacks. Almann was in Washington recently to discuss those lessons'and what needs to be done to guard against future attacks.

Secure Computing's third-quarter Internet Threat Report
predicts that 2009 will see an increase in politically motivated
attacks such as those experienced already in Estonia and Georgia
(the nation, not the state).

However, for the time being, the surreptitious theft of data
from information technology systems, as Chinese hackers are alleged
to have done in this country, is likely to remain a more serious

Cyber attacks against infrastructure haven't risen to the
level of real warfare or terrorism. Although the Estonian attacks,
suspected of having been carried out by Russian partisans in a
dispute between the nations, interfered with some online commerce,
denial-of-service attacks seldom have more than nuisance value in
disrupting some one-way communications from Web sites.

Studies indicate that the wholesale disruption of systems is
more difficult than often thought, and as systems become more
diverse, interconnected and complex, bringing them down only
becomes more difficult.

For the foreseeable future, Internet warfare is likely to remain
the domain of spooks operating under the radar rather than cyber
attackers carpet-bombing our infrastructure.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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