Cyber wars: A looming threat

The U.S. government is planning to include a "simulated cyber terrorism response" as part of its three-week exercise in September to test the financial sectors' ability to respond to pandemics, Ars Technica reports. Last May, Estonia was the victim of a series of Denial of Service (DoS) attacks that affected major businesses and online services.

Security was never an ingrained part of the Internet. For a technology that began life as research work for easing transfer of data among scientists, security may not have been the first thing on the mind of the designers of the Internet. Vinton Cerf, one of the creators of the TCP/IP protocol (the protocol that makes the Net feasible), comments that approximately 150 million of the systems online could be part of botnets, and the number is rising.

It makes lot of lucrative sense for hackers, or rather "bothearders," to shepherd a large number of systems connected online (feebly secured) to launch targeted attacks that could generate junk at the rate of an astounding 20 GB per second. The Russian and Chinese governments have been routinely suspected of enlisting the services of these hacker gangs for attacking online initiatives (Strategy Page).

The Internet is increasingly becoming an organization's lifeline, and hence it's pertinent on part of organizations to allocate resources for defining and implementing security measures that can effectively counter cyber attacks. Such measures could include identifying and securing critical resources (Web servers, DNS, file servers) and implementing information security measures (CertMag). As for governments, an integrated co-operative framework (on a global scale) could be set in place, such that communication of the means of attacks and information for tackling the attacks can be shared in real time.

Future scenarios apart, how prepared is your organization in dealing with cyber attacks? Join the discussion here.

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