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A Clear and Present Danger (with Apologies to Tom Clancy)

November 4, 2011

As regular readers of The Situational Room will know, we’re not big on FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), instead focusing on the realities that global commercial enterprises and federal agencies face in protecting their information infrastructure from attack.  We at eIQ – along with, I suspect, the majority of our peers in the information security industry – been watching with interest the discussions taking place in London at the Second Annual Cyberspace Summit, and were intrigued by one particular comment from Claire Yorke of Chatham House, a British Institute created for the analysis of international issues.

In an interview with the BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service) Claire comments that, “actual warfare is quite a high level threat, and I think it will be quite interesting to see whether it is actually possible in cyberspace given it’s limited capacity to actually cause physical harm.”  Limited capacity to actually cause physical harm?!?  I don’t know about you, but attacking centrifuges at nuclear power plants is very real and has the potential to do serious physical harm!

It’s great that events like this are taking place – the London event was attended by representatives from more than 60 countries.  The threat posed by modern advanced persistent and insider attacks is an increasingly real one; the challenge of protecting critical corporate and federal infrastructures from attacks is growing ever more complex; and the potential for a cyber-based attack to do significant and prolonged collateral damage – including plenty of damage in the physical world – is significant.

If that doesn’t count as cyber warfare, we’d love to know what does!

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