Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Is internet security approaching a crisis?

According to this, yes:

Intel Chief: U.S. at Risk of Crippling Cyber Attack
The United States is at risk of a crippling cyber attack that could "wreak havoc" on the country because the "technological balance" makes it much easier to launch a cyber strike than defend against it, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said Tuesday.

Blair, speaking to the House Intelligence Committee, said U.S. tools are not yet up to the task to fully protect against such an attack.

"What we don't quite understand as seriously as we should is the extent of malicious cyberactivity that grows, that is growing now at unprecedented rates, extraordinary sophistication," Blair said. "And the dynamic of cyberspace, when you look at the technological balance, right now it favors those who want to use the Internet for malicious purposes over those who want to use it for legal and lawful purposes."

Blair said the United States must "deal with that reality," and warned of the catastrophic consequences of a major attack.

"Attacks against networks that control the critical infrastructure in this country ... could wreak havoc," Blair said. "Cyber defenders right now, it's simply the facts of the matter, have to spend more and work harder than the attackers do, and our efforts frankly are not strong enough to recognize, deal with that reality."

He said one critical "factor" is that more and more foreign companies are supplying software and hardware for government and private sector networks.

"This increases the potential for subversion of the information in ... those systems," Blair said.

Blair also told Congress Tuesday that the Internet is providing the fuel for the growing problem of "homegrown radicalization." [...]

It goes on to talk about how the internet is also being used organize attacks and communicate instructions and arrange financing, by the very people who would destroy it. It also reports that senior intelligence officials told Congress Tuesday that Al Qaeda could try to carry out an attack in the United States in the next three to six months. Read the rest for details of what that could mean.

Our business, government and utilities have become increasingly dependent on the internet, for day to day functioning. I doubt people are going to realize how much so, until a major attack occurs, and things we all take for granted no longer work, and we see how many functions of things and systems are affected, directly and indirectly.

I've posted about this before. I would much rather post about solutions to these problems, but I've not seen any. I'm really hoping that some great minds are working on solutions for this situation, and that we see some real defenses created, to halt this growing imbalance. Right now it's looking bleak.

This is one of the reasons I'm learning about Ham Radio. It's not dependent on 3rd party networks or infrastructure, and may be one of the few things that works when nothing else does.

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