Whist most responsible Western governments have taken steps to protect their Critical National Infrastructure (the aspects of modern living essential to modern urban life including communications, utilities, transport, national and local government) typically some 85% of the ownership of such infrastructure is owned by the private sector and not by the State. Does this matter? Yes it does when expenditure is required over and above the perceived level to protect the shareholders investment to give a supra level of protection to the well being of the state. Does this matter? Yes, when the threat exists of such a group who’s interest is inimical to the State itself.
The £64,000 question then is does such a threat exist today. Whilst we have not yet seen any such manifestation, the effects of such an attack could at the least seriously inconvenience us and, at the worst, be catastrophic to our Western style of life. We must not make the mistake of over estimating the capability or intention of potential foes but, on the other hand, must recognize that al Qaeda has threatened attack by all means on the capitalist West; there is no doubt that they are sufficiently sophisticated as an organization to have the capability of mounting such an attack. In that Cyber terrorism is relatively easy and inexpensive to mount, we must of course expect that other organizations may also have such a capability.
How do we protect ourselves? As with any other aspect of IT security protection, the basis of adequate protection is a sound understanding of the value of the systems, the value of the data contained on such systems and an appreciation of the consequences of any such disruption. In the main, it is the organizations defined as part of the Critical National Infrastructure who are most risk but, whilst it may not affect the running of the state, the paralysis or destruction of the data for an individual company will give no joy to the owners or employees of even small scale enterprises. A good sophisticated and integrated protection strategy, especially one containing elements of artificial intelligence to spot previously unknown weapons, will adequately protect against cyber crime in all aspects, including Cyber terrorism.
Computer Associates are exhibiting at Infosecurity Europe, Europe's largest and most important information security event. Now in its 8th year, the show features Europe'smost comprehensive FREE education programme, and over 200 exhibitors at the Grand Hall at Olympia from 29th April - 1st May 2003.
Infosecurity Europe is Europe's largest and most important information security event. Now in its 8th year, the show features Europe's most comprehensive FREE education programme, and over 200 exhibitors at the Grand Hall at Olympia from 29th April - 1st May 2003. www.infosec.co.uk
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