Friday, September 04, 2009

Natural Disaster Could Enable Hackers

A UPI newswire article by Shaun Waterman, via The Washington Times, reports that:

A new security assessment of the nation's private-sector computer networks from the Department of Homeland Security says some of the most worrisome vulnerabilities reflect the open structure of the Internet itself.

The assessment, produced jointly by the department and private companies that own much of the country's information-technology infrastructure, also says that a major natural disaster such as an earthquake or a pandemic could be a "force multiplier" for any cyber-attacker, because it likely would impede the ability of officials and IT specialists to respond.

The concern is that "a malicious actor... could wait for a natural disaster and then use it as a force multiplier for an attack," said Jerry Cochran, a security strategist at Seattle-based Microsoft Inc., to The Washington Times.

Mr. Cochran, who helped produce the assessment, said the concern was not the damage such a disaster could do to the physical infrastructure. "The focus... was more on the disruption of human resources and the ability to detect, respond to and recover from [a] cyber-incident during a natural event."

More here.


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