Cyber Attack

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Yesterday, Feb. 18, we were told that more than 75,000 computer systems at nearly 2,500 companies in the United States and around the world have been hacked in what appears to be one of the largest and most sophisticated attacks by cyber criminals discovered to date. The attack, which began in late 2008 and was discovered last month, targeted proprietary corporate data, e-mails, credit-card transaction data and login credentials at companies in the health and technology industries in 196 countries.
News of the attack follows reports last month that the computer networks at Google and more than 30 other large financial, energy, defense, technology and media firms had been compromised. Google said the attack on its system originated in China.
This latest attack does not appear to be linked to the Google intrusion, but cyber security experts say its scale and sophistication approach that of nation states such as China and Russia. The latest attack also highlights the inability of the private sector — including industries that would be expected to employ the most sophisticated cyber defenses — to protect itself.
Below is a timely article on cyber attack and what it means to you and me.
~Eowyn & Steve

What a Cyber Attack Means to You

By Holly Deyo – Feb. 4, 2010
For years now, we’ve had warning that a cyber attack might one day morph into reality. Hackers have tested utilities and caused blackouts in Central and South American and Mexico. They’ve already embedded malicious code in our power grid and trial runs have plagued foreign utilities. As expected, China and Russia are at the heart of U.S. power grid probes. In other arenas, China has detailed plans to disable the U.S. aircraft battle carrier fleet.
Countless millions have been stolen in banking hacks along with personal records. Part of this problem stems from people using too easy passwords like “12345” or “password”.
Two years ago the Pentagon was penetrated resulting in the banning of using external hard drives and the White House suffered an “unprecedented” cyber attack. Last July the New York Stock Exchange and White House were targeted with malware. And today, Google enlisted the NSA to fight cyber attacks. China has already hacked Google’s email accounts – not quite as big a drama as infrastructure, but this company is savvy to what hacking can do.
We’ve had more than ample warning. A cyber attack is our “unprotected back door“. We’ve already experienced just the tip of the ‘berg with denial of service (DNS) attacks and very slow internet traffic. (Part of this traffic may be attributed to heavier Net usage since more people are unemployed.)
Any of the above scenarios paints a horrible scenario, but taken together in a “crippling attack”… it’s unthinkable.
For years now, we’ve had warning that a cyber attack might one day morph into reality. Hackers have tested utilities and caused blackouts in Central and South American and Mexico. They’ve already embedded malicious code in our power grid and trial runs have plagued foreign utilities. As expected, China and Russia are at the heart of U.S. power grid probes. In other arenas, China has detailed plans to disable the U.S. aircraft battle carrier fleet.
Countless millions have been stolen in banking hacks along with personal records. Part of this problem stems from people using too easy passwords like “12345” or “password”.
Two years ago the Pentagon was penetrated resulting in the banning of using external hard drives and the White House suffered an “unprecedented” cyber attack. Last July the New York Stock Exchange and White House were targeted with malware. And today, Google enlisted the NSA to fight cyber attacks. China has already hacked Google’s email accounts – not quite as big a drama as infrastructure, but this company is savvy to what hacking can do.
We’ve had more than ample warning. A cyber attack is our “unprotected back door“. We’ve already experienced just the tip of the ‘berg with denial of service (DNS) attacks and very slow internet traffic. (Part of this traffic may be attributed to heavier Net usage since more people are unemployed.)
Any of the above scenarios paints a horrible scenario, but taken together in a “crippling attack”… it’s unthinkable.
What This Means to You
Nearly everything you do and use each day has some connection to computers and cyberspace. Computers run all facets of banking, store inventories, check approvals. Without computers every purchase would be cash only transactions WHILE product was still available. This assumes clerks can make change without the aid of a cash register.
People depending on monthly social security or dividend checks would have a very difficult time. If you think unemployment numbers are rough now, just wait.
Internet business would be crushed. So would many brick-and-mortar establishments. No power, no product, no business.
Gas and diesel from source to station would cease. ALL utilities – zapped. You’d have no lighting, no heat, no air conditioning, no water. Garbage would pile up and sanitation – a fond memory. Most treatment plants only have enough chlorine to purify water for 5-7 days. Its automated chlorination system would shut down. Hospitals would be severely handicapped. How long would it be until medications and antibiotics were unavailable?
Police forces would be overrun with criminals and panicked people alike. Without question, martial law would be enacted immediately.
If you haven’t purchased a firearm, it would be too late. Gun sales are all predicated on computer-driven background checks.
You wouldn’t know what happened because there’d be no TV, no radio. Maybe there’s a power outage? you wonder.
The penny drops as military troops invade every city. What’s wrong? Wondering changes to dread. Something horrible has happened.
The most dependable source of information is ham operators with battery- or generator-powered units. Information would pass neighborhood to neighborhood, from other individuals that had workable receivers.
Heed the Warning
This is just a quick overview of the misery involved in a “crippling” cyber attack. Repercussions were glossed over by media in these recent announcements, lumped together under “infrastructure” targets. No one outlined how all-encompassing and devastating this is.
For your own safety and well-being, these are things you must consider . You’ve got a few months to get ready. This is one of these rare disasters when you get advance notice. Make the most of it.

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3 responses to “Cyber Attack

  1. I would call this a blatant act of war.
    -Dave

     
    • Dave, it is war.
      New York Times reported yesterday that the recent series of online attacks on Google and dozens of other American corporations have been traced to computers at two educational institutions in China, including one with close ties to the Chinese military.

       
  2. Eowyn,
    It’s just too bad that the Chinese essentially own us now – thanks to our penchant for spending beyond our means.
    I am sensing something not a little unpleasant coming our way, and that right soon.
    -Dave

     

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