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Joe Stanganelli
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5 Cyberwar Threats Worth Watching

Approximately 60 nation-states are presently developing their own advanced cyber warfare programs.
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The United States may be one of the world's superpowers when it comes to cyber warfare, but other nations are catching up -- ready and willing to attack the US and its interests from a computer afar.

Approximately 60 other nation-states are presently developing their own advanced cyber warfare programs. And, this figure that does not include rogue terrorist and cyber criminal groups.

Given the fact that businesses as well as government agencies can be targets of cyberwar attacks, the issues is one that enterprise IT leaders and security professionals would do well to watch closely.

Many of these nations tolerate or even outright ally themselves with cyber criminals – so long as it means protecting their own interests while harming their foes in the West.

The threat of cyberwar goes far beyond the Sony hack and determining what movies Hollywood will release and when. Hackers possess unprecedented ability to cripple America's infrastructure and its economy -- which could have devastating effects.

Delivering the opening remarks at the Advanced Cyber Security Center's annual conference earlier this year, Ken Montgomery, COO and first vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, announced, "If [the Fed's role as a service provider] was ever disrupted, we would see a global credit crisis in eight hours' time."

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff agreed, relating in his keynote address at the event: "Those of us who lived through 2008 ... realized how fragile our financial system is."

And the cyberthreat to the American economy posed by foreign nation-states, Chertoff warned, is very real.

"Some people have said ... 'Well, we don't have to worry about that because even if the capability is there, it's not going to be [used] to destroy our financial system, because they participate in it,'" said Chertoff, who countered this argument simply by pointing out, inter alia, the fact that economic sanctions against America's adversaries exist.

On the following pages we present five nation-states that represent major cyberthreats to the interests of the US and its allies. The big question, however, is what threats might be added to this list in, say, a year's time. Give us your thoughts in the comments section below, and let us know where you think America's biggest cyberwar threat lies.

Joe Stanganelli is founder and principal of Beacon Hill Law, a Boston-based general practice law firm. His expertise on legal topics has been sought for several major publications, including US News and World Report and Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine. Joe is also ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
4/28/2015 | 5:36:57 PM
The US has crappy priorities
IF the US spent even one-tenth of the military budget on cyberinfrastructure and training Americans (and included anyone who wanted to participate even IF they are over 30 and female) to have the appropriate skill sets to counter real or imagined threats, there wouldn't be a problem.  Instead, the US would rather invade another country that has oil in order to bring "democracy" to it.  
User Rank: Ninja
4/27/2015 | 10:53:32 PM
Re: It's not who has the tools, it's how they use them
I came across two sobering headlines this past week related to cyberwarfare, One was that  the Pentagon finally came up with a cyberwarfare strategy to not only defend our "shores" but also to take the fight to the enemy. The other was that the US is still the No. 1 source in the world for all malicious cyber attacks. Not sure we can connect the dots between the two, other than that our best defenses (and offense) may need to be used within our own borders.
User Rank: Ninja
4/18/2015 | 6:17:40 PM
Sony's Breech: The Gift that Keeps On Giving .....
As much as I enjoy being able to download emails from Sony at my whim. Sony's security ineptness is certainly are not solely theirs alone, probably the first time ever that Sony didn't want to take full credit for something beyond their ability and undertanding.

Those in the tech world did not need Sony's breech to alert us to the arrogant and wishful thinking Sony practices daily nor to the fact companies are no match for hackers.   All companies could be accused of this - but I am certainly tickled that Sony has become text book material, remembered for what they are -  a bumbling bunch of hypocrites who were finally exposed.

Rumor has it Sony is really upset about the fact that anyone can now download their offensive and racially charged emails. They can no longer smile in public like the rest.    Oh Well.

Maybe we could have gone another 5 to 10 years without worrying about the issues Sony's stupitidy has caused.  Who knows ?  But as you mention Joe, the world has become even more danagerous as countries are waging Cyber Warfare everyday.

Most understand this - Sony is just now catching on.  Better Late than Never.
User Rank: Ninja
4/16/2015 | 3:33:23 PM
It's not who has the tools, it's how they use them
It's not surprising that there are a lot of potential threats that we could see when it comes to nations turning to cyber warfare.  For one, its cheaper in overall costs than most traditional warfare tactics, but it can also be done in strong numbers for a lot of damage.  Personally, no matter who decides to start ramping up the cyber warfare attacks, the real issue is what it can do.  As more endpoints are connected when it comes to critical infrastructure, financial systems and public facing systems, all it takes is one attack to take these systems offline and there is a lot of chaos to be had. Definitely a huge risk, and another reminder that as much as we like to invest in creating new cyber attack tools, we have to really look at our internal systems as a nation and figure out what the true risks are and ensure that we get ahead of these risks before one of these nations decides to start testing them for us.
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