United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke last Thursday October 11, 2012 at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York about how the United States is increasingly vulnerable to a “cyber-Pearl Harbor”. In his remarks he talked about how these attacks could “cause physical destruction and the loss of life”, and “would paralyze and shock the nation.”
High-stakes cyber-attacks are increasingly on the minds of defense policymakers. Since the Stuxnet attack two years ago and a series of recent crippling attacks thought by many to be the work of Iran, it seems there’s a shadow cyber war going on.
Trend Micro’s Tom Kellermann recently had a chance to talk with host John Gambling on his morning radio talk show for New York’s WOR radio about his thoughts around Secretary Panetta’s comments and the current state of cybersecurity and cyber attacks. He talks about how it’s not just state actors we need to worry about but also non-state actors and online cyber-arms bazaars that put sophisticated cyber-weaponry in the hands of anyone for the right price. In a post-Stuxnet world, cybercriminals quickly have access to the tools that nation-state actors develop.
Kellermann outlines how it’s not necessarily outright destruction that we need to be concerned about, but instead how attackers could focus on tampering with systems in critical sectors with an eye to turning them on themselves to create maximum chaos and damage.
Finally, Kellermann shares his thoughts on why Eastern Europe is proving to be a fertile breeding ground for some of the most advanced and dangerous cybercriminals in the world today.
If you’re interested in broader trends around cyber security, national security and current events, be sure to check out Tom’s interview.