Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reaction to 60 Minutes Story

I found the new 60 Minutes update on information warfare to be interesting. I fear that the debate over whether or not "hackers" disabled Brazil's electrical grid will overshadow the real issue presented in the story: advanced persistent threats are here, have been here, and will continue to be here.

Some critics claim APT must be a bogey man invented by agencies arguing over how to gain greater control over the citizenry. Let's accept agencies are arguing over turf. That doesn't mean the threat is not real. If you refuse to accept the threat exists, you're simply ignorant of the facts. That might not be your fault, given policymakers' relative unwillingness to speak out.

If you want to get more facts on this issue, I recommend the Northrop Grumman report I mentioned last month.

6 comments:

Michael Cloppert said...

*shrug* I dunno, I think the debate over whether hackers disabled Brazil's electrical grid is a big part of the story - it's yet another example of the FUD that keep making it into the public discourse despite contravening evidence. The more these stories are debunked, the better chance the public has of filtering the wheat from the chaff...

Jeff Harrison said...

it looks to have just happened again.

maybe someone is trying to make a point.

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20091110-721898.html

standalone-sysadmin.com said...

Was there any word as to whether the outage yesterday was from an attack, or just coincidence?

Matthew Wollenweber said...

I don't think people have a problem believing nation states maintain capability to access critical foreign systems. Personally, I accept that as a given. My problem with recent "reporting" is that there has been no verifiable evidence provided that the particular blackout in brazil is related to a cyber attack. Additionally, official reports and mountains of evidence for soot were not presented.

If anything, the very real threat (that you label APT) is likely diminished by such unsubstantiated claims.

Curtis G said...

I think that "hackers" are a Reporter's wet dream. The Image of hackers portrayed in the Media (movies tv, etc.) being as dangerous as they are, have made the public ignorant and scared.

Metajunkie said...

I think there are very real threats, but I also believe that the largest problem is an avoidance to hiring enough people (sys admins and security peeps) to manage the environments that are in place.

I am very cautious about taking the Northrop Grumman report at face value. They have a large advertising campaign under way that claims they are "the face of cybersecurity". Since they are building a business around cyber-warfare, it puts them into a position to hype the threat.

I'm not questioning the reality of the issue. I believe there is a real danger to our dependence upon electro-magnectically-challenged chips, and malicious mal-contents. I do, however, feel that Northrop Grumman cannot provide an unbiased point of view, because they stand to gain from the creation of "need".

Having stated that - of course it begs the question: If not someone in the business, then who?

Ken Walling, CISSP, GREM

aka Metajunkie