APT

Would the United States win a cyberwar?

September 7, 2011
A while back I taught a week-long class for aspiring hackers, a war room of sorts with attack and defend scenarios, points tallied for successful exploits, and stuff like that. We balanced the war room with plenty of classroom and lecture time. One of the questions raised by the students, directed at a visiting law enforcement head during a lecture, was, “How prepared would the U.S. be for a large-scale cyberattack?” The answer: “Not at all.”

This was a couple years back. Since then we're seeing the accelerated ramp-up of U.S. defenses against potential cyberattacks, complete with a raft of new legislation. Conversely, headlines are starting to pop up about attacks with “state-sponsored fingerprints” all over them. We've seen attempts at cooperation across national lines to track agile, cross-border criminals. Companies are ramping up their defenses and wrestling with their security posture and policy to fight things like advanced persistent threats (APT) and other emerging threats. So, let's say we posed the same question again, two years later: How would the United States do in a large-scale cyberattack?”

Recently at ESET, we've been thinking about ways to help swing the needle on that very issue, with a focus toward education, but time is short. So what is the fastest way to “spread the word,” and touch the most people...who will hopefully form the base of a prepared society?

To this end, ESET led an initiative called “Securing Our eCity®” (SOeC), a grassroots initiative to unite a community and help it first become aware of the issues and how cybersecurity touches each of us – daily. In addition to the typical mediums of K-12 and university academic settings, we must reach our active workforce, families and seniors at their businesses, homes and places for gathering. Our challenge: “How do we reach three-hundred-million eyeballs in a meaningful and efficient manner?” SOeC is taking steps to do this in San Diego and helping other regions across America and the world. But, it is a challenge that is solved only at a local level through active participation. Learn more about Securing Our eCity at www.securingourecity.org.

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