Recently, a series of cyber attacks disrupted services and deleted data stored on the computer systems of several South Korean financial and news organizations. Even though it is difficult to determine the origin or intentions of the attackers, North Korea was initially accused due to provocative rhetoric from the nation.
Widespread computer attacks have been occurring for more than a decade, but this particular attack was launched just as the United States became aware of a large-scale cyber espionage initiative carried out by the Chinese against American companies, as well as increasing media attention on the concept of so-called cyber war.
There is no doubt that threats have evolved from vandalism and hobby-based malware to financially motivated crime and now state-sponsored espionage and attacks against government and enterprise targets around the world. No doubt, we have entered an era that will be marked by unprecedented intrusions into our critical infrastructure.
No matter whether the attacks are originating in North Korea, China or from other nations, and no matter the motivations of the criminals behind them, ultimately, the U.S. government – with the cooperation of the private sector – needs to be accountable for ensuring that critical infrastructure services are available and can thrive in this new global and digitally inter-connected environment.
The U.S. government and its allies should be focused on: cross-governmental law enforcement cooperation, communication and collaboration between public and private sectors, a forum for anonymous sharing of security incident/breach information, unification of security standards and compliance initiatives, and continuous monitoring and policy enforcement of all computing and infrastructure devices.
Technology has provided huge benefits, but it is imperative that we implement a strategy for how the United States and the world will securely maximize the value of technology for the betterment of all.