|22 Jul 2010||#1|
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Cyber battle for the web
Renowned financial news magazine The Economist ran an article recently on the concept of the 'logic bomb'.
If you don't know what a logic bomb is, then it can best be described by saying that it is an engineered malfunction in a piece of software intended to cause damage and inflict corporate (or indeed personal) harm.
The story goes like this… the Russians stole some software from Canada to manage a Soviet gas pipeline back in 1982. The CIA had tampered with the system prior to its theft to ensure malfunction and to cut a long story short.
According to the memoirs of Thomas Reed, a former air force secretary, the result was spotted by an American early-warning satellite when it detected a large blast in Siberia in June of that year.
Reed recounts that the stolen software had gone haywire resetting speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to pipeline joints and welds.
He described the result as "the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space".
So if a logic bomb could be primed to find its way into the Soviet oil and gas infrastructure nigh on 20 years ago, what's stopping the cybercriminals from crashing the national electricity grid of the average American state or medium sized European nation? Could cyber terrorists wreak wide scale havoc and really shut us down?
These new soldiers of fortune, or as we commonly call them today "cyber criminals" are getting stronger every day. Their destructive potential is great enough for President Barack Obama to define cyberspace as the fifth domain after land, sea, air and space. But are we really on the brink of cyberwar or is this just scaremongering?
The reality of cyberwar is probably overstated much as the next nuclear war is not likely to happen by the middle of next week. This is because the Internet and those companies (and I will purposely include AVG here) that build the defensive layers that keep the World Wide Web alive are intelligent – and by intelligent I don't mean clever. We are intuitive, we are self-evolving and we are all pervading, more so than any virus.
Yes malware is exploding exponentially, but at a granular level if we break down instances of malware balanced with the muscle of the research labs that underpin the security layer protection that AVG offers, we will always tip the balance in our favor.
AVG Blogs | J.R. Smith
|My System Specs|
|23 Jul 2010||#2|
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The reason the Russians stole the code was because they tried to buy the software of the yanks but they told them no, so they stole it instead.
I think that the risk of a logic bomb although real, is very minimal, in so much as the Russians in that instance installed the software themselves. The people who keep the country running know that there is a threat so they protect against it, and for that reason I wouldn't imagine the National Grid in the UK to be connected to the web. I also think that governments would take telecom and utilite protection as serious as the countrys nuclear deterent, as it would be just as effective to take out BT's main frame computer as it would be to land a nuclear bomb in London. It would also be very difficult to get a bomb to land on it's target because of early warning radar would have it intercepted. I also don't think any country would be so stupid to spend a fortune defending nuclear instalations, and creating a nuclear bunker in Cardiff South Wales to house British Telecoms mainframe computer to then just look over the chance of someone executing maliciousecode in their IT systems.
I would also imagine that with these systems being monitored 24/7 by a human, that they have a manual over ride switch which would ensure that in any such event the system can be controlled soley by a human operator.
|My System Specs|
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