A recent article published by the New York Times titled “2 Israeli web sites crippled as cyberwar escalate” describes several recent attacks placed against the Israeli (Tel Aviv) stock exchange and El Al (the national airline). These attacks were perpetrated by a single pro-Palestinian cyber criminal known as oxOmar. Furthermore, this is not the first type of attack against the Israeli people as this same hacker had previously posted credit information of more than twenty thousand Israeli citizens.
This got me to think a little more about our current standing in the world and how such attacks could be potentially more harmful and easier to orchestrate than standard warfare or terror attacks. Currently there are hundreds of cyber attacks against the U.S. government and large U.S. companies and corporations that occur on a daily basis. Most of the attacks are simply to gather very specific information or to exploit very specific vulnerabilities. In addition, the most serious of these attacks are typically only executed by a very small amount of people.
Briefly consider the potential consequences of a full-on attack backed by complete government funding and hundreds of hackers/attackers. The potential damage that could be done would be enough to cause serious problems to how both the government, and the economy function. The problem isn’t how secure our systems are but rather when will there will be a force with strong motivation to do harm and the funding to back it.