Reported by: Robert Klien
Today the United States Republican party filibustered a law which would have been essential in both recognizing and preventing a nationwide cyber attack on critical infrastructure of the region. This is just another of their attempts to deny any bill which has a whiff of government regulation on it, no matter how essential or required those services might eventually be.
With major viruses such as Stuxnet and Flame openly floating around the wild for hackers and blackhats to get their hands on, modify, and re-release onto unsuspecting machines, it’s a wonder why there is still no comprehensive law which covers the essential systems that make our everyday lives easier. According to reports, only about 600 computers have been infected to date, and PC World has been quoted as saying: “Security firms have not been warning of any direct risk to average Internet users.”
Until more universities and white-hats get a chance to wrap their heads around all the different individual pieces of Flame to make a whole picture, no one can really say for sure what it’s capable of, save for some very classified positions at the NSA. Now that both Stuxnet and a perfect example of the architecture in action are out there for any random person to download, it’s only a matter of time before someone implements it on a network and takes control of the fresh water reservoirs for New York City, or the power grid in Silicon Valley. If you cut off the main hubs from their supply, and then back that up by running out the generators, you could take down a massive part of the web and world’s population all in one swoop without anything more than a couple keystrokes.
Still no word on what the country who still operates about 95% of the most popular websites in the country plans to do about their gaping security flaws, but hopefully they can come to some kind of resolution soon to avoid a catastrophic attack. So far nothing this serious has happened, but with the most recent denial of funds for public services to update their privately held security systems, the push to use this virtual technology for real damage will be more intense than ever. We should be clearing this bill, and doing it with enough safeguards to protect our communities well into the uncertain, and highly advanced future.