As governments around the world continue to rely on broadband Internet connections to manage critical infrastructure, security experts are warning of many risks. When envisioning the horror of a terrorist attack, images of death, violence, and destruction emerge. In the age of Internet, a new kind of horror has become a real threat.
A former Director of the Counterterrorism Center is warning of dire consequences if government official don't heed the warnings of a cyber related attack. Cofer Black's words carry a lot of credibility, as he is credited with warning government officials about a 9/11 kind of terrorist attack in August 2001. Black compared the time he told defense officials about the threat of al Qaeda, with his warning about a cyber attack. He says there are parallels between the way officials viewed the threat posed by al Qaeda and the current cybersecurity warnings. "The decision makers of today are still sort of in that boat. They hear it but they don't believe it," Black said.
It was recently reported that a "state actor" was blamed for a massive wave of cyber attacks spanning five years and affecting the networks of 72 organizations around the world, including the United Nations, governments and corporations. Security experts working for McAfee did not name the state, however one security expert who has been briefed on the hacking said the evidence points to China.
Speaking at a Black Hat hacker conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Black said:
"People say, 'Were you surprised when 9/11 took place?' and I can tell you neither myself nor my people in counterterrorism were surprised at all. Instead it was a strange validation of what we had anticipated had indeed taken place. . . In the technology world, you may face similar issues in the future."
Making broadband Internet connections available to citizens has become a major driver in many countries around the world. As governments continue to increase availability, innovative applications will continue to emerge. Concerns such as security and privacy concerns will continue to grow as risks in a cyber connected world.