Feeds

US cybersecurity defences fail to thwart mock cyberattack

Pants meet ankles

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Critical US electronic systems have failed to withstand a simulated cyberattack.

Participants in a recent cyber-warfare exercise told Reuters that the exercise highlighted problems in leadership, communications and readiness. The two-day exercise brought together 230 government agencies, private firms and other participants. Participants were split into two groups - attackers and defenders - before each developed tactics for attacking and defending critical infrastructure systems, such as those controlling banking, telecommunications and utilities.

The basic scenario involved exercises in electronic disruption accompanying a national emergency, a sequence of events played out in Estonia last year and more recently in Georgia. Defenders drew on established defence procedures but these turned out to be inadequate, for reasons not explained in any detail by participants.

"There isn't a response or a game plan," said Mark Gerencser, a senior vice president at the Booz Allen Hamilton consulting service, which organised the simulation. "There isn't really anybody in charge," he added, Reuters reports.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff added that international laws need to be updated to provide a framework for cybercrime responses.

Without knowing the details of the simulation it's difficult to speculate on what lessons might be learned. On the plus side, lessons learnt through the exercise can be used to update practices and procedures. The basic conclusion of the exercise comes as little surprise, even without considering the built-in reluctance of cybersecurity experts to declare government security defences - a move likely to point towards an early retirement - a done deal.

Attackers always have the advantage over defenders in cybersecurity and, by extension, cyber-warfare. Problems such as maintaining extended supply lines or knowing the terrain on which battles are fought really translate into the sphere of cybersecurity. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.