Feeds

US cybersecurity defences fail to thwart mock cyberattack

Pants meet ankles

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.