Feeds

Fight cyberwar with cold war doctrines, says former DHS chief

'100 countries have cyber-attack capabilities'

High performance access to file storage

Cold war doctrines on how to respond to nuclear attack need to be applied to the 21st century threats of cyber attacks and espionage, according to former US Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff.

Chertoff told delegates at the RSA Conference in London that around 100 countries had cyber-espionage and cyber-attack capabilities. Both kinds of attack used the same tools and might be used to mount anything from a "garden variety cyber-espionage" attack resulting in the corruption of financial data to something that might result in loss of life, such as a possible attack against air-traffic control systems.

"I'm not saying that you need to respond to virtual attacks with real attacks but I do think it's important to define when and how it might be appropriate to respond," Chertoff explained. "Everyone needs to understand to rules of the game," he added.

Agreed principles would include how it might be allowable to respond to persistent cyber attacks.

Spoofing and disguising the origins of cyber attacks are routinely applied via the use of botnets and other tactics. Chertoff acknowledged attributing the true source of a cyber attack was difficult, but argued that it still ought to be permissible to strike back against the source of an attack, whoever was ultimately controlling compromised systems.

"In cases where you have a persistent attack on critical national infrastructures, incapacitating the platform used to attack is something you have to do," Chertoff explained. He argued that the possibility of counter-attacks might provide an incentive to countries whose internet hygiene is poor to clean up their act.

Ira Winkler, president of the Internet Security Advisors Group - an ex-NSA officer turned cybercrime guru and author - said that since security wasn't built into air traffic control systems by design, attacks against these systems might be feasible, even though we are thankfully yet to see any such attack. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.