The following introduction was originally published in the BCS Information Security Now Magazine, Autumn 2010 issue (Volume 5, Issue 1), which was on the topic of Who Are We Fighting?:
“For a number of years there has been concern about the growth of state sponsored cyber espionage and warfare. It is believed that around 100 nations have such capabilities. Although we occasionally see news stories about the alleged activities of particular nations, attribution remains a significant challenge and most countries are looking at improving their defensive capabilities.
The UK has formed an Office of Cyber Security (OCS), to complement the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), and NATO has established the Co-operative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD COE) in Tallinn, Estonia, after the country was subjected to cyber attacks.
Recently it was suggested that NATO conduct joint cyber warfare exercises with Russia so that all countries can learn how to better protect critical information infrastructure. Exercises have already happened between the US, UK and others.
Beyond state sponsored activities, which seem to focus on information gathering, mapping defences, disinformation and occasionally attacking, politically and religiously motivated ‘hactivism’ occurs, but rarely gets beyond website vandalism and DDoS attacks, which can claim collateral impacts.
Add to this the traditional malware, spamming, hacking and commercial piracy that is so prevalent online and it is no wonder that law enforcement, such as the Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU) in the UK, has issues with resourcing and priorities and so many crimes fail to be reported, investigated or solved.
One thing missing from this mix is the almost always mentioned, almost never seen, cyber terrorism. My view is that unless it is visually impactful or used in support of a physical attack, this will not materialise to the level claimed by the scaremongers, whose motives should sometimes be questioned.”
A PDF version of the magazine is available online at: