Saturday, May 14, 2011

US legislating against insecurity on the Net

It's starting to look as if cybersecurity is going to become "the" growth industry of the decade.

In the wake of the recent Sony PSN break-in, even governments are beginning to realise that a connection to the internet means a vulnerability that can be exploited by those with evil intent.

The USA has just proposed new legislation that places a burden of responsibility on companies that provide crucial infrastructure services to ensure that their systems are safe and secure.

Already, the US government has accused foreign countries such as China of attempting industrial espionage by attacking high-value properties on the internet, including a series of Google mail break-ins last year.

In an attempt to ensure that key industries will be safe from future attacks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon be empowered to implement and install their own security systems on corporate networks, where those provided by commercial operators are deemed to be inadequate.

Some supporters of the proposed legislation says that it lacks urgency and that, without faster implementation, it could leave the US vulnerable to crippling attacks on major assets such as power grids, key corporations, the financial markets, and even the government's own presence in cyberspace.

Within the draft laws, there are plans to establish an agency that will be responsible for testing and rating the security of affected systems but again, it is claimed that the lead-time to the creation of this agency leaves the nation vulnerable in the interim.

Just as the arms industry has become a huge earner for many countries around the globe, some commentators (including this one) are picking that cyber-weapons and cyber-defense systems will become just as important and lucrative in the years to come.

Others are suggesting that with the death of Osama Bin Laden, terrorist organisations such as al Qaeda may increasingly turn to "virtual" attacks that seek to disrupt or damage key pieces of Western infrastructure via the net.

Perhaps the only upside of war and terrorism in cyberspace is a reduction in the body-count and blood-loss.

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