Advances in technology are enhancing the ability of groups and individuals to, anonymously or otherwise, launch cyber attacks from anywhere in the world. As cyber crimes evolve and attacks against critical infrastructure become more sophisticated, new ways will need to be found to anticipate, prepare for, and protect against attacks that have not yet happened nor been observed in previous experience.
A newly released U.S. government report shows that the number of cyber attacks against companies operating computerized control systems of critical infrastructure has risen from nine in 2009 to 198 in 2011; a 2100 percent increase. According to the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), an arm of the United States Department of Homeland Security, the attacks they responded to “do not appear to have directly targeted the control systems themselves; many were instead targeted attempts to steal confidential data.” Since the creation of ICS-CERT in 2009, reporting of cyber attacks has improved due to an increased “awareness of security issues” coupled with new technologies being “deployed to detect threats.” Simultaneously, the number of vulnerabilities identified in industrial control systems has also increased as security for these systems have become a “hot topic” that criminals and hackers are curious about and as a result “have begun poling and prodding.”
Confronted with the reality that cyber attacks are apparently beginning to rival terrorism as a threat to the United States, The Mariner Group supports using proactive reaction to prevent undesirable events, including cyber crimes against critical infrastructure, before they fully happen in the first place. Recognizing that perpetrators of illegal, malicious, and otherwise harmful acts are opportunists who thrive in an environment of relative obscurity, it is critical to employ measures that not only appropriately prevent individual occurrences which are not yet happening, but to also employ those measures that are designed to mitigate any negative consequences of those events that are prevented from fully occurring.