With reports telling us that cyberattacks have been perpetually on the rise, and with the cybersecurity industry not only short millions of qualified professionals but also suffering from burnout, preparing for attacks is getting tougher.
More cyberattacks — plus understaffed cybersecurity teams — create the perfect storm for ensuring that our governments, businesses and homes are ill-equipped to face this onslaught. Add to that a war where one of the most prolific governments for hacking is losing handily in an invasion they thought would take a weekend, and it’s not “if” we’ll be attacked; it’s “when.”
So, let’s explore the possible strategic targets the enemy has that can harm your business.
Loss of Internet Via Your Internet Service Provider
Internet Service Providers (ISP) are the backbone of the entire infrastructure and economy of the planet. The internet runs the financial system, most phone systems, communication and security systems. An extended outage could shut down business operations and everything connected to the internet.
Loss of Electricity
For over a century, electricity has literally kept the lights on, kept many of us warm on freezing nights, and kept every convenience in our lives up and running. Electricity is critical to modern civilization at this point. Without it, businesses and life could grind to a halt.
Loss of Water and Waste Water
Unfortunately, this is one of the many areas where U.S. infrastructure is severely vulnerable. A recent Inspector General report revealed that of the more than 50,000 water and wastewater districts across the nation, a vast majority are incredibly susceptible to cyberattack.
Loss of Traditional Communication
Many buildings have hardwired alarms and communications to outfits like local first responder systems and security companies. The issue is that much of this older infrastructure is now into hybrid communications systems that need the internet to complete the connection. If the internet gets hit, traditional communication will be impacted, which could cut access to critical services.
Disruption of Satellite Services
In modern society, satellite systems are now beyond critical. Our entire navigation infrastructure relies on GPS. Outside of personal vehicles having their GPS go down, airplanes rely heavily on GPS, as does shipping. While some redundancies are built into specific applications (we have navigation beacons for airplanes, for example), this would be a huge disruption to personal life and commerce.
Disruption of Apps & Services
Prior to their invasion, Russia attempted to destabilize the Ukrainian economy and society by launching cyberattacks against the banking infrastructure, knocking out access to financial institutions across the country. The goal was to panic the general population that the economy was crashing and, thus, people would make runs on the bank. Combined with a disinformation campaign designed to ramp up fear, it was an effective tactic that the Ukrainian government worked overtime to counter.
How would the United States fair under those conditions? Given that within the first week of the pandemic, almost everyone lost their minds, and we saw runs on stores for toilet paper, you tell me.
Disruption of Local Government
Local government is integral. To that end, it's critical it stay online during disasters.
In the next issue, we’ll talk about how a business can fix these vulnerabilities and better prepare for cyberattacks.
Nick Espinosa is a cybersecurity expert, working with companies to design custom cyberdefense strategies. Learn more at www.securityfanatics.com.