An Unsecured Internet is Worse Than None At All

"Twenty years ago no one would have imagined that hackers could use inexpensive, store-bought equipment to shut down governments in other nations."

by / May 12, 2009

Schematics for the president's helicopter end up in Iran, a hacker holds thousands of medical records ransom for $10 million, a computer with U.S. missile defense data is sold on eBay, the Chinese government is accused of hacking into national networks -- these are just a few of the most recent technology-related issues to show up in the news.

Today, theft and monetary loses -- as troublesome as they are -- are taking a back seat to some big-time financing and technology designed to crack into national networks and secure installations. The game has changed, and government may not be ready.

For the first time ever, cyber-attacks are coinciding with military attacks, helping to generate the term 'cyber-wars.' In 2007, the Estonian government's networks were hacked and had to be temporarily shut down. In 2008, Russia was accused of cyber-attacks on Georgia while simultaneously sending troops into the country. And in 2001, China was suspected of responsibility for distributed denial of service attacks against the U.S. With this level of dependence on the Internet, cyber-security is more imperative than ever.

In a recent report, "Cybersecurity: Everybody's Imperative," Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu's Greg Pellegrino talks about cyber-security as it pertains not only to nations, but to the world as a whole. Pellegrino's 'big picture' take on cyber-security may seem broad, but clear data and relatable examples make this report valuable to both the public and private sectors.

The thread of interconnectivity runs throughout the report. Pellegrino said that for the global economy to continue to grow and thrive, cyber-security needs to become a top priority. Nations around the world need to collaborate on standards to create consistency and uniformity. "Because the global nature of the threat demands uniform standards of protection around the world, it matters little if an individual nation or alliance has advanced its cyber-security ahead of the rest." He emphasizes the need for those countries that are more advanced in their cyber-security efforts to reach out to countries lagging behind. Information crosses national boarders instantly and had no regard for physical boundaries. This means that securing data and doing business is a global affair -- one that can not be protected simply by instating national security standards. An example Pellegrino gives of global collaboration for the greater good is that of port security. "When global customs standards imposed requirements that some vital trading countries could not afford to meet, the world's leading industrial nations subsidized their compliance to that security would be comparable at all points in the chain. With cyber-security, the solution may or may not involve a similar degree of material cooperation, but it must include the same uniformity of standards," said Pellegrino.

With cyber-crime on the rise and new threats developing daily, this report provided practical information on ways to secure our global lifeline -- the Internet.