Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cyber-Attacks, "Who's the Target"?

Ken Brewer © July 12, 2011

Many international terrorist groups now actively use computers and the Internet to communicate, and several may use technical skills to direct and coordinated attack s against computers in or homeland or elsewhere in the world. Cyber-attacks intended to harm the economy would likely target computers that operate the civilian aspects of the finical network and or critical infrastructure of government agencies.
How would a well-coordinated cyber-attack against the U.S.’s critical infrastructure be harmful? Would infecting computers operated by and in the civilian critical infrastructure actually offer an effective target terrorist’ goals?
There are three methods for computer attack physical, electronic and cyber. “Some feel that past discussions about a coordinated attack against civilian computers may have been over-inflated that perceived risk to the U.S. critical infrastructure, and several experts have stated that cyber-terrorism does not pose the same type of threat as Nuclear, Biological, or Chemical (NBC) threats”. (Clark, 2003)

Different attack methods target different vulnerabilities and involve different types of weapons. To further discuss a computer attack, and may be defined as actions directed against computer systems is to disrupt equipment operations, control, and corrupt stored data. 
 A physical attack may come in many forms, however basically different vulnerabilities involve different types of weapons. A physical attack involves conventional weapons directed against a computer facility or its transmission infrastructure.
The DOD argues that a physical attack is unlikely do to the fact in its physical nature. Facilities that would be damaged would suffer to some degree; the long-lasting effect would be limited to such a measure and would be temporary out of commission until reestablishment.
EMP’s electromagnetic pulse device could be considered as a type of physical attack. The EMP is a device that would be more permanent with longer lasting effects. The power overload emitted from a device can put a civilian company or government facility out of order for days, months, or longer, however the stored data will be deleted and unrecoverable.
Cyber-hits, attacks are most common and lay in for an attack against a larger scaled target. Targets may include a local intra-structure of a closed network or as large as worldwide, using the computer to attack itself with an encrypted virus for example.
Reading this you may see a pattern. Physical deployment methods are used at the beginning of each of these attacks. It took a physical action involving someone with enough development in one or more technical advancements to create and deploy acts of terror and mayhem.
Physical attacks come from within the confines of a facility. Disgruntled workers, friends, relatives and neighbors connected with a government or civilian facility. Temporary effects as it may seem the physical attacks in nature pose a threat to the environment that surrounds the target. Collateral damage comes in forms like bystanders being in the wrong place at the wrong time along with the loss of revenue, cost to rebuilding, data recovery, people and nature in some cases. Physical attacks happen when a facility needs be shut down for a purpose at a specified time, for a specified reason. The extra that comes with it is cause and effect.
September 11, 2001 is an example of such an event that devastated thousand, and thousands more that were related to the causalities. America is an example to the world. Nations look to the US as a Big Brother. Others feel threatened by this. Combating threats weather they are physical, electronic or cyber in one way or another will always be in nature an avenue for attacks. Welcome to the World of the Tech!



Clark, D. (2003, June 3). Computer Security Officials Discount Chances of ‘Digital Pearl Harbor. Retrieved July 12, 2011 , from

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