Are we on the brink of War?

Andrew Bolster

Senior R&D Manager (Data Science) at Synopsys Software Integrity Group and Treasurer @ Bsides Belfast and NI OpenGovernment Network

Recent events in the cyber-security world have got me feeling paranoid. Between Estonia, Georgia, and the ever-increasing focus on Chinese cyber-political-warfare, geo-political entities are starting to realise that the whole ‘lets stockpile enough weapons to blow up the world enough times for the number to be rendered pointless’ may not have been the best plan.

China has caught everyone off-guard with its recent, albeit ‘hush hush’, displays of force (while not entirely getting off scott-free), and we should probably be alot more afraid of a cyber war than of flaming pants or security-crossed lovers.

I think there has been something ignored in this most recent spate of Chinese infiltration, is that if there is a bomb on a plane, or at an airport terminal, it blows up, theres horror, theres death and distruction, but if you’re a few miles down the road, your safe, but probably in need of a fresh set of briefs.

This is the list of companies and industries identified as potential victims of the Chinese attacks….

  • Google

  • Yahoo

  • Adobe

  • Dow Chemical

  • Northrop Grumman

  • Symantec

  • RackSpace

Just think about that for a second. Dow Chemical, nice big conglomerate of manufacturing and government supply. Nothing to go wrong there, right?

Northrup Grumman

Designer, systems integrator and manufacturer of military aircraft, defense electronics, precision weapons, commercial and military aerostructures.

Yeah, nothing to worry about there…

If you’re on this page, then I probably don’t need to explain the implications of having the worlds biggest source of knowledge ever, one of the most popular network security vendors, and the biggest email provider for the non-web-literate (i.e most vulnerable to phishing attacks) compromised. But I will anyway.

Unless you’re a Schneiner-level security guru, these companies probably have, between then, more information and control over your life than you would like to have given away to anyone, let alone a hostile foreign dictatorship.

There’s two potential actions: Shut Down or manipulation.

Its at this point that I actually want to get back into the security field. Cus frankly, if your not scared, you should be.

Update:TechCrunch has a great article on the financial cost of Google changing its previously politically permissive stance in China

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