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10/30/2008
09:26 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
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Cyber Attacks Targeting UK National Infrastructure

A key U.K. IT security defense leader says that continuous cyberattacks are targeting U.K. businesses that work in the nation's critical infrastructure.

A key U.K. IT security defense leader says that continuous cyberattacks are targeting U.K. businesses that work in the nation's critical infrastructure.The businesses being attacked include financial services and utility companies, according to this Silicon.com story by reporter Nick Heath:

That was the warning from Mark Oram, head of the threat and infosec knowledge department at the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) -- the security service tasked with protecting key government and private organisations in the UK. Speaking at the RSA Conference 2008 in London he said: "We see frequent attacks on organisations for the purpose of theft of property.

The story goes on to detail some steps the European Union needs to take to bolster its defenses:

The report from the European Network and Information Security Agency recommends prompt reaction on reported incidents, collaboration between public and private stakeholders and development of a national strategy for information sharing and responsibilities for different parts of the network.

There's little doubt that criminal hackers are aiming at prime targets, such as financial services, manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and businesses working in the national infrastructure, including defense contractors and utilities. Most of these attacks are probably financially motivated -- stealing trade secrets -- rather than terrorism.

But in my opinion, it's not important to know the motivation of the attackers as much as it is to focus on shoring up vulnerabilities. Whether hacking for the joy, or attacking for financial gain -- the same techniques and vulnerabilities are used. There are no special terrorist or corporate espionage toolkits.

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