Risk
8/3/2011
02:14 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Cyber Threat Resembles Pre-9/11 Terror Threat: Black Hat

Government leaders don't understand the gravity of the threat of cyber attacks or the implications, ex-CIA official tells Black Hat attendees.

Black Hat
Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
Today's threat of cyber attacks is analogous to that from terrorists in the mid-1990s, Cofer Black, chairman of Total Intelligence Solutions and director of the CIA's counterterrorist center on 9/11, said in a keynote at Black Hat, a UBM TechWeb event, on Wednesday.

When al Qaeda was in the rise in the mid-1990s, and even until the 9/11 attacks, Black said, terrorist threats were not well understood and were new to the country's top decision makers. "They didn't understand it. They had no personal experience with it," he said. "The decision-makers of today are in the same boat [with cyber]. They hear it, but they don't understand it."

In the future, Black said, cyber will be a key component of all conflicts. He said that, until recently, the security world has considered the key threats for causing mass destruction to be chemical, bacteriological, radiological, or nuclear, but that cyber has to be a part of the mix from now on.

"I am here to tell you, and you can quote me on this: The Stuxnet attack is the Rubicon of our future," he said. "It was really expensive, so a nation-state had to be involved. Second, [the world of cyber] has now morphed into physical destruction of national resources. This is huge."

The challenges such attacks present are huge, Black said, pointing to questions about how to respond to cyber attacks on physical infrastructure, and noting that the Department of Defense recently said that they could carry out physical counter-strikes in respond to cyber attacks on physical infrastructure.

Another analogy with terrorist attacks, and another challenge of responding to cyber attacks, Black noted, was the difficulty of attribution. "In my world, the concept is false flags, that everybody wants to look like they're somebody else, like Iran, who has surrogate groups," he says. "That's where you are, too, and it is fraught with danger because it's an emotional time, but confusion comes up in the normal course."

The vendors, contractors, and other outside parties with which you do business can create a serious security risk. Here's how to keep this threat in check. Also in the new, all-digital issue of Dark Reading: Why focusing solely on your own company's security ignores the bigger picture. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: just wondering...Thanx
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.