Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Washington Post: Cyber security

The Washington Post

First Published Jul 14 2014 10:07 am • Last Updated Jul 14 2014 05:22 pm

The internet security company Symantec revealed recently that a group of hackers known as Dragonfly infiltrated malware into legitimate software belonging to three manufacturers of industrial control systems — the stuff that controls factories and power grids. In one case, the contaminated control software was downloaded 250 times by unsuspecting users before the compromise was discovered.

This kind of cyberattack is not new, but it is audacious and dangerous. One of the first such assaults was the Stuxnet campaign, which had sabotage as its primary goal, against the Iranian nuclear program. By contrast, Dragonfly was a multi-pronged infiltrator, aimed at cyber-espionage and gaining long-term access to computers, with sabotage as a future option, perhaps flicking off the electrical power to a city or shutting down a factory. Dragonfly probably was state-sponsored from somewhere in Eastern Europe.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Not alarmed? Then take a look at a proposal from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. According to Bloomberg, Wall Street’s biggest trade group has suggested setting up a high-level U.S. government-industry council to deal with cyberthreats. What do they fear? Attacks that "destroy data and machines" and could lead to runs on financial institutions, loss of confidence in the banking system and "devastating" consequences for the economy. The group predicts attacks could result in "account balances and books and records being converted to zeros," Bloomberg reported on July 8.

A torrent of cyberattacks — disruption, espionage, theft — is costing U.S. business and government billions of dollars. This is reality, not science fiction. In March, Chinese hackers broke into the U.S. government agency that houses the personal information of all federal employees.

For several years, it has been clear to many in government and the private sector that the nation needs to vastly improve protection of its private networks and that only government has the sophisticated tools to do that. But Congress has balked at legislation that would ease the necessary cooperation.

Thus it was encouraging to see the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence vote 12 to 3 last week to approve a cybersecurity bill that would begin to bridge the gap. Its prospects in the full Senate are uncertain. A similar bill passed the House last year.

Understandably, the legislation has triggered alarms about invasion of privacy. There are legitimate fears that the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command will, in pursuit of cybersecurity, scoop up too much information about Americans. Certainly, the disclosures by former contractor Edward Snowden about how much the NSA vacuumed up in telephone and Internet data have undermined confidence in the government. But this supercharged privacy debate should not stand in the way of a good cybersecurity bill. Rather, it is a reason for Congress to build in workable and sufficient privacy protections and get on with passing legislation that is long overdue.




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.