Cyber threats to vital infrastructure

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

cyber threatThe future looks bleak if we continue to (exclusively) rely on computer, the “smart” grid, and such systems, for our vital infrastructure as, it would appear, no one is capable to make them secure.

That factor, obviously, throws up the question as to, whether it is actually possible to make those electronic systems secure from cyber attacks and especially also (other) electromagnetic threats up to and including electromagnetic pulse (EMP) whether from an attack in one form or another or a solar event.

As far as data security is concerned the old ways may need to be brought back in the way of typewritten paper and filing cabinets, especially for sensitive, classified and secret materials.

The Russian intelligence community has in the late Spring of 2013 begun, in the light of the Snowden leaks and hacking attempts, to return to the use of real paper and electric typewriters for classified material and is using again also a physical and not an electronic distribution and circulation of such documents.

In our personal affairs that might also be something to be looked at as far as the storing and such of sensitive information is concerned. Emails are, it would appear, subject to a blanket government scrutiny and bulk collection and storage and while they may not be able to have a change to real them all it still makes the good old letter written, typed or printed and then stuffed into an envelope and sent by post a safer option still, especially at the “authorities” have to obtain a warrant – theoretically – to inspect your mail in and out.

Yes, sending a letter by “snail mail” is more expensive and takes a lot longer than using email but there are benefits, not at least the one that it is immediately in written, typed or printed format in front of you. In addition to that chances are that it has not been archived in some government snooping system, and thus the content is between you and the other party only.

When it comes to computer control, and here especially of our vital infrastructure, we are leaving ourselves wide open to problems. All it requires in some sort of hiccup and thin gs fall apart and let us not even talk about cyber attack or an EMP blast, whether man-made or natural.

We must not forget that (almost) everything is run on electricity, which is computer controlled, and a break down here will stop gas supply, as much as fuel for cars and trucks, and power for communications, plus the supply to the stores, our water supply, etc.

Can we really be so complacent as to leave everything such as this and much more in the hands of fragile technology, technology that is bound to fail and break down, and especially technology that can so easily be attacked with devastating consequences? We must be mad, collectively.

© 2014