Imagine an uninvited guest with a virus visiting your mobile phone, PSP, or laptop each time you turn them on. With a single visit, your IP address can be stolen. Then this invisible attacker from Africa, for instance, may create a schedule to attack certain websites in Korea with YOUR IP address.
What a great irony of this information age that the very technologies that empower us to create and to build also empower those who would disrupt and destroy
Since the World Wide Web is indeed an agitation point of cyber terrorists, cyber-security strategies are brainstorming worldwide.
The United States
In May 2009, President Barack Obama announced a new White House office to combat cyber terrorism. In 2007 alone, the Pentagon reported nearly 44,000 incidents of malicious cyber attacks by foreign militaries, intelligence agencies and individual hackers. America has failed for too long to protect the security of its computer networks, President Barack Obama said, announcing he will name a new cyber czar to press for action. President Obama stated that protecting America's infrastructure, networks, and computers would be "a national security priority." In response, President Obama launched a multi-billion dollar plan to protect the nation against cyber attacks. In addition, the US currently leads the world in cyber warfare exercises to test their defenses against hackers. This exercise, known as CyberStorm II, brought together Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom earlier this year. However, even with all the attention and effort invested into this international dilemma, the country's government agencies as well as the New York Stock Exchange were terrorized by the recent DDoS attack. Studying its characteristics, many predict that the 7.7 DDoS was only a teaser. “In today’s world, acts of terror could come not only from a few extremists in suicide vests but from a few key strokes of a computer,” said Mr Obama.
“America’s economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity,” Obama continued, “And this is also a matter of public safety and national security. We count on computer networks to deliver our oil and gas, our power and our water. We rely on them for public transportation and air traffic control. Yet we know that cyber intruders have probed our electrical grid and that in other countries cyber attacks have plunged entire cities into darkness.”
Indeed hackers gained access to e-mails and a large range of campaign files between August and October last year. Even President Obama’s presidential campaign computer system was once hacked into. Thousands of military computers were infected by malicious software in the US and thieves used stolen credit card information to steal millions of dollars from 130 cash machines in 49 cities worldwide in only 30 minutes.
According to his address, cyber crime cost Americans $8 billion last year. Another survey implies that worldwide intellectual property theft in 2008 cost businesses up to US$1 trillion while an estimated US$132 billion was spent through e-commerce. President Obama warned that the country was vulnerable to cyber-attacks that could cripple the economy or air traffic control system.
The civilian cyber czar will be appointed as the Pentagon is close to announcing a new military command for cyberspace to defend the US military’s networks in addition to going on the offensive against terrorist computer networks and worldwide hackers, especially in China.
China, a fast growing country to compete against the States in the global stage is paying sharp attention to the Ameica’s Cyber-Czar strategy. Chinese Netizens, or Network Citizens, are gathering their voice as one to urge their government to establish the Cyber Security Command along the movement of America. The newspaper Whangooshibo surveyed 4000 netizens in July and stated that 94 percent of the respondent insisted to set up the Cyber Security Command. Although Chinese government has not yet announced any official countermove, the media’s aggressive involvement in the public opinion poll suggests the possible establishment of a new office against cyber terrorism.
e-crime is estimated to cost the UK several billion pounds a year as well. According to BBC article, Two new bodies will be established in the coming months as part of the strategy. A dedicated Office of Cyber Security in the Cabinet Office will co-ordinate policy across government and look at legal and ethical issues as well as relations with other countries. The second body will be a new Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) based at GCHQ. This is expected to bring people together from across government and from outside to get a better handle on cyber security issues and work out how to better protect the country, providing advice and information about the risks.
"CSOC's aim will be to identify in real time what type of cyber attacks are taking place, where they come from and what can be done to stop them", according to a Whitehall security official. The centre is located in Estonia and was set up last year to conduct research and training on cyber warfare. It has a staff of 30 people, half of them specialists from the sponsoring countries – Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Spain.
Recently, South Korea has decided to engage in the U.S. led cyber warfare exercise known as CyberStorm. According to the North's official Korean Central News Agency, it is an "intolerable provocation" for South Korea to join CyberStorm and North Korea is "fully ready for any form of high-tech war." In addition, North Korea's newspaper, Rodong Shinmun, accused South Korea of trying to rage a cyber war if they are intending on joining the U.S. led CyberStorm. In spite of such threat of North Korean media sources, South Korea is also in a progress to establish a counterterrorism headquarter. National Cyber Security Center, Korea Internet Security Center, and Defense Security Command will be launched by the end of this year to prevent further internet upheaval. A total control center is also in its progress to be established in order to counter-strike any possible cyber terrorists.
Japan, and other European countries are also building strategy to guard their nation against cyber terrorism.
Sudden attack of invisible cyber intruders, however, will continue to likely be inevitable. IT, thus, has miles to go before it sleeps in the path of defense industries.