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Are We Ready for Cyber Warfare?

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Cyber warfare as United States military experts say can be a danger in any nation, whether above ground, on se or up on the air – cyber attacks can be used by developing nations as a kind of equalizer to level down the playing field. Like North Korea, a still developing nation that lacks resources to maintain a powerful armed force could wreak havoc to any nation across the globe using cyber attacks.

There was a certain report in Washington Post that an agricultural bank named Nonghyup in South Korea was suffered a cyber attack. 30 million of its existing clients were not able to use the online services and ATMs of the bank for many days because half of the bank’s servers suddenly crashed last April. Experts were able to trace the attacks and it all pointed down to one culprit –servers in China that are associated with South Korea’s rival, North Korea.

North Korea is not only capable of that. These past years a spy from North Korea was able to grab certain confidential files that are associated with Seoul’s railway system; the industrial software known as PLC, which was incidentally fell target by a worm (Stuxnet), the same one that caused damages to Iran’s nuclear centrifuges in 2010. Also, according to Washington Post; in 2009 North Korea attempted to obtain informations from South Korea – informations regarding the locations of the manufacturers of toxic chemicals. This can be avoided in the future if incident response was actually done.

North Korea and South Korea are 2 different countries, with 2 different connectivity rates. South Korea emphasizes on internet connectivity, from shopping online, banking and even medical records; what they have is by far the highest connectivity rate in any nation. Thus, these networks are always open for cyber attacks and personal assets and information are always on the risk. However, North Korea has limited internet connectivity and is not vulnerable to any outside cyber threats.

North Korea’s internet is almost impossible to attack because the country restricts Internet access. Only few universities have the resources to have one and are often used to attack their rival nation, South Korea. Yet, South Korea may not be the only one in threat in the near future, maybe the countries found on the western half of the globe will someday fall to North Korean cyber attacks. This threat is called asymmetric threats.

Iran is also suffering the same fate as South Korea. Someone was able to forge a certain digital certificate using Diginotar. Diginotar is a Dutch certificate that authorizes the spying on the properties of .google.com such as Gmail, Google Docs and Google Plus. This specific certificate authority, directs all Google traffic of one nation to one who has the said authority. He could spy on all the Google users that are within Iran and is far better than creating vast networks of spies to spy on the emails of the population. Even the resources and skills of a large agency can be surpassed with the work of few hackers, hackers with criminal intentions.

Shutting down servers or forging certificates and authorities are not the only threats of cyber warfare. To US as well as other nations, threats over the land, across the sea or above the air are their major concerns and countries without those resources are nothing for them. Yet, with the cyber gateway continuously expanding, threats to our security could happen almost anywhere. So basically, we have to change our point of views.

Almost gadget we have has its very own Internet Protocol (IP) address, which increases our dependence on our gadgets. Indeed, these gadgets would be nice, if only the manufacturers were able to find ways to defend their gadget from outside cyber threat. What matters to them is make a sale and develop new products with new features to sell.

Regular desktop computers and other PC based products can defend themselves from cyber threats, from detecting malwares or distributing their information or location of the date to further protect and secure it. However, the devices that are linked online are not safe. These products are exposed to cyber threats and could lead to damages or worse, it could lead to risks into our very own life.

We do not need to suffer a huge loss from cyber attacks before we make a move. These devices should be protected from the start and must be prioritized first and that can be done with proper incident handling done by a professional who has undergone an incident handling training.

The International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) is a member-based organization that certifies individuals in cybersecurity and e-commerce. It is the owner and developer of 20 security certifications. EC-Council has trained over 90,000 security professionals and certified more than 40,000 members. These certifications and incident handling training are recognized worldwide and have received endorsements from various government agencies. They also offer trainings in incident handling.

More information about EC-Council is available at www.eccouncil.org.



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