Protect against potential terrorist activity on the Internet

Recent events have raised concerns regarding threats to our national infrastructure. How can businesses protect their IT systems...

Recent events have raised concerns regarding threats to our national infrastructure. How can businesses protect their IT systems from cyber terrorism?

Only a few months ago, rising tensions between the United States and China instigated an unsanctioned war between hackers in the two countries. Organisations became targets just for being associated with the opposing country - they did not have to be military targets.

Today, tensions around the world have escalated to an extreme point. While we are not aware of any hostile activities directed at the Internet and information infrastructure of the United States, the recent terrorist activity will undoubtedly contain a cyber component.

However, just because attention is diverted to the physical world, it does not mean that the cyber world is sleeping. Already hackers have been discussing potential cyber attacks against sites deemed even remotely associated with the terrorist activities.

Should hackers start attacking "associated" sites, it will almost definitely lead to unsanctioned cyber hostilities on both sides. For this reason alone, organisations should take precautions to protect themselves. In a review of strategies with contacts at the FBI, Giga has worked out two recommendations:
  • Switch off all Internet access
    If your organisation does not depend on the Internet for critical business processes, the easiest way to avoid this threat is to turn off access to and from the Internet until the threat has subsided. This should be done in conjunction with making sure that your virus patterns are up to date on your internal systems.

    Few organisations will find this option acceptable for their business operations

  • Switch off all unnecessary Internet services
    A more practical approach. Evaluate all services to and from the Internet for critical business operation and need. Unnecessary services should be turned off for the near future. Services left on should be closely monitored for signs of attack. Update your organisation's intrusion detection signatures, virus signatures, and apply patches to known security issues.

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