Wednesday 8 July 2009

Is North Korea really to blame?

The security world, government agencies and many others are abuzz at reports that North Korea is behind a series of powerful cyber attacks targeting government agencies in the US and South Korea as well as a host of other organizations, including Nasdaq and the Washington Post.

The timing would indicate North Korea, which has been increasingly aggressive in its dealings with the United States over the past few weeks. However, it is doubtful that North Korea has the ability to launch this devastating an attack on such a large scale.

The question, then, is who would plot and execute this type of strategic hit at two major world governments, as well as some very well-known companies? The answer might be found in a series of cyber attacks that US and UK government organizations endured in the middle part of this decade.

At the time, both countries were complacent in their security measures, without realizing that their actions were being monitored by entities that launched extremely targeted attacks to penetrate their systems. It took two to three years before the details and those purportedly behind the attacks were revealed outside security circles.

Today’s situation is analogous in that it will take at least that long before we realize the “who” and “why” behind these attacks. Until then, the news reminds us how important and continuous our efforts to protect government and private data must be.