Cyber Attacks: The Terrorist of the Internet

In 2004, the U.S. Army found itself in a conflict with a new enemy overseas. The traditional etiquette of war was not being followed. The enemy did not organize like armies from previous centuries, it did not recruit like previous armies, and it did not fight like previous opponents. The enemy had changed the rules. The U.S. military had superior equipment, superior training, and superior fire power, and yet it found itself falling behind. Military leaders had no choice but to adjust their tactics in response.

The first emails were invented and sent in the 1970s. In 1991, the first World Wide Web page was posted. The original intent of the internet was noble; it allowed people to communicate more easily. Information was shared quickly and broadly. People had access to friends, financial information, education, and government information. Technology was new; the focus was on improving efficiency, and there was no malicious intent. Things were protected with simple passwords and a little common sense. Then came malware and cyber-attacks. The enemy had changed the rules.

Just like the military, we have no choice but to adjust the tactics we have always used for cybersecurity. The traditional etiquette of the internet is no longer being followed, and we must be more diligent in protecting our personal and business information. Whether it be dual authentication, software-defined networks, edge computing, or some other new technology, we need to stay focused and attentive on protecting our back offices and plant floors.

We can either continue “fighting” like we have in the past, or we can adjust to the new reality and proactively implement the safeguards available to protect ourselves and our businesses.

Jack Woelber, President, Interstates Control Systems