[Paleopsych] Enterprise Security Today: Survey Predicts Devastating Internet Attack
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Wed Jan 12 15:20:09 UTC 2005
Enterprise Security Today (Online Security): NewsFactor Network -
Viruses & Worms - Survey Predicts Devastating Internet Attack
January 11, 2005 1:29PM
The definition of 'devastating' used in the survey was vague, noted
Pew Internet project director Lee Rainie. "Some people pushed back on
our results and said that in some respects, there are significant
attacks taking place now -- which may not involve loss of life but
could still be considered 'devastating.'"
Respondents to a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life
Project and Elon University gave an eyebrow-raising response to a
question about Internet security: Some 66 percent said they expected
at least one devastating attack would occur in the next ten years on
the networked information infrastructure or the country's power grid.
"That is a significant number, especially when stacked against other
predictions in the survey," Pew Internet project director Lee Rainie
tells NewsFactor. Not only was the number of respondents high, but it
was the question that generated the least dispute. "It is a strong
position held by the vast majority of people we surveyed," Rainie
It is also a frightening one: Increasingly, the Internet has become
solidly integrated into most business and public operations: a
worst-case scenario could cause major economic disruption and even
significant loss of life should power utilities or emergency care
facilities become inoperable.
But, like all surveys, these findings have room for interpretation.
Rainie himself notes that the definition used for 'devastating' was
vague. "Some people pushed back on our results and said that in some
respects, there are significant attacks taking place now -- which may
not involve loss of life but could still be considered 'devastating.'"
Other people took issue with the premise that anything that happened
online could ever result in a significant loss of life, he added. "And
then, some said the Internet community's defenses would always be
changing in response to the changing nature of the threat," he noted.
Map to Upheaval
However, those were the views of the minority. Some sixty-six percent
of respondents -- a group that included many government officials,
notably some from the Department of Homeland Security -- said the
Internet could be disrupted in one of the following ways:
* A significant attack on the infrastructure in which key nodes or
domain names were disabled, perhaps for a long time.
* A narrower attack in which the Internet applications of a key
provider -- such as bank or power grid -- was disrupted.
* An especially virulent form of virus or worm -- more virulent than
the current crop, that is -- that would cause massive disruption
around the world.
Underlying these fears is the obvious fact that the Internet has
become key to most Americans' lives, according to the survey, which
could lead to unexpected consequences.
Still not that worried about a large-scale attack on the Internet?
Well, consider another finding from the same survey: Some 59 percent
of these experts agreed with a prediction that more government and
business surveillance will occur as computing Latest News about
computing devices proliferate and become embedded in appliances, cars,
phones and even clothes.
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