Since the 2016 AFITC wrapped up last August, it has been a near constant feed of stories relating to cyber security and cyber attacks. From stories of corporate hacking and data theft to larger stories that have and continue to make an oversized impact in the U.S. political sphere, stories surrounding cyber activity remain a hot topic.
As a few highlights since August, just this week WikiLeaks published a cache of documents directly relating to the CIA’s ability to conduct and combat cyber activities, focusing on many of the devices we use every day.
It wasn’t even a month after the conference closed that the U.S. saw one of the largest scale DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks in history, using over 100,000 Mirai infected IoT devices to disrupt services across the web. As the Internet of Things continues to expand and everything from your phone and tv to your thermostat and refrigerator are now wi-fi connected “smart devices,” the ability of hackers to co-opt poorly secured devices and use them to attack the infrastructure of the internet itself grows.
Ransomware has also been on the rise, with attacks increasing by 50% in the 2016. Some types of ransomware are readily available online and, individuals, as well as police departments, hospitals, libraries, businesses, and government offices, have all been subject to an increasing number of these types of attacks.
While no one expects this to go away anytime soon, these things all serve to illustrate two things.
First, we live in an increasingly digital world. Anymore, it’s not just computers that connect to and use the internet, but watches, phones, appliances, toys, vehicles, and even frying pans and forks (you only wish I was kidding). DDoS style attacks show that even these seemingly innocuous gadgets can pose a potential giant headache.
Second, the need for countermeasures, security, backups, and redundancy has never been more pressing.
Cyber security problems cannot be solved by just one individual or even one organization. It takes concerted effort, a group of interested and willing parties proverbially rowing in the same direction, to turn this tide and combat these issues. Cyber threats and security aren’t necessarily issues that can be “solved.” However, they are critical issues that can be mitigated and prevented in many cases without losing site of the vast potential technology and the internet presents. Join us in discussing these issues and more at the 2017 AFITC.