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Fears grow about state-sponsored cyber attacks

Graham Titterington | Sept. 29, 2010
A report from the Ponemon Institute published last week shows that major companies believe that they are already experiencing nation-sponsored cyber attacks

There is real concern about the risk of an attack on the CNI

The Ponemon Institute interviewed 131 senior security leaders in the US and in Europe. They represent organizations that consider themselves part of the CNI of their country. Seventy-eight percent of respondents in the US and 60 per cent in Europe expect a cyber attack that will significantly disrupt the countrys mission-critical operations within two years. Few believe they have a sufficiently collaborative response plan involving other players in the industry. More than 70 per cent supported the notion of setting up a global computer emergency readiness team (CERT) to collaborate on information gathering.

Fears are based on previous experience

Fifty-six percent of US and 38 per cent of European respondents believe they have been victims of a nation-sponsored cyber attack. Perceptions appear to reflect geographical separation from the source of the threat. In Europe the concern was focused on disruption of the critical infrastructure, probably influenced by recent history in Georgia, Estonia, and the Middle East, while in the US twice as many respondents thought the motive was information theft. In both continents, around 90 per cent of them pointed the finger of suspicion at China, well ahead of the 50 per cent that suspected involvement of the Russian Federation, showing that cyber intelligence is more influential than these recent high-profile disputes.

More than 80 per cent of respondents believe that cyber attacks are more serious than criminal attacks in frequency or magnitude. Eighty-one percent of US participants and 96 per cent in Europe believe that cyber attacks are difficult to detect, confirming our previous research.


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