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Extra resources for Blackhatonomics
A powerful cyber weapon such as Stuxnet attacking Internet banking transactions is a definite risk. However, leveraging it to attack critical infrastructure through SCADA systems creates a much greater danger. With the knowledge that Stuxnet already had to attack PLCs, the risk to all critical infrastructures by subtle reprogramming of the payload is potentially catastrophic. The potential commercialization of such weapons, as intimated by John Dvorak, will create a rather disturbing problem for those that originally created the cyber weapons, and couldn’t manage to 51 52 CHAPTER 4: Signal-to-Noise Ratio harness their power once it was unleashed.
The scary aspect of this real-life scenario is that before the compromised target of state-sponsored activity is made aware of the breach, the cybercriminals have already stolen terabytes of data. The data that has been captured can net the state sponsors advancements in technology, military, and intelligence planning activities that provide them with unfair competitive advantages. The monetary value of such information can be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The key point to take away from all this is that although advancements in technology will continue to drive the way we communicate on a daily basis, they will also provide nefarious cybercriminals with new methods for exploiting information.
By taking a governmental or religious entity’s server offline, they consider the message delivered. And the worst part of it is that they consistently succeed. Because of the asymmetric nature of the attack, and the vagueness of the targets, they often appear to be even more successful, much like a carnival fortune teller. Because the press and the public are looking to find success in their hacktivism, they often find it even when it is only circumstantial. The hacktivists often will present multiple potential targets, and if one is unassailable, they merely ignore the fact that they were unsuccessful and move on to a different target.