State of Affairs in Network Security
It has been no real secret that there is definitely a lackadaisical stance in network security through out the beginning of the computer’s entrance into the American home and work place. In one computer is a universe of information arranged in away that it takes a lifetime to understand it all. With the collective efforts of brilliant men throughout our history we are on the shoulders of giants to get to where we are. But this proves the point. Even if you ask the best security expert if his personal computer has any malware on it and if he is honest with you, he will admit that he doesn’t know for sure. So where does that leave someone that doesn’t know anything about computers? This leaves for a vast amount of room for attackers to program code that is almost nonexistent to the end user. I perform penetration testing myself and I wouldn’t be able to get by without Backtrack. It is a Linux based operating system specifically setup for professional technicians to stress test their network. This software is distributed freely on the internet and anyone can pick this up, from a cyber terrorist to a curious kid. I can tell you as a kid if this was out there I would definitely have gotten into some trouble. Through my years on the internet, I really haven’t seen that much security changes and most of the attacks that when on in the 1990s are the exactly same approach. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that the IT professions at fault here for the most part. Look how they tightened up things like WEP to WPA2, or wireless encryption for the layman. Attackers are always going to go after easy targets or gold mine servers that are overlooked by companies” slack IT department. The approach could be brute which might will raise suspicion and blow the operations or another approach. This would be a friendly invite from the very people you are trying to attack. So this is where most attackers are relying on, getting the other party to download software that allows access into the network.
In mid 2010, a very high tech worm was discovered in the wild called Stuxnet. It targeted to spy and subvert industrial systems, that included a PLC rootkit. Basically, it is not existent to the end user without certain tools. I personally have tested removing it in a virtual machine and I have to admit, without some guidance on what to specifically look for I don”t know if I could pick it completely out of a pc. This is some serious stuff we’re dealing with here. Now obviously the big question was “who build it ?” By 2012, it had already been reported that Stuxne twas part of a U.S. and Israeli intelligence operation called”Operation Olympic Games” that just happened to escape the lab some how. The big question, “why isn’t this in the news and what precautions have been taken to make sure this won’t happen again?” We all understand that it is important to make sure thatwe have a good handle on national security but this is actually taking it the other way. Some of the code in Stuxnet was actually stolen digital signatures from reputable global software companies including Microsoft! Digital signatures are the only thing we have on the internet that counts for trust. This means that the U.S.Government is really stealing corporate identities to promulgate destructive software. The U.S. Government has said many times that if cyber attacks are implemented against the U.S. it will be considered an act of war. The origin of the Stuxnet happened to be in the middle east and Iran. So you can see the motives of someone that would implement malware that steals industrial network information in that area. ( Nuclear Development ? )
Where’s the Flame?
Just before the Stuxnet responsibility was release, a new highly sophisticated piece of malware was announced on the scene. In fact, by the Budapest University of Technology and Economics reported as saying that Stuxnet, “is certainly the most sophisticated malware we encountered during our practice; arguably, it is the most complex malware ever found.”It had also be cited that some of the coding in Flame was actually of the same origins as from Stuxnet. So is the U.S. behind this as well?
When will this stop?
Not only has it been openly admitted that the U.S. Government it is behind some of the most dangerous malware in the world but it had been suspected for years from lots of high ups in Microsoft and other organizations through out the years. It is very scary when someone says that if you commit cyber terrorism against them, they will declare war on you. Meanwhile they are infiltrating your industrial network infrastructure with the most wicked malware on the earth. I think it’s finally time to address this issue openly because if we really care about network security and the safety of our delicate global network: we need to weed out the biggest threats to it.