Howard Schmidt on cyber threats to national security

According to a recent MI5 letter to CEOs in the UK, a ‘cyber cold war’ is rapidly developing – with many countries already falling victim to a new type of nation on nation conflict, and individual enterprises at threat from organised crime online. Drawing on his experiences working as a special advisor for cyber security in the White House, world-renowned security expert and board member at Fortify Software, Howard Schmidt has made the following comments about these new threats:

There is a very real and growing threat to national security that can no longer be ignored and viewed as just a government problem. Instead of waiting with bated breath for the next high-profile attack, CIOs and IT directors everywhere must prepare for every possible eventuality.

While some countries have been thrown into chaos by denial of service attacks, there is a far more worrying vulnerability lurking within their most critical networks waiting to be exploited – poorly developed software.

In truth, antivirus and firewalls are great perimeter defences – but they can create a false sense of security, and are effectively useless if the software within is full of holes, flaws and backdoors. Hackers have taken note, and are increasingly targeting this soft underbelly to carry out international espionage and data theft.

Unfortunately, cybercrime is no longer restricted to “hobbyist hacker” communities hell bent on getting one over on the big software houses – it has evolved into an international criminal business that monetises confidential data, orchestrates highly targeted, organised attacks and has the intention of causing widespread chaos and panic.

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