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Modern Warfare and Business Defense

War is defined as a "state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties." Warfare is the "waging of war against an enemy; armed conflict."

The concept of modern warfare started in Europe during the Middle Ages, but the definition of modern warfare changes by the day. The use of technology in Operation Free Iraq is changing the strategies and execution of war, and six months from now the technology will have changed modern warfare even more.

No Longer Armed Conflict?

In this modern age of cyber-warfare, "armed conflict," may no longer apply to the definition of warfare. For example:

  • President Bush has ordered the government to draw up guidelines for cyber-attacks against enemy computer networks.
  • An e-bomb that kills no one -- but destroys the enemy by "decapitating" its central electronic command, control and communications systems, leaving humans, animals, buildings, and plants in-tact.
  • Commanders getting misleading text messages on their cell phones. They appear to contain orders from their superior officers but are actually sent by the U.S. military in disguise, directing their troops to a trap.

These techniques can allow a sophisticated power to cause great damage to an enemy country's infrastructure, and therefore their economy. Certainly an act of war, but also not armed conflict.

What Does Modern Warfare Mean to Business?

Any business that is Internet connected is a target. Businesses not only have to worry about compromises of their systems by employees, competitors and hackers, but now have to be concerned about attacks by foreign governments, their agents or sympathizers.

"Such an attack would likely involve launching massive distributed denial-of-service assaults, unleashing crippling computer viruses or Trojans, and jamming the enemy's computer systems through electronic radio-frequency interference," according to Network World Fusion. The newest computer worms and viruses spread across the world in hours, destroying data, creating back-doors into networks and launching attacks against other computers and networks crippling businesses and government.

Unless businesses are well protected against attacks, they could become an additional casualty of Modern Warfare. Protecting business from the techniques of cyber-warfare is similar to the protection afforded by a good e-security plan and implementation, so get busy.

According to the Computer Technology Industry Association, their most recent survey reveals that human error is the most likely cause of information technology security breaches. Outsourcing IT security seems to be the only answer for most businesses.

Also Review

  • Things we can do to help improve our security
  • Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office
    CIAO is a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Links to incident reporting and alerts, as well as congressional testimony on the subject.
  • National Infrastructure Protection Center
    A joint FBI and private sector office charged with protecting U.S. network and computer infrastructures from both physical attacks and cyber-terrorism.
  • Infosec Outlook, Monthly publication of CERT and ITAA.
    Jointly produced by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) and Carnegie-Mellon CERT (formerly Computer Emergency Response Team), Infosec Outlook is a prime source for information on technical, business and risk management, and policy issues related to global information security.
  • Institute for Security Technology Studies
    US national center for counter-terrorism technology research, development and assessment at Dartmouth College. Funded by the U.S. Justice Department.
  • Report for Cyber Crime and Terrorism in the 21 st Century.
    A white paper on the need for coordinated technical response toward information crime and terrorism.

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