Cyber Atlantic 2011 Shows Cyber Security Has No Borders

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When I first dipped my toe into the world of the Internet back in 1992, I loved how, with the click of a mouse and a few keystrokes, my world expanded. I had friends across the country and around the world. Information about anything was at my fingertips.

Obviously, what I experienced was not unique to me. Today, the whole world has become a borderless society. I'm not sure events like the Arab Spring or the worldwide Occupy movement could have happened even two decades ago.

Of course, with the good comes the bad. There are so many positives to having a borderless society, but it also means that cybercriminals can easily commit crimes anywhere they please. We see the stories telling us that malware is being generated in, say, Russia that is meant to target a computer network in the United States. A young hacker can sit at his computer in London and plan attacks on countries he may not even recognize on a map.

So, maybe the news from the Cyber Atlantic 2011 event was a long time coming or maybe it is a result of a world growing smaller. Cyber Atlantic 2011, held this week, was the first joint cyber security exercise between the EU and the U.S. The idea was to battle a simulated cyber attack on security agencies and the energy infrastructure. According to PC World:

Two scenarios were acted out. The first was a targeted, stealth APT (advanced persistent threat) attack aimed at extracting and publishing online secret information from EU member states' cybersecurity agencies. The second simulation focused on the disruption of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems in power generation infrastructures. This threat is being taken very seriously by EU authorities, particularly in light of allegations that the Anonymous hacker group has attempted to infiltrate French power plants and the widespread Stuxnet attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

The EU's Network and Information Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security worked together to prepare for potential threats that could shut down government operations and put national and world security at risk.

More than 25 EU countries were involved in the simulation drill. Along with the drill, world leaders met to discuss the threat of cyber attacks and how to best approach them. According to ZDNet:

The event came a day after the UK's electronics intelligence agency warned that cyber-attacks against the UK were at "disturbing levels".
Meanwhile, the U.S. has accused both China and Russia of using cyber espionage to steal its trade and technology secrets, in a bid to strengthen its own economic situations, stated in an intelligence report put before Congress.

Cyber Atlantic 2011 is a good start to addressing the problem of protecting our newly borderless world from cyber attacks, and I hope these summits and simulations continue. All I would ask is that we see more countries participate. Cyber security affects more than the U.S. and the E.U., after all.