The devastation in South Ossetia is far more serious than any report from Black Hat or Defcon in Las Vegas this week. (More on the Vista hole later) People are being killed. Never the less, there are cyber security concerns. Over the past year+ Russia has engaged in all out Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS) against two of its neighbors, Estonia and Ukraine. Cyber attacks against Georgia would be militarily appropriate considering that they are reportedly sending 150 tanks and associated troops( I mean peace keepers) across the border. And, for that matter, Georgia has probably studied Russia’s cyber techniques and prepared its own strategic cyber attack capability.
What does that mean for the rest of the world? It means we should prepare for spill over effects. There may be DDoS attacks against web sites or news outlets that are covering the current conflict. Either side might start messing with the Internet routing tables the way Pakistan did last January when YouTube was taken off the Internet by an engineer at a Pakistani ISP. CNN, FoxNews, and the like could find their voices silenced.
Think about your reliance on critical web based resources. Prepare alternatives. That would be wise at anytime but during major world events it makes even more sense.
Richard Stiennon is a security industry analyst. He is currently consulting, speaking and writing on all manner of security topics for IT-Harvest, the IT research firm he founded to cover the security space. He was most recently chief marketing officer for Fortinet. He has served stints at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Gartner, and Webroot Software.