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August 29, 2013

The new front for war - and we are vulnerable

Written by David Kennedy
Penetration Testing Security Testing & Analysis
It would appear that the United States is at the brink of launching an offensive against Syria. Regardless if you are for, against, or indifferent, the offensive brings some interesting concerns and concepts to the front lines. In the event that an offensive takes place, Syria marks the first real major offensive since the full out wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. One could argue that Libya was a conflict however, the ally support for Libya was insignificant and not widely backed. Instead, we have Syria who has strong ties with Iran and Russia - both with very capable information warfare capabilities. Russia has continued to step up it's stern talks to the United States calling any offensive illegal and catastrophic consequences if it moves forward (Source: Militarily the United States always has the upper hand from our traditional and conventional warfare tactics which are unquestioned. The problem we face is that the targets won't be the latest missiles or our troops, it will hit home and it will hit hard. We have never faced a conflict where information warfare was fully on the table like it is today. Conventional warfare was the main tactic in Afghanistan and Iraq due to the maturing of technology into our daily lives and not a main method for disruption at the time. Technology has advanced, and at a rapid rate. It's used in everything that we do on a daily basis, and it's only getting more integrated. Everything from the financial sector, to our water systems, to gasoline, and food. If the United States proceeds forward with an offensive against Syria, major corporations and critical infrastructure for the U.S. economy will surely bit part of the barrage and from multiple fronts. The verdict is out on who will participate however, the ability to launch an offensive, stay anonymous, and cripple portions of our infrastructure is definitely a possibility and something we should be preparing for when it occurs. It's no surprised that we are as a nation already hacked, infiltrated, and owned by almost every nation (example: It will take a catalyst for something major to happen, and the Syrian conflict may just be the breaking point to a major offensive. Again, regardless if you are for or against, this type of conflict has been coming for a long time and if it doesn't happen in the Syrian conflict, it will happen and soon. The security industry has been raising its hands for years telling us that this is a major possibility and something likely. We need to as nations come together and build information security the right way as a whole. The days where we kind of do some information security needs to be over and integrated into every part of our day to day lives and businesses to protect our assets and resources. The purpose of the post isn't to make you cringe, strike fear in you, or try to scare you. We are vulnerable, we are completely unprepared, and the attacks are possible. No FUD in that.