Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Rene Buest, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

Blog Feed Post

DHS Secretary Napolitano Uses Hurricane Sandy to Hype Cyber Threat

By

No natural disaster in the last several years has passed without a government official or civilian “expert” using it to raise fears of cyber threats. That is why, after a series of snarky tweets over the last couple days by Rob Rosenberger, I was inspired to create a Google alert for any news item mentioning both the words “cyber” and “Sandy” in the same article.

I created the alert this morning and waited. How long would it be before someone exploited this disaster to promote cyber fear? And who would do such a thing?

This evening I got my answer. Less than twelve hours after creating the alert and in the midst of a still-unfolding crisis, it was the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, who, as far as I can tell, gets the honor of being the first to use Sandy to stoke cyber fears.

The Hill reported that at a “cybersecurity event hosted by The Washington Post today, Secretary Napolitano said,

After Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast, Napolitano said people should look than no further than the damage caused by the massive storm to understand the need to boost the nation’s cybersecurity protections.

“One of the possible areas of attack, of course, is attacks on our nation’s control systems — the control systems the operate our utilities, our water plants, our pipelines, our financial institutions,” Napolitano said. “If you think that a critical systems attack that takes down a utility even for a few hours is not serious, just look at what is happening now that Mother Nature has taken out those utilities.”

“The urgency and the immediacy of the cyber problem; the cyberattacks that we are undergoing and continuing to undergo can not be overestimated,” she said.

Rosenberger’s comments and my own inclination to set up an alert come from having seen this tendency repeatedly. As I have noted previously, the public policy discourse about cybersecurity in the United States is exhibits a tendency to focus upon the most exotic, hypothetical causes of our misfortunes while ignoring the actual causes. In some of the most egregious examples, commentators have used the financial crisis and even the 2011 Japanese eathquake and tsunami as vehicles for promoting fear of cyber attack.

This tendency to use an ongoing crisis to raise fears of hypothetical threats is distasteful, but is also a dangerous and unnecessary distraction. As I have written previously, our leaders sometimes have a hard time distinguishing between what is happening and what might happen, between what they can imagine and what is possible and/or probable. This was the case during the months and years prior to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, when American officials worried about hypotehtical cyber attacks while missing signs of the 9/11 attack. Some even expressed surprise afterwards that al-Qaeda had not launched a cyber attack instead.

The sad thing is that such dangerous distractions are unnecessary. If anything, an event like Sandy should help us to have a more realistic understanding of the threats we face. A cyber attack is not going to cause the kind of physical destruction we have seen in Sandy. It will not sweep homes off their foundations, uproot trees, smash cars, carry roller coasters out to sea.

One recent estimate puts Sandy’s cost in terms of property damage and lost business at nearly $60 billion. A recent breakdown of the “ten most expensive network attacks in history” indicates that we have yet to see a cyber attack that comes anywhere close to causing the kinds of losses estimated to have been caused by Sandy. Another investigation has revealed that oft-cited statistics about the supposed cost of cyber crime are largely baseless.

Finally, Sandy has demonstrated for us once again what researchers have discovered repeatedly: During disasters, people come together and help one another. We do not see panic, paralysis, or social collapse. Even if a cyber attack were to cause the kind of devastation that we have seen in Sandy, which is unlikely, it is also unlikely to cause the “panic” and “paralysis” about which Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently warned in a speech that some have seen as an indicator that the Department of Defense is essentially taking over cybersecurity for the nation.

On the heels of Secretary Panetta’s speech, the experience of Sandy should indicate that the fear of cyber-doom scenarios that is driving much of our thinking about cybersecurity challenges is not only unrealistic but leads us to inappropriate and potentially dangerous responses to the cyber threats that do exist. Instead, and as suspected, Sandy is being used to promote fear of hypotehtical, exotic attacks even in the midst of actual, ongoing suffering from the second hurricane to hit this part of the United States in the last year.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com

@ThingsExpo Stories
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, shared examples from a wide range of industries – including en...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. Jack Norris reviews best practices to show how companies develop, deploy, and dynamically update these applications and how this data-first...
Intelligent Automation is now one of the key business imperatives for CIOs and CISOs impacting all areas of business today. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Boeggeman, VP Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, will talk about how business value is created and delivered through intelligent automation to today’s enterprises. The open ecosystem platform approach toward Intelligent Automation that Ayehu delivers to the market is core to enabling the creation of the self-driving enterprise.
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Consumers increasingly expect their electronic "things" to be connected to smart phones, tablets and the Internet. When that thing happens to be a medical device, the risks and benefits of connectivity must be carefully weighed. Once the decision is made that connecting the device is beneficial, medical device manufacturers must design their products to maintain patient safety and prevent compromised personal health information in the face of cybersecurity threats. In his session at @ThingsExpo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
Recently, IoT seems emerging as a solution vehicle for data analytics on real-world scenarios from setting a room temperature setting to predicting a component failure of an aircraft. Compared with developing an application or deploying a cloud service, is an IoT solution unique? If so, how? How does a typical IoT solution architecture consist? And what are the essential components and how are they relevant to each other? How does the security play out? What are the best practices in formulating...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Elastifile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS) is software-defined data infrastructure designed for seamless and efficient management of dynamic workloads across heterogeneous environments. Elastifile provides the architecture needed to optimize your hybrid cloud environment, by facilitating efficient...