A Black Swan Cyberattack Is Becoming More Likely Every Day

It seems that major hacking attacks are being reported in the news more often.  And the size of the attacks are getting larger.  Hundreds of millions of records have been compromised by some of the biggest companies out there – the ones that seem like they should have known better and should have been able to prevent it from happening in the first place.

The Harvard Business Review makes a case for major institutions to do a better job of stopping cyberattacks before they morph from something that affects their own operations into something that negatively impacts an entire industry, or even the economy at large.

“But as severe cyber-attacks hit companies, governments, utilities, and hospitals with greater regularity, it’s becoming abundantly clear that organizations now require two playbooks: the one they already have for common cyber threats like malware, phishing, and denial-of-service attacks; and a new one that covers something even worse. They must prepare for cyber crises that could cripple not just their own operations, but spread through their industry and across others as well.”

The reason many of us have adopted a self-sufficiency philosophy and lifestyle is because we would like to be in control of our own destiny as much as we know we cannot rely on or trust the government or big business to have our best interests in mind.  Further evidence of this comes from a referenced report in the article:

“Yet while severe cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly common, nearly half of companies have not even identified cyber scenarios that could affect them, according to a recent survey conducted by Marsh, Oliver Wyman’s sister company. A quarter do not even treat cyber risks as significant corporate risks at all.”

The type of preparedness that is required sounds like it could come from any preppers playbook.

“Like other disasters, cyber-attacks can hit as suddenly as a catastrophic 100-year storm. But they also can emerge slowly at first, like a pandemic that systematically builds and spreads over time before emerging as a full-blown crisis – when it is too late to prevent them. As a result, companies must have plans in place to both mitigate extreme cyber threats and pinpoint slow-burning, emerging cyber dangers.”

Sometimes the plans include drastic measures to literally isolate critical systems where possible or move to a more manual system.  This is in stark contrast to the trend of having almost everything connected to the internet as well as trying to automate even the smallest tasks.

Singapore recently decided to cut off access to the internet for nearly all of its computers, three years after hacktivists crippled the government’s websites through a series of cyber-attacks. Healthcare providers and hospitals infected by ransomware attacks in the United States and Germany are taking critical systems partially offline and are preparing to go back to pen and paper in case an incident impairs their digital operations.

Extreme times call for extreme measures.  Hopefully measures will be taken to protect vital infrastructure and human lives.

“An economic crisis could result if banks were suddenly unable to provide millions of businesses and people access to their accounts, preventing them from paying salaries and bills.

One thing is certain: The ramifications of cyber-attacks will only spread and the level of their sophistication will only grow.   Cyber threats that many companies previously considered unthinkable now happen on a daily basis.”

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