Hands up all those who knew that we have just had the largest exercise ever to test the preparedness for a cyber storm attack on the communication infrastructure of ‘western civilisation’? You didn’t know about this? Cyberstorm II, as it is named, was organised by the US Department of Homeland Security to test how well IT Infrastructures and Government agencies would survive in the event of a determined cyber attack designed to break the Internet, and other communication mediums. It was a big, and well organised, affair with 18 federal departments, and more than 100 US and global enterprises, from right round the world, as well as some key technology vendors, such as Cisco, taking part.
The event was held over several days in March and featured ‘persistent, fictitious adversaries’ carrying out ‘coordinated and extended attacks’ on all forms of communications from the Internet, to Fax, email to cell phone, and since you didn’t know about it then the big news is that the global commerce structure is better protected and more robust than we all feared.
What particular fascinates me about all of this is that it quite simply didn’t show up on to the average users on the Internet, in particular, that this was taking place. Think about it, did you notice slow performance during the days of the week of the 10th March? In theory it was all aimed at fake media sites, but I would have expected some ‘leakage’ into the performance of the Internet overall when you are doing things such as making more than half a million hits on one site in an attack.
The activity did make some news items, but not so many as you might have expected, so if you want the official coverage it’s best to read about it on the Department of Homeland Security web site.
If it passed as a non event why do I want to bring it to your attention?
Simple, the debate on the strength and the reliability of the Internet as a medium for business critical activity is still around, even as businesses find themselves increasing their reliance on the Internet and the Web. Well, if it does nothing else, and it seems there are three months of post event briefing to learn and apply lessons to go through yet, it does serve to prove the medium is pretty reliable already and will be getting even better from this exercise.
With that comforting thought I believe I can go back to discussing how we can all profit from using web based services in our business!