Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cybersecurity is Everyones Responsibility

Had a request from the ANU Strategic Communications and Public Affairs unit to be interviewed on radio about the apparent Islamic State (ISIS) hack of US twitter accounts and the Anonymous group's attacks on IS websites.

According to news reports (such as "Apparent Islamic State backers hack U.S. military Twitter feed", by David Alexander and Jim Finkle, Reuters, Jan 12, 2015), hackers claiming to be from ISIS posted their own messages and videos to  the U.S. Central Command Twitter account. The account was shut down after 30 minutes and no internal military systems were reported compromised ("Statement from U.S. Central Command Regarding Twitter/YouTube Compromise",  U.S.
Central Command News Release #20140101, January 12, 2015).

In a separate incident, the hacking group "Anonomus" are reported to have briefly disabled an ISIS website (see "Anonymous Declares War Vs Al Qaeda, ISIS; Brings Down A Jihadist Website", by Esther Tanquintic-Misa, International Business Times, January 13, 2015 ).

Neither of these incidents are particularly serious. Also it cannot be clearly established who was behind them. But there is a real risk of far more serious attacks. The first and best line of defence is a well trained workforce, which knows what to do (all Australian Defence Force Academy undergraduates will be trained in cyber security, commencing this year) and UNSW Canberra has the Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) for advanced research. There is the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) for the general public to report incidents, the  Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT) which companies can subscribe to for assistance.

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