Citizens around the world are concerned about nation state actors sabotaging critical and election infrastructure. These attacks not only impact domestic policies, they have negative, and dangerous, international ramifications.
For example, last July a grand jury issued a detailed indictment on international interference during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Details in the indictment indicate that nation-state actors utilized encrypted tunnels to target vulnerabilities in election infrastructure, along with other attack methods.
Attacks that hide in encrypted tunnels are difficult to detect and block without a comprehensive machine identity management program in place.
So, how is the industry responding to the current state of global cyber security relations? Venafi conducted a survey at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas to learn the views security professionals have on cyber war and nation-state security. 515 attendees responded to the survey and the results were rather shocking.
According to the survey, 86% of IT security professionals say the world is currently in the middle of a cyber war. In addition, 40% of respondents believe a nation-state cyber attack has already cost human lives.
Additional findings from the survey include:
- 88% believe attacks that disrupt election infrastructure are acts of cyber war (Election infrastructure includes voting machines and machines that transmit, store, tabulate and validate electoral data)
- 86% believe that misinformation campaigns designed to manipulate public opinion for political outcomes are acts of cyber war.
- Only 3% say cyber attacks will never cost human lives.
Elections are a major target for nation-state cyber attackers. Unfortunately, election infrastructure harbours many risks.
Last month, DEF CON, theworld's largest underground hacking conference, hosted a Voting Machine Hacking Village that focused on infrastructure and a wide range of election systems. According to participants, the back-end systems that house sensitive voting data are especially vulnerable to nation-state tampering and attacks.
“The bottom line is that the notion of war is changing from something that you do with bullets and guns on the ground to something you do with bits and bytes,” said Jeff Hudson, CEO for Venafi. “Essentially, this is a war about compromising and controlling information. Once you fully understand that, it’s pretty easy to see that we are in a full-on cyber war right now.”
Do you think the world is at cyber war?