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Cybercrime

Christmas Season Serves Up Sobering Cyber Clash

Christmas is often associated with winding down, taking a few drinks and wishing well on our neighbours. But the series of clashes that began with the Sony hack are delivering a very sobering reminder that computer systems and binary code will be the new Weapons of Mass Disruption, if not actual physical destruction.

The US of course blamed North Korea for the attack on Sony although many experts appear unconvinced. Now it appears that North Korea has itself been blitzed with a cyber attack while in South Korea a nuclear plant has been hacked.

Six days ago Aaron Levie tweeted that “This is a bellwether moment for cyber terrorism. Be prepared for a very complicated future.”

Levie’s words already appear to have been borne out and the current shenanigans appear to be taken from the draft of some dystopian John Le Carre espionage novel. Sorting propaganda from fact is already very difficult. We can expect a wave of threats, counter threats and various conspiracy theories as to who exactly is responsible for what.

A Panglossian view might hold that digital clashes are at least preferable to physical clashes but large scale digital attacks can bring businesses to a standstill, lead to chaos and other unthinkable consequences. To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war, Churchill said, and it can only be hoped that dialogue defuses the current state of tension. But these are dark, disturbing days.

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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