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[] Gartner: Dependence On Internet Boosts Risks of Cyberwar,

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Gartner: Dependence On Internet Boosts Risks of Cyberwar 

TechWeb News Jan. 15, 2004   
The research firm says that the rate of adoption of Internet-based
technology means that nations will have the ability to conduct
by 2005.

By Antone Gonsalves, TechWeb News 
Dependence on the Internet for voice communications and data
will increase the likelihood of cyberwarfare, a high-tech research firm

Much like the nuclear threat during the Cold War, cyberwarfare is a
potential catastrophe that the United States and other nations must be
prepared to combat, Gartner said. Given the rate of adoption of
Internet-based technology, nations will have the ability to conduct
cyberwarfare by 2005. 

Increasing the possibility is the ever-increasing use of IP networking
technology to connect critical infrastructure, as well as the movement
voice communications from a circuit- to packet-switched architecture,
research firm said. 

IP networks carrying voice traffic use voice over IP equipment that is
susceptible to traditional Internet threats like worms, viruses and
break-ins from hackers. For example, denial-of-service attacks that
take down Web sites could be used to disrupt the flow of voice-carrying
packets on an IP network, causing a major breakdown in communications. 

On the infrastructure level, interfaces allowing maintenance and control
equipment have traditionally been accessed through dial-up modems. As
of these access points are converted to IP network connections, the
vulnerability to attack also increases. 

Possible targets of attacks include network interfaces found in
used by dams, railroads, electrical grids and power generation
Gartner said. Another target is the interface points between SS7, the
central nervous system of the public switched telephone network, and IP
networks. Gartner predicts that SS7 will become a key communications
by 2006. 

Other trends adding to the potential destruction of cyber-attacks
the conversion of traditional frame relay and X.25 protocols used to
computer systems in banking and finance to IP networking. Similar
conversions are taking place in other industries, such as chemical, oil
gas, electrical, law enforcement, and rail transportation. 

In its research, Gartner points out businesses can find ways to manage
through the U.S. National Infrastructure Protection Center, which has
published a document entitled, "Risk Management: An Essential Guide to
Protecting Critical Assets." 

"Most security technology, when used in conjunction with 'best
is appropriate to the proportional risk presented by the threat of
cyberwarfare," Gartner said in a statement. "The proportional-risk
assumption does not mean that a cyberwarfare attack would be
unsuccessful if
undertaken by a determined foe, but that risk is low."

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