National and Global Security

The increasing reliance of industrial control systems on networked computers and devices, along with the rapidly interconnected nature of critical infrastructure, have left the vital services of industrial nations highly vulnerable to cyber-attack. Municipal power, water, sewer, internet, and television services can be disrupted by saboteurs, whether for the purpose of political activism, blackmail, or terrorism. Even short-term interruption of some of these services can result in loss of life or property. The safety of nuclear power plants is of particular concern, as we have seen in recent years that hackers can implant viruses in commonly used electronic components to disrupt industrial machinery. Banking systems and financial trading networks are high value targets for hackers, whether they are seeking financial gain or to cause economic turmoil in a rival nation. Some governments are already openly deploying their own hackers for electronic warfare. Targets for government and military hacking also include the increasingly networked vehicles and instruments of war. Electronic components can be compromised by hackers on the production line before they ever even make it into a tank, battleship, fighter jet, aerial drone, or other military vehicle – so governments must be careful about who they contract in the supply line. Sensitive email, telephone, or satellite communications must also be protected from adversaries. It is not just nation-states who are a threat to advanced military systems. Terrorist organizations are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are shifting to more technological methods.

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