The annual Aspen Security Forum takes place this week in Aspen, CO and discussed the current state of critical infrastructure cyber security in the United States (emphasis added):
More than 70 percent think the threat to their organizations is escalating. Almost 9 out of 10 experienced at least one attack in the last three years that caused some damage, disruption, or data loss, with a median of close to 20 attacks per year. Forty-eight percent believe it likely to extremely likely that a critical infrastructure cyber-attack will result in human fatalities in the next three years.
While they continue to look at further investment in various security areas, the vast majority think that greater cooperation and public-private partnerships with national and international agencies are important to keep pace with the escalating threat landscape.
What form would these joint activities take? Well, the top rated suggestions were joining a national or international defense council to share threat intelligence and defense strategies, taking coordinated direction on cyber defense, or even national legislation that requires cooperation with government agencies. The majority of respondents felt that their own government as well as international agencies could be valuable and respectful partners in cybersecurity, and many were open to sharing network visibility if it was deemed vital to national or global cyber defense.
However, one caution was that more than three-quarters of the security professionals supported the use of national defense forces to retaliate in response to a fatal critical infrastructure attack within the country. Given that only a third think that nation-state security services are behind the serious attacks on their organization, identifying a target for retaliation is problematic. Even if a nation-state is responsible, how do you conclusively determine the source of the attack, when it is using code borrowed or bought from organized crime in one country and servers spread across 5 other countries?