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‘We’re at cyberwar’ – study reveals views on nation-state security

‘We’re at cyberwar’ – study reveals views on nation-state security

Enterprise SecurityResearchTop Stories

Venafi, a leading provider of machine identity protection, has announced the results of a survey of 515 IT security professionals’ views on cyberwar and nation-state security. The survey was conducted at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas.

According to the survey, 86% of IT security professionals say the world is currently in the middle of a cyberwar. In addition, 40% of respondents believe a nation-state cyberattack has already cost human lives.

“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 cyberwar right now.”

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • A total of 88% believe attacks that disrupt election infrastructure – including voting machines and machines that transmit, store, tabulate and validate electoral data – are acts of cyberwar
  • A total of 86% believe that misinformation campaigns designed to manipulate public opinion for political outcomes are acts of cyberwar
  • Only 3% say cyberattacks will never cost human lives

Earlier this month, DEF CON, the world’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.

In July, a grand jury issued a detailed indictment on international interference during the 2016 US presidential election. Details in the indictment indicate that nation-state actors utilised 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 protection program in place.

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