It's difficult to imagine how cyber warfare could wreak the same havoc as traditional, conventional war. But as former director of national intelligence Mike McConnell once noted, cyber war has the potential to mirror the nuclear challenge - less in the physical sense, but in terms of the potential economic and psychological effects.
For most of today's cybercriminals their activities are not a hobby to brag about with mates. What they do is a serious business to them and they employ many of the best 'traditional' business practices mainstream companies use with the goal of making money. Today's cybercriminal gangs are highly professional and motivated.
Security is now a question of trying to think like the attacker and assume that something bad will eventually happen. Today knowing what you are going to do before, during and after the attack is the thing that will make the difference and lessen the embarrassment and damage a breach could ultimately cause.
Drive-by downloads are a common method used to spread malware. Cybercriminals look for insecure web sites and plant a malicious script into HTTP or PHP code on one of the web pages. This script may install malware directly onto the computer of someone who visits the site, or it may take the form of an IFRAME that re-directs the victim to a site controlled by the cybercriminals.
why is it we seem to value physical over digital so much? We often act very much more recklessly in the digital world than the physical. After all how many of us have taken directions from a friend or colleague to visit a certain website without a second thought? Few people take the trouble to check the validity of the website we are visiting before we go there, or even know what to look for.
Whilst yet to make the big headlines, the full picture of online crime represents a fundamental challenge to all businesses, governments and our daily lives. In the all-encompassing digital age, information security as a profession and as a way of life is vital to ensuring both our economic prosperity and our sense of safety, privacy and freedom.
The abundance of data not only makes us more vulnerable to cybercrime, it also leaves the door open for companies to use the date in ways we never dreamed of. For instance, insurance companies might charge some customers more than others as they are perceived to be higher risk based on the data available.