The level of threat from cyber attacks has been the subject of controversy for years. However, just recently, multiple officials who are in the know have publically stated that the threat posed by cyber attacks is very real and went on to state that such an attack could potentially be not that far away.
In my most recent blogs, I made the distinction that cyber attacks are much more serious than cyber threats. If someone puts a piece of code on your system that exfiltrates data or information, disrupts, destroys or otherwise harms your computer, device, network, applications or data–that would be considered an attack.
Some experts have softened their concerns from an attack that disrupts our critical infrastructure on a very broad (national) basis to a position that the attack and disruption will be more constrained and likely to have a regional impact.
In thinking about a regional cyber attack that takes out portions of our critical infrastructure, researchers and others believe the United States must take immediate action.
One of the actions that have been discussed is the development of Rapid Intervention Teams (RIT). The RIT teams would expand the cyber resources of the National Guard, not just on the technical side but on the incident command and management side as well.
The Guard already has several units that focus on the cyber domain that have really solid capabilities. After all, many Guard members in these units actually work in the computer and security fields.
In the event of a cyber attack on critical infrastructure assets on state, county or local government networks and systems, the governor of one or more states could activate these Guard units to work with government and private sector infrastructure owners and assist in defending these systems, as well as mitigating the impact of the attacks.
The idea of having a cybersecurity group like this with dedicated and specially trained resources that can be called upon by state and local officials to immediately respond to disruptive cyber attacks is a great idea. Let’s just hope this idea gets put in place before it too late!