ISIS. The Cyber Security Nightmare

Chris Hartwig

ISIS. The Cyber Security Nightmare

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Islamic terrorists are warning of a full-on cyber crusade against America. Hackers affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have released several videos threatening “electronic war” against the United States and Europe. U.S. President Barack Obama once described ISIS as the “JV squad” but they are looking quite professional now, drawing in intelligent minds across the world to join their worldwide campaign of Jihad against the West. The threat of a cyber attack against the United States is now being described as “unprecedented” by security experts and all corners of the United States military. Experts are now warning that a state-sponsored attack will bring down the electrical infrastructure of an entire country in the next three years. Considering the threats and the recent high profile ISIS attacks; downing a Russian airliner, a major assault on Paris that killed over 130, the siege on wide swaths of Iraq and Syria and the mass murder campaign of the past two years, it’s becoming evident that ISIS is much more than a JV team. They are a legitimate threat and a worldwide terror organization that has the ability to draw recruits from around the world and inspire lone wolf attacks in Western nations.

Days after the horrific attack on Paris, the ISIS media arm threatened to bring similar attacks to New York, Rome, and Washington. The threats prompted immediate promises from major cities to increase security and awareness to potential threats of ISIS or lone wolf attacks in the United States. It appears the rest of the country no longer looks at ISIS as the “JV squad” Barack Obama described. The interesting aspect of the Paris attack is that it demonstrates just how vulnerable we are and that we cannot rely on the government, the military or police forces to protect us. There are just too many soft targets to protect. The attacks in Paris hit a sports arena, a concert arena, and a local restaurant. These are private organizations that are easy targets due to limited to no security measures in place to thwart attacks with suicide belts and high powered automatic rifles.

The next emerging threat from ISIS is just as worrisome even if it doesn’t have huge explosions, masked suicide bombers and men in black gunning down innocent civilians where they work and play. The Islamic State Hacking Division is a non-transparent shadow group lurking on the dark net. As ISIS draws in a larger number of recruits, their intelligence and attack capabilities seem to increase exponentially. “Jihadi John,” the masked man with the British accent shown beheading people in ISIS propaganda videos was of all things a computer science graduate. Thankfully John is now believed to have been killed in an American airstrike. However, terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS have shown an ability to replace each member killed with the next willing jihadi waiting in line. Western nations are now coming to the realization that ISIS has had success recruiting not just fighters but scholars and businessmen and women as well. They have financing, they have thousands of fighters, and now they have intelligence to do more damage outside the typical murderous rampages that made them infamous.

The murderous rampages have been extremely successful in ISIS’s recruitment campaign, and we are now seeing the development of ISIS 2.0. ISIS 2.0 is more intelligent and sophisticated. ISIS 2.0 can attack Western lands without guns and ammunition because their new battleground is the Internet and this is the method they will use to leverage the overwhelming military might of first world countries. The threat of a cyberattack directed against the United States by ISIS is real and must be protected against. The problem is the United States government is ill-equipped to deal with ISIS or state-sponsored cyber espionage.

Not only is the United States government and military a target for Jihadist terrorists; so is every other business thaWPD_hands_over_cyber_security.jpgt has attached itself to the internet. State-sponsored hackers are using readily available tools that can be purchased on the web to infiltrate American businesses to steal intellectual data, their customer’s personally identifiable information (PII), and hold their data for ransom. State and Federal governments cannot protect your data from hacking groups and instead rely on businesses themselves to report security breaches to notify customers that their information has been breached. It’s up to the individual organization to protect its intellectual secrets and customers PII. A robust private cyber security industry will be necessary to protect businesses from infiltration by hacker organizations.

Watchpoint Data is on the cutting edge of cyber security, providing endpoint protection using advanced technology like Bit9 + Carbon Black. Watchpoint Data provides peace of mind and security for small to medium sized business that do not have the staff or budget to purchase state of the art monitoring systems and hire full-time forensic experts. Using the WatchPoint Data dashboard, an organization can monitor their endpoints for vulnerabilities, keep their systems patched and break the attack chain on entry points to the system.

Using Bit9 + Carbon Black, we at WatchPoint Data have the ability to view attacks in real time, determine what is an actual threat, and if necessary, we have the forensic experts to step in, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to isolate and remove any malware. Antivirus will only protect a business from known threats and is no longer an effective tool to prevent attacks and secure a network. You need a partner like WatchPoint Data, with the expertise and forensic experts using state of the art products like Bit9 + Carbon Black to protect your customers’ and company’s vulnerable information and intellectual data.

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