Thursday, July 30, 2009

Baby Smart Grid Versus "Grown Up" Hackers

When the Internet was born, hackers were in their infancy, and the two grew up together. On the eve of the Smart Grid's arrival, the bad guys have gone from boys to men.

According to Wired Magazine, these aren't your father's hackers.  Now it's a full blown career: today's hackers perfect their craft and do their work to earn their daily bread. And when they focus like this, with ridiculously robust monetary and technical resources at their disposal, they get better and better at breaking through even the most well implemented defenses.

To wit::
Particularly disturbing to security experts is the speed with which the bad guys are jumping on newly disclosed vulnerabilities. "Even one year ago, a lot of these web exploit toolkits were using vulnerabilities that had been discovered one or two years prior," says Holly Stewart, Threat Response Manager at IBM's X-Force. "They were really, really old.... That has really changed, especially this year. We're seeing more and more current exploits go into these toolkits. And we're seeing exploits come out that are even just a couple days after the vulnerability announcement."
Consider this as utilities and other orgs prepare to play in the Smart Grid world, basically moving from near-zero to 1,000 MPH in cyber security intensity. One thing's for sure: it's going to be quite a ride.

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