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Internet of Things and Cyber-Sabotage By @JamesCarlini | @ThingsExpo [#IoT]

Too many top executives and futurists are giddy about what the future holds with the Internet of Things

Corporate Cyber-Sabotage: The Six-Phased Enterprise Assessment Framework

When the Tsunami of system failures paralyzes your organization from a coordinated cyber-attack, it's too late for the CEO to think your organization can "get through this event." It's too late.

Too many top executives and futurists are giddy about what the future holds with the "Internet of Things" and the growth of technology-based applications cutting across many, if not all, industries. Few are talking about reinforcing corporate systems as well as hardening facilities and mission critical applications to withstand cyber-sabotage and EMP attacks because few, if any, are even qualified to assess that area of their enterprise (see Intelligent Infrastructure Destruction: Cyber Attacks).

Many still talk about having "Disaster Recovery" plans. That isn't good enough in the era of 21st century intelligent infrastructure. The design concept should be to develop systems that support a strategic direction of "Business Continuity" and sustainability, not disaster recovery.

In some cases, you cannot afford to be down for an hour or two, let alone a day or two. Your competition will swallow your business while you try to determine how to re-instate your systems into an operational mode.

What kind of attacks can be launched? Everyone always focuses on the stealing of credit card numbers from retailers or critical (and sensitive) information from healthcare providers, but the reality is cyber-attacks can span more than just customer record information. Plus, the credit card breaches are still going on and are successful, so many organizations have yet to establish real barriers to protect systems from outside attacks.

Besides cyber-attacks, EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) attacks can also shut down everything electronic.

Attacking the Intelligent Infrastructure of an Organization
If I was a cyber-criminal engaging in corporate cyber-sabotage, I would look beyond what is being protected today. What industries and mission-critical systems would I target? When you start to think of it, there are a lot of potential targets still not hardened. Are yours? (See Chart 1- Potential Industrial Targets.)

With more organizations getting hit with cyber-attacks, the focus of improvement should not be at the technical level. The focus of improvement should be at a more encompassing approach covering all levels of an organization including its executive vision, its strategic direction, its processes, and the platform of technologies (systems and services) it has in-place to support those processes and achieve its strategic objectives.

Chart 1 - Potential Industrial Targets

Industry

Systems Target

Desired Result

Automotive

Robotic systems on the Assembly line. Distribution and logistics systems. R&D systems.

Complete stopping of the Assembly Line. Complete lock up of any distribution of parts and finished product. (Apply this to any manufacturing process)

Pharmaceutical

Again, Manufacturing systems. Recipes for all drugs and their derivatives. Research & Development systems.

Complete lock up of any distribution of product. Complete destruction of R&D results. Secondary result - the resulting damage and freezing of Healthcare Industry.

Power

Power Grid (Distribution). Power Stations. Management Systems (All video cameras overseeing operations and facilities.)

Complete system failure for the power company. Secondary result - the complete stoppage of any outside entity dependent on power.

Source: James Carlini

As you can see, the above attacks are much more sophisticated than lifting credit card information. Corporate cyber-sabotage focuses more on stopping the organization in its tracks: cutting off production, ruining Intellectual Property (IP), and freezing up logistics and distribution of products as well as energy.

Remember the Three Rs for Your Enterprise
Many organizations are still in a primitive mode when it comes to backing-up mission-critical applications. With mission-critical applications in organizations growing from "one out of three" to "one out of two" in many areas, the need to take a broader and more strategic view on the Three Rs (Reliability, Redundancy and Resiliency) of the enterprise is critical.

The assessment of the Enterprise's Intelligent Infrastructure as well as its strategic policies and procedures needs to be performed in this era of increasing cyber-attacks. The Enterprise Assessment Framework provides a more structured view of what has to happen in a multi-phased approach to building stronger, more resilient intelligent infrastructure that can withstand cyber-sabotage (see Chart 2).

Chart 2 - Enterprise Assessment Framework

Phase

Action

Process

Results

1

Analysis Of Current Environment

Multi-level, multi-enterprise element (people, systems, procedures & processes) review.

Vision of current topology and physical attributes of systems and facilities.

2

Identifying Major Issues

Multi-dimensional assessment tool covering both manual and automated processes.

Uncovering single points-of-failure, incomplete applications, other inconsistencies.

3

Assessment

Multi-dimensional Proprietary Tool.

Quantifying Issues and Concerns as well as the revealing of potential weak points.

4

Recommended Changes & Upgrades

Presentation of Improvements. Report.

List of prioritized improvements and upgrades.

5

Implementation Of Changes

Adding and/or modifying procedures, systems, and practices in a prioritized approach.

Added capabilities, shoring up weak areas, and eradicating single points-of-failure.

6

Post-Implementation Review

Review of the new in-place systems, processes and procedures.

Assessment of what has worked and what needs further improvement.

Source: James Carlini

Copyright 2014 - James Carlini

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James Carlini, MBA, a certified Infrastructure Consultant, keynote speaker and former award-winning Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University, has advised on mission-critical networks. Clients include the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, GLOBEX, and City of Chicago’s 911 Center. An expert witness in civil and federal courts on network infrastructure, he has worked with AT&T, Sprint and others.

Follow daily Carlini-isms at www.twitter.com/JAMESCARLINI

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