Toomas Ilves–Cybersecurity: A View From the Front

Cybersecurity needs to be taken seriously by everyone. We continue to think of cyberthreats in military or classical warfare terms, when in fact cyber can simply render the military paradigm irrelevant. The whole information and communication technologies (ICT) infrastructure must be regarded as an “ecosystem” in which everything is interconnected. It functions as a whole; it must be defended as a whole.

Today, almost everything we do depends on a digitized system of one kind or another. Our critical infrastructure ”” our electrical, water or energy production systems and traffic management ”” essentially interacts with, and cannot be separated from, our critical information infrastructure ”” private Internet providers, lines of telecommunications and the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (Scada) systems that run everything from nuclear power plants to delivery of milk to our supermarkets.

Understanding that cybersecurity means defending the entirety of our societies, we need to re-examine many assumptions of security. In cyberwarfare, it is much harder to identify the attacker, and therefore to know how to retaliate.

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