Business Continuity: Chinese Hackers

Northrup Grumman was kind enough to publish, or maybe the government was kind enough to release, a report on Chinese Cyber Warfare capabilities for the USCESRC.

Most people are apt to dismiss the report outright unless they have a direct interest in government affairs. What’s a dry cleaner in Allentown got to do with Chinese hackers? It depends. But in the interests of keeping this short, lets just say there are some implications that the disaster prepared, savvy business person should understand.

1) The Chinese are serious about cyber warfare. Probably more serious than the US. But who knows. All that matters is, the Chinese have official plans, and official doctrine, for waging cyber war against US interests. Which brings us to…

2) US Interests are government facilities and supply chain components, not your average dry cleaner or Arby’s owner. Well, think again. The Chinese might not target the dry cleaner or fast food joint, but they are targeting infrastructure, possibly large scale. That means the dry cleaner isn’t going to get deliveries, and may be without power for an extended period of time. If they’re smart, they’ve already planned for this contingency and have some money set aside, for severe accidents like the North East power outage a few years ago. Or not. Prior planning prevents poor performance. As for our fast food owner, they aren’t getting shipments either. And an extended power outage kills what limited freezer storage they have. Can’t cook it, can’t store it, and we’re running out. Anything could have done it, Chinese Hackers are just one interesting way it happens. So prepare now.

OK, so why bother bringing it up? Either businesses are prepared or they aren’t. Telling them it’s Chinese Hackers isn’t going to motivate them to better prepare.

It might.

Unlike various natural disasters that *might* occur once in a decade, we know from the report that active Chinese incursions in cyberspace are ongoing. They’re testing. Surely, the US is as well. The Chinese have even built their own operating system; no Windows 7 there. Uh, oh. Do you know how serious you have to be to build your own national operating system for increased protection? That’s serious.

So, why recommend businesses devote a little extra time on business continuity because of Chinese Hackers? Because they don’t only target the US Defense systems. They test. And if they want to know if something works, testing on the dry cleaner is a lot safer than testing on 1600 PA Ave. They target you. Especially if you’re in some sort of support capacity, like a fuel pumping station. Cyberwar is all about disruption.

Besides, the Russian crime syndicates are already targeting small businesses, so we all need to just step up preparedness a tad. Talk to your friendly local computer geek that works for beer and food. He’s cheap, and you’ll get some idea of how vulnerable your systems are. Discuss what you’d do if hackers 1) destroyed your computer 2) emptied your bank account (bank won’t cover it) 3) used your computers as a stepping stone to an assault on the US Gov. Won’t that be an interesting visit from a bunch of guys in black…

And if you want to get more serious about disaster recovery and business continuity, risk assessments, or even regulatory computer security compliance, give us a call at Digital Trust.

Digital Trust, LLC
We read government reports so you don’t have to.

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