Getting Started
Getting Started

Soon I will publish my The Top Ten Cybersecurity Threats for 2009. However, before doing so, let’s take a look at some interesting aspects of The Top Ten Cybersecurity Threats for 2008.  In my cybersecurity threat list for 2008, I mentioned:

— Criminal manipulation and subversion of financial markets.

What we observed in 2008 was much more than criminal threats. Now we are seeing both intended and unintended consequences of cyberspace.   For example, analysts from competing banks use the Internet to spread “doom and gloom” rumors and flawed analysis to do serious harm to their competitors.

In my post Cyberattack! Manipulation and Subversion of Financial Markets! we discussed the situation of a direct competitor to E*Trade Bank, Citigroup, using the power of cyberspace, rumors and (mis)information to manipulate investor confidence in  E*Trade (ETFC).  This might have not been such an eyebrow raising event if the analyst rumor, released like a bomb in cyberspace, was by a disinterested third party.  The “cybernews bomb” was released by a direct competitor with their own subprime balance sheet problems.  In reality, Citigroup came closer to bankruptcy than E*Trade!

This is a direct abuse of cyberspace and a purposeful, malicious action that can threaten every business in today’s modern networked, connected world.

Moreover, potential more harmful threats are the unintended, not directly malicious “doom and gloom” reports, analysts opinions and news stories, where the entire cyberworld is full of “doom and gloom”, driving the world’s global economics into a downward spiral.

In other words, the biggest looming threat to cyberspace is not the low level hacks and attacks that IT professional often discuss.   The biggest threat is cyberspace itself and how malicious rumors in cyberspace can destroy confidence in sound businesses in milliseconds.  In addition, cyberspace “doom and gloom” has taken on a life of its own, much like a global personality. Unfortunately, we don’t have “cyberdrugs” to treat “doom and gloom” global information-based depression.

Many folks are worried that the global economy will be even worse in 2009.   Never in our history have we had such a global economic downturn combined with global cyberspace “doom and gloom” messaging pumped into our news readers and brains 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, globally and instantaneously.

Indeed, cyberspace itself has become a serious threat, perhaps the greatest threat for 2009.


  1. IMHO, the biggest threat is not some random rumors in cyberspace but the consistently bad and risky practices businesses have been conducting for years and failing to do their basic investment maths of savings vs. liabilities (because of bad lending policies to the not-so credit worthy or selling debts as securitised assets and forgetting to take these debts into account). I think that the biggest threats for most large organisations are the lack of separation of concerns between the infrastructure and applications (especially in security); and the lack of an effective enterprise architecture. As a result, businesses are focussed on solving day to day problems when they should have been paying attention to their key business risks. In summary, this threat is not an external or cyberspace attack, or internal fraud – it is simply taking one’s eye off the ball that really mattered and which hit us all hard!

  2. Dear Suheil,

    Thanks for visiting and your comments. Happy New Year.

    Frankly speaking, I find your conclusion that a global economic crisis of this magnitude is caused by “taking eyes off the ball” naive.

    You appear to not yet grasp the power of perception and the fact that “perception is reality”. From the old cliche….

    “Dorothy, we ain’t in Kansas anymore!”

    Warm Regards, Tim

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