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.