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Tags: companies | cyber | security | warfare

Vanity Fair's Gross to Moneynews: 'Companies Are Starting to Wake Up' to Cyber Threats

By    |   Friday, 21 June 2013 08:29 AM EDT

U.S. companies aren't adequately preparing themselves for cyberattacks, says Michael Joseph Gross, contributing editor to Vanity Fair.

"Absolutely not," he tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview. Gross wrote an article about cyber warfare titled "Silent War" in the July issue of Vanity Fair.

"Companies are starting to wake up, but I hear horror stories on a weekly basis from chief information officers, chief security officers who sit down with their CFOs," he states.

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"When the chief financial officer says, what's the cost if we don't do anything to fix this vulnerability, the security guy comes back and says, well we're not audited or regulated. And the CFO just interrupts and says, you get no budget."

To be sure, the cyber security industry is "thriving," Gross says. "Particularly with all of the press that this is getting right now, there's a strong move to do something," he adds.

"But the corporate decision-making structure in most cases is so well-defined it separates the guys who are still considered to be the geeks from the people who actually make any decisions about where to spend money."

It would be helpful for CEOs to start listening to their chief security officers, who know what's needed to fight cyberattacks, Gross asserts.

Banks in particular have suffered from malicious hacking. "Starting in earnest last September, ... a group [called] Qassam Cyber Fighters, started running attacks on U.S. banks," he explains.

"What was new about this level of conflict was that for the first time, they were trying to do damage to the U.S. financial sector. They have done a fairly good job and even seem to have inspired some copycat attacks, including one that caused a huge drop in the Dow."

Gross is referring to the brief stock market plunge April 23, when The Associated Press' Twitter account was hacked to say that a bomb had exploded at the White House.

The United States upped the ante with its Stuxnet computer worm attack against Iran's nuclear program that was discovered in 2010, Gross maintains. "This set off a kind of tit for tat of cyber warfare that is continuing to create blowback even today."

Gross declined to speculate about whether we did the right thing. "That question is above my pay grade," he insists.

"What I know about is what's actually happened. And the thing that's really interesting is that when the U.S. launched Stuxnet, we effectively legitimized the use of cyber weapons outside the context of wartime."

The United States was the first party to "cause a kinetic effect, so far as is publicly known," Gross notes.

"That has created a situation where cyber weapons are proliferating probably much faster than they otherwise could have and certainly much faster, easier, and more cheaply than nuclear weapons ever could proliferate."

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U.S. companies aren't adequately preparing themselves for cyberattacks, says Michael Joseph Gross, contributing editor to Vanity Fair.
Friday, 21 June 2013 08:29 AM
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