Cybersecurity is navigating between Scylla and Charybdis; the devil and the deep blue sea. Between closed but secure systems on the one hand — and more open, user friendly environments on the other. And now the US Navy is considering the idea that best defense against high-tech attacks, may be found in a low-tech measure: simply disconnecting.
The US Navy is now looking to “selectively disconnect” its systems, or slow down some connections to minimize vulnerability to cyber attacks. The Navy is in the process of finding out which systems should be disconnected if necessary. The initiative would result in a system that could disconnect and reconnect at a commander’s discretion, and without affecting normal military duties. The Navy calls this, “network-optional warfare”. When the network is shut off, there should be organic systems on the ship or submarine to still fight the battle and do what is needed.
So, what can we learn from this approach? Let’s assume the worst case scenario: your network has been hacked, every computer is infected, every router or switch has a backdoor, each cable is tapped, and every provider could be forced by law to give access to your data. If this happens, you’re in trouble. And while the reality may be that your organization isn’t really a target, wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry?
Security is therefore best taken care of at the level of data, and the access to it. End-to-end cryptography, comprehensive identity & access management, and ongoing monitoring of outgoing traffic then become mandatory. Because by doing so you avoid the possibility of having to shut down your connection and rely on pre-networked ways of communicating, such as: fax, telephone or homing pigeons like in the olden days.
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