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StuxNet, AnonAustria, DigiNotar & Co: What they teach us about operating IT systems in a secure way

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  • Proschinger, Christian

Abstract

Information technology (IT) is no independent technology island anymore. Today it is an essential part of our society. Critical functions of countries are based on information technology. For example there is no electricity without IT and there is no IT without electricity. Our civilization is reliant on processes that are IT driven. This critical infrastructure, especially the critical information infrastructure, is often operated by private companies. With the development of IT networks, the integration of the business processes between organizations has increased, too. Thus the protection of the critical information infrastructure has become a high priority topic for the governments in Europe and all over the world. It can only be handled in cooperation between public and private stakeholders. IT security is a quality aspect of operating IT infrastructure. The availability, integrity and confidentiality of the systems and processed data have to be guaranteed. StuxNet has been the successful proof that malware can attack industrial control systems. Such systems are used to control a wide variety of machinery, from power plants to assembly lines. DigiNotar was a Certificate Authority - part of the critical information infrastructure of the Netherlands. Its compromise in 2011 is a prime example of an attack of a (inter-) national relevant IT system and demonstrates the wide-reaching impact such an event can have. Last summer the attacks by AnonAustria generated a lot of publicity. The Austrian national Computer Emergency Response Team - CERT.at and the Government CERT - GovCERT Austria have been involved in the handling of these incidents. Our experience shows how important it is for an organization to know how to deal with Hacktivism. All these attacks have shown various technical and organizational aspects which have to be considered to guarantee a secure IT operation. This paper gives an overview about the lessons learned.

Suggested Citation

  • Proschinger, Christian, 2012. "StuxNet, AnonAustria, DigiNotar & Co: What they teach us about operating IT systems in a secure way," 23rd European Regional ITS Conference, Vienna 2012 60354, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:itse12:60354
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