Cyber Experts Give Gloomy Diagnosis

Amit Yoran

Today’s cyber threats are not preventable and there is currently no way to defend any large-scale environment, said Amit Yoran, CEO of NetWitness Corporation at yesterday’s cyber conference in New York.

Agence France-Presse reported how this bleak forecast comes from the FBI-sponsored conference at Fordham University in a time when the Internet and society are becoming increasingly intertwined. White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt told the conference the entire U.S economy essentially rests on safe Internet facilities.

The cyber czar explained how despite the boom in online business, few Internet retailers understand the threat cyber criminals pose. Almost half of small businesses do not use anti-virus software and even fewer use it properly, he added.

“There has been enough exfiltration of personal property in this country in the past years to fill the Library of Congress over and over again. So we must do more,” Schmidt said.

With cyber crime being borderless in nature, the chase for cyber criminals becomes a a difficult task. Department of Justice’s Michael DuBose said the hackers’ world has become much smaller but “they prey on what is essentially a global victim pool.”

Another obstacle is outdated legislation combined with the usual complications of cross-border probes, said FBI’s Cyber Division Deputy Assistant Director Jeffrey Troy. Instead of operating like one global law enforcement agency, many nations lack laws that fit the crime, he said.

Some experts at the conference also addressed what they said was the failure of private software companies to come up with adequate solutions to thwart cyber attacks. MITRE’s Gary Gagnon joked the biggest problem was “users who just can’t help clicking” on infected files. However, he added, no one should ever feel complacent about security levels.

“If [hackers] are determined to get in our network, they’ll get in,” he said. “The odds are stacked in their favor.”

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