There is little question the velocity of cyberattacks has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, but according to Israel’s National Cyber Directorate chief Yigal Unna, discussed Iran’s attempted attack on Israel’s water systems a month ago. What caught our attention was Unna’s view that the rules have changed and he sees the nature of these attacks escalating to the point at which they will be aimed at harming civilians. To us that reminds us of former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s warning of a “cyber–Pearl Harbor.”
If Unna is right, and there is reason to think he is, it means bad actors will increase the scope of their attacks thereby driving incremental demand for cybersecurity and data privacy solutions.
“The word ‘speed’ is not enough to describe the hectic pace at which things are happening in cyberspace,” he explained. “We will remember last month as a turning point in the history of modern cyber wars. The attempt to attack Israel was coordinated and organized with the aim of damaging our humanitarian water system.”
“If the attack had been successful, in the midst of the corona crisis we would have had to deal with a certain damage to the civilian population and even temporary water shortages, or a mix of chlorine or other chemicals at the wrong dosages that could have caused damage and disaster.”
“There seem to be new rules of cyber warfare – it can be cyber against cyber, or kinetic against cyber – and everything will build up to warfare aimed at harming civilians. Countries need to consider what is considered critical infrastructure and what the diamonds in the crown of the cyber realm of every country, for which they will deal with cyber defense, are, and manage the risks with the important systems that are not defined are critical, ” Unna concluded.