The Italian Job - the first ‘perfect storm’ cyber attack

Michael Cain’s team of bank robbers were arguably the first cyber attackers as they compromised the Italian traffic control system allowing them safe passage through the city of Rome in the iconic film, The Italian Job. Today, the threat is not only to bank detail loss or credit card detail theft but to a countries entire infrastructure in order to bring down or influence a particular political regime. Hence, governments are taking the ‘perfect storm’ scenario deadly seriously.

Says Colin Tankard, Managing Director, Digital Pathways, “ Such scenarios usually highlight known vulnerabilities in systems which have not been ‘patched’ or simply bad operating practices. Operating systems and applications are updated so frequently that often organisations cannot test the update quickly enough before the next update is released. They therefore fall behind and open themselves for exploit.

“Another problem is the growing trend towards outsourcing which leads to the opening of networks or the lowering of internal controls for access to data or systems which makes the task of introducing a hole in a system which can be used by an external party to launch an attack.

“Whilst we recognise that there will always be a high level of threat to any system the way to limit the damage is by understanding the threat, identifying exactly where the vulnerabilites are and categorising them by significance. “From this position, organisations can put in place solutions to address the issues and instigate a mechanism of audit which brings together all vulnerabilites and directs the initiative for securing the weakness either by updating the system or applying a security solution directly to the application.

“ In my opinion where we are today is in a situation where many organisations have addressed their security issues individually, as the need arises, and not holistically as a whole. This is where a ‘perfect storm’ could become a reality. What is vital is that security solutions are not piecemeal but properly instigated strategies that are able to grow with the ever-changing technology landscape and requirements of organisations.”

Source: Digital Pathways