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[ISN] Could you continue to operate under cyberattack?
By William Jackson
Feb 24, 2012
I try to be cautious with my use of the term âcyber war.â It is used
much too often to describe any type of unpleasant online activity, and
its misuse confuses our thinking about the very real threats of military
engagement in cyberspace. But there is at least one area in which the
military model of operation can be a useful model in cybersecurity.
In an IT environment where compromise is becoming inevitable, the
concept of mitigating damage while operating in a degraded environment
is becoming increasingly applicable.
An army does its best to protect itself from attack, but military
leaders understand that when battle comes they will suffer losses and
will be fighting under less-than-optimal conditions, often in situations
not of their choosing. An army that cannot continue to operate under
those conditions will likely lose the battle.
IT security traditionally has focused on defense, originally copying the
military concept of a secure perimeter and defense in depth with
multiple lines of protection. This concept has become less practical
with the blurring or elimination of a recognizable perimeter in the
enterprise. Attention has shifted to the security of individual
components or functions of the enterprise, such as data, communications
and access. But the stance still is defensive, and response is almost an
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