After so much talk about the media the last few years, have you thought about what would happen if it weren’t available? While there are definitely people who would think that would be heaven, the recent cyber attack on the Australian news channel is a glimpse into what it means.
In this case, the news channel was unable to broadcast any live programming Sunday morning from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. that evening. The cyber attack originated in Russia and is believed to have been an attempt to stop the broadcast of an exposé about Russian President Vladimir Putin and assassinations against his enemies with chemical agents.
This could have been the reason. Or maybe it was a trial run for something bigger. Regardless, it is revealing to other cyber criminals of the impact of an attack on a news source.
The loss of communication is a powerful ancillary to another attack – whether cyber or kinetic (blowing things up).
We have seen what happens when too much information is available via social media. But what happens when there is little to no information available especially during another attack? Imagine if no media coverage was available during 9/11. Imagine an attack on a city or county water supply coupled with a cyber attack on the local media, and there was no way to alert the community not to drink the water. What if a nuclear missile was headed toward your town and you had no way of knowing to take shelter because the local news channel was under a ransomware attack?
The simple solution would be to ensure there are redundant systems in place. For example, ensure the newsroom could be operated manually if the automated systems were brought down by cyber attack as the Australian news station was.
This is similarly a good lesson for all of us. Redundancy is a good practice for all critical functions that we have ceded to technology. But it does not alleviate the need to continue to practice good cyber security.