A Glimpse Ahead to the Dark Ages
2019-02-19 Daniela Previtali
What if a computer virus was capable of completely destroying the data on every Internet-connected device in the U.S. in a matter of minutes? Can you fathom the chaos?
Basic services like electricity, water supply, transportation, and retail goods and services would be unavailable. Communications systems – phones, TVs, radios, Internet would be rendered useless. The healthcare community would be in grave danger – hospitals and medical equipment unavailable and inadequate care for patients. As a citizen you could not access your own information, prove your identity, or the ownership of the house you live in.
Now consider the collateral damage that could occur with a cyberattack on other critical infrastructure. Such an attack could destabilize the global financial services system – ATM networks could freeze, credit card and other payment systems could fail, and online banking could be inaccessible: no cash, no payments, no reliable information about bank accounts. Ultimately, the global economy would come to a screeching halt, resulting in widespread panic, massive unemployment, unfettered crime, disease outbreaks and a government and its nation vulnerable to attack.
Fortunately, this is a fictional doomsday scenario dreamed up by bestselling author, James Patterson, with the help of former U.S. president Bill Clinton, in a novel they collaborated on in 2018. Titled The President is Missing, the book weaves a gut wrenching tale of a planned cyberattack on the U.S. unleashed by a malicious computer “wiper virus“ with the code name “Dark Ages.” The fictional virus is similar to a type of ransomware but different in that the objective of the terrorist attack is not monetary gain, but rather to inflict geo-political anarchy.
There are many twists and turns in the plot of the book, but what stood out was that the doomsday scenario created by the virus and the subsequent potential consequences were perhaps a bit too close to today’s reality. And, given the increase in the number of global cyberattacks in the past few years, perhaps it is easier to believe that it could possibly happen rather than not.
The heightened awareness to the dangers of cyberattacks has led to an intense resolve by governments, industry organizations, and security technology companies like Wibu-Systems to understand the nature of these threats and develop cooperative technology-driven solutions to protect against them.
At the Embedded World 2019 exhibition in Nuremburg, Germany, industrial and IoT cybersecurity was an important topic on the agenda and an event where many of the latest security technologies were on display. For our part, we demonstrated advanced protection mechanisms for the software, connected devices and machinery that represent the building blocks of Industrie 4.0. We also showcased novel security solutions in collaboration with a number of our partner companies, like Trusted Computing Group, SD Association, Intel, Wind River, and a host of others.
Visit our Embedded World event page and learn more about these and other novel technology solutions geared toward protecting industry, government, and the public from the threat of cyberattacks.
Wibu-Systems Global Marketing Director – IIC Marketing WG Co-Chair
Daniela is a marketing veteran who has dedicated more than twenty years of her career to the service of world-leading IT security vendors. Throughout her journey in this field, she has covered executive positions in international sales, product marketing, and product management and acquired comprehensive knowledge of both digital rights management solutions and authentication technologies. Working from the German headquarters of Wibu-Systems, she is currently leading both corporate and channel marketing activities, innovating penetration strategies, and infusing her multinational team with a holistic mindset.