Cyberattack Reminds Us About America’s Achilles’ Heel

Several of America’s best-known newspapers suffered printing and distribution delays over the weekend as the result of a cyberattack. Staff at the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union–Tribune noted that the attack came from outside the United States, but stopped short of accusing a foreign government. The attack targeted the networks of Tribune Publishing, which prints the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union–Tribune, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Baltimore Sun. The Saturday distribution of all five papers was affected before the Tribune removed the malicious computer programs from its networks.

“Computer malware attacks on infrastructure, while relatively rare, are hardly new,” reported the New York Times. “Russia has been credibly accused of shutting down power grids in Ukraine and a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia, Iran crippled a casino in Las Vegas, and the United States and Israel attacked a nuclear enrichment plant in Iran. But this would be the first known attack on major newspaper printing operations, and if politically motivated, it would define new territory in recent attacks on the media.”

Since computer malware attacks are frequently the work of criminal networks, a foreign government may not have supported the cyberattack on Tribune Publishing. But this attack still illustrates how vulnerable America is to cyberattack. In March, representatives from the federal government, security firms and private investors met in Austin, Texas, and issued a warning that Americans are in for a rough future if they do not get more serious about cybersecurity. Computer software has made it easy for small countries and private hackers to carry out dangerous attacks. ..Read More..

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