Over the past year, the pandemic is far from the only thing that world governments have had to learn how to handle. From inflation to Afghanistan, from supply chains to China, the world is rapidly changing as leaders and the people who support them struggle to keep up. Another one of the main realms of public life on a global scale in dire need of advancement is cybersecurity.
In the past year in the United States alone, major infrastructures like Solarwinds, JBL, and Colonial Pipeline have all been hacked, resulting in problems like supply chain fallouts and the loss of government secrets to foreign adversaries. As more of the world taps into the internet of things together, the need for cyber security advancement has never been greater than now and is not stopping anytime soon.
In a good sign of hope here, news today from the US Sun revealed that Microsoft has successfully stopped what has been said to be the largest cyberattack in history. The attack did not target any companies on US soil, but rather was targeted to an unnamed customer in Europe that Microsoft serves.
The attack was hosted by tens of thousands of computers, most of which were said to be located across China and Asia. Other sources for the attack came from computers in Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and even some computers located here in the United States. This attack attempted to flood the network with around 2.4 terabytes of data every second, which is used to overload a network with additional traffic and knock the network offline.
Instead, Microsoft was able to redirect this additional traffic away from their customer’s network and back into the networks of the computers which were attempting the attack. While it is a positive sign that Microsoft was capable of doing this, the size of the attack itself shows that the capability of hackers around the world is always increasing. A similar event that occurred last year only was able to produce around 1 terabyte of additional data per second, showing that in less than a year’s time the potential force from a hacker here has doubled.
Microsoft says that it has seen a 25% increase in the number of cyberattacks since the last quarter of 2020. With this rise in attempts to disrupt critical data flow on the internet, leaders in technology and government should know that the internet is a critical infrastructure and a massive part of what national security in modern times actually is.
With that, we need to be continually investing in our own cybersecurity and the cybersecurity of our allies to further protect the data that we accumulate and the networks that allow that information to flow.