The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently released a report that outlines several scenarios in which attacks against vital elements of the U.S.'s IT infrastructure could cause massive disruptions. The report, "IT Sector Baseline Risk Assessment," looked at the risk to six critical areas in the IT sector: the IT supply chain, domain-name resolution services, identity management and trust support services, Internet-based content and communications services, Internet service and routing providers, and incident response service providers.
Among the risks to the IT supply chain, for example, is a scenario in which an organized crime group installs a keystroke logger in the software distribution image of a laptop manufacturer in order to steal online banking passwords. The report noted that such a scenario could cause major problems because it would create significant disruptions to businesses and would erode consumer confidence. In addition, attacks on the IT supply chain could limit the flow of the materials needed for manufacturing hardware, the report noted. However, the report also said the likelihood of a malicious component entering the distribution chain is low because many companies use a variety of strategies to protect themselves.
The report's release comes amid a growing number of cyberattacks on government and commercial entities by individuals in the U.S. and overseas. These attacks have prompted calls for the development of a comprehensive strategy for defending U.S. interests on the Internet, as well as a cyberoffensive capability that would help deter and defend against cyberattacks.
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