What Would a CyberWar Do To Your Business?

In mid-February the Bipartisan Policy Center in the United States hosted Cyber ShockWave, a simulation of how the country might respond to a catastrophic cyber event. An attack takes place, they can't isolate where it came from or who did it, simulated press reports and market impacts...and the participants in the exercise have to brief the President and advise him/her on what to do.

Last week, Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff who participated in the exercise summarized his findings in Federal Computer Weekly.

The article, given FCW's readership and the topic is obviously focused on the public sector and US Federal policies. However, it touches on some broader issues that impact the private sector as well--which are applicable to any government and country/region-- such as:

· How would the US (or any) government collaborate to identify and defeat such an attack?

Chertoff calls this out as a current gap. How do the public and private sector collaborate today? How would the massive and disparate collection of agencies and companies act together in a crunch?

· What would the impact on industries and global economies be?

Chertoff, and a companion article in Government Computer News, only touch briefly on the subject--focusing on the impact on capital markets.

"There's no question this has a disastrous impact on the economy," said Stephen Friedman, former director of the National Economic Council under President George W. Bush who played the role of treasury secretary. "You have financial markets shut down at this point, ordinary transactions are dramatically depleted, there's no question that this has a major impact on consumer confidence."

That Got Me Thinking

· How would it impact Oracle's customers?

I know they have business continuity plans--is this one of their scenarios? What if it's not? How would it impact manufacturing lines, ATM networks, customer call centers...

· How would it impact me and the companies I rely on?

The supermarket down the street, my Internet Service Provider, the service station where I bought gas last night.

I sure don't have any answers, and neither do Chertoff or the participants in the exercise.

"I have to tell you that ... we are operating in a bit of unchartered territory." said Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general who played the role of attorney general in the exercise.

But it is a good thing that governments and businesses are considering this scenario and doing what they can to prevent it from happening.

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