What is a Cyber Kinetic Attack?

    Before going directly to the meaning of a Cyber Kinetic Attack, let us first understand how the world around us is working these days.

    We all have to agree that our physical world is becoming more connected these days- all to make our busy lives a bit easy. But at the same time, we have to agree that this is also giving rise to the trend of becoming more dependent on the cyber world.

    For instance, many physical objects like television, mobile phones, cars, refrigerators and such are being connected to the web these days in order to give us the privilege of remotely monitoring and controlling them.

    Means, we are living in the world of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSes) such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Control Systems(ICS).

    Although CPSes enhances the lives of our humankind, it also brings in a new trouble in the form of Cyber Kinetic Attacks.

    Cyber Kinetic Attack real meaning

    A Cyber Kinetic Attack is nothing but a direct or indirect assault causing damage, injury or death solely through the exploitation of vulnerable information systems and processes.

    Technically such attacks have already occurred in practical with physical damage inflicted on nuclear power plants, water facilities, oil pipelines, factories, hospitals, transit systems and apartment structures.

    And since CPSes help people in providing essential needs, cyber crooks are seen often targeting them with the help of malware or backdoors.

    In general, connecting physical systems like water management facilities and power utilities provide a great benefit to the admin as it offers them the technicality to monitor the systems remotely.

    However, it also brings in new troubles such as attracting the attention of hackers. As admins usually configure these CPSes too obscurely without the knowledge that they can attract the attention of the bad guys within no time.

    Hence, despite evidence that Cyber Kinetic Attacks are rising, those who are driving the adoption of increased cyber-connectedness overlook security, trusting that system flaws will never be exploited.

    And the best example to prove the point is the Stuxnet worm which destroyed uranium enrichment centrifuges in an Iranian Nuclear Power Plant causing trouble to the well-being of 2500 homes located in a radius of 9Kms from the facility.

    So, it is imperative that the security community starts taking such Kinetic Cyber Threats on a serious note and begins addressing the vulnerabilities associated with the cyber-physical systems sooner before it is too late. 

    Naveen Goud
    Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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