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April 28, 2015

RSA attendees doubt US Sanctions will stop nation-state cyber attacks

Security professionals also expressed concern over being caught in the cross-fire between attacks & sanctions.

By Ellie Burns

Attendees to the RSA Conference USA 2015 and BSidesSF 2015 have voiced concerns about how effective US economic sanctions will be in stopping nation-state sponsored cyber attacks.

At the beginning of this month, on April 1, President Obama signed an executive order authorising the government to impose sanctions on malicious actors viewed as cyber threats to the United States. The order also declared cyber threats a national emergency.

The primary objective of the order is to place sanctions on criminal hackers targeting American infrastructure and businesses from outside the US.

The order gives authority to freeze assets and more power to block potential threats from the US. The order not only covers the harming of US infrastructure but also covers the stealing of intellectual property from American companies, as well as committing fraud against citizens, all of which hurt the US economy.

Yet, 73% of the 227 conference attendees surveyed answered in the negative when asked if such sanctions would be effective in stopping such attacks.

A similar number, 75%, were concerned that their organisation could be caught in the cross fire between nation-state cyberattacks and possible sanctions.

Tim Erlin, director of IT risk and security strategy for Tripwire, remarked: "It’s clear that information security professionals believe there’s real risk to their own organizations from the escalating political tension around cyber warfare."

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He added: "Whether these concerns become reality will depend on how the President decides to use the capabilities outlined in his Executive Order."



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