May 01, 2017

Responding to the not so hypothetical cyber incident

Claudia Rast

Whereas few haven’t read, or at least been warned about, the threats posed by hackers and the malware they plant, less common are the stories told from inside the cyber incident as it unfolds. Of particular interest to the SEER lawyer is a recent Wall Street Journal article warning of hackers targeting U.S. public utilities. R. Smith, Cyberattacks Raise Alarm for U.S. Power Grid, Dec. 30, 2016, Wall St. J. (describing how hackers remotely disconnected circuit breakers until an electrical substation in Ukraine was completely disabled). This article will describe a hypothetical cyber incident with the hope of accomplishing two goals: first, illustrate what the mayhem—and it can truly be mayhem—is like when the cyber event occurs and, second, outline the series of scalable best practices that small- to medium-sized organizations can incorporate into their day-to-day operations to mitigate such an incident when one happens.

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