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Experts Call For Preserving Copper, Pneumatic Systems As Hedge For Cyber Risk

chicksdaddy quotes a report from The Security Ledger: The United States should invest resources in preserving aging, analog infrastructure including telecommunications networks that use copper wire and pneumatic pumps used to pump water as a hedge against the growing threat of global disruption resulting from a cyber attack on critical infrastructure, two researchers at MITRE argue. The researchers, Emily Frye and Quentin Hodgson with The MITRE Corporation, note that critical infrastructure is increasingly run from converged IP (Internet Protocol) based networks that are vulnerable to cyber attack. That includes so-called “lifelines” — essential functions like water, electricity, communications, transportation and emergency services. That marks a critical departure from the past when such systems were isolated from the internet and other general purpose networks. “Each lifeline rides on, and is threaded together by, digital systems. And humans have yet to design a digital system that cannot be compromised,” they write. With such civilization-sustaining functions now susceptible to attack, the onus is on society to maintain a means of operating them that does not rely on digital controls, Fry and Hodgson write. In many cases, that means preserving an older generation of analog infrastructure and management systems that could be manually operated, The Security Ledger reports. From their article: “In the case of communications, for instance, what is required is the preservation of a base core of copper-enabled connectivity, and the perpetuation of skills and equipment parts to make analog telephones work. Today, we see a move to decommission the copper-wire infrastructure. From a pure business standpoint, decommissioning copper is the right thing to do; but from a public-safety and homeland security perspective, we should reconsider. Decommissioning copper increases homeland security risk, because failover planning calls simply for relying on another server, router, or data center that is also subject to compromise.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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