Army breach shows how easy hackers can unlock our national data

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Just last night, the army’s social media accounts were hacked, exposing just how easily hackers can potentially unlock the keys to critically important national data. With nation-backed hackers constantly testing our network boundaries, if governments are unprepared, a small hack could lead to an unprecedented attack on national infrastructure.

Nation state attacks are happening constantly. Foreign powers such as Russia, China and North Korea are always testing the boundaries of our networks, just as we are testing theirs.

Attacks can materialise in a number of ways. It could be ever so slightly changing the level of chemicals at water supply plants, or sabotaging electrical grids to turn off the heating. As a member of the public, we don’t see behind the scenes, and would only witness the aftermath of attacks. Unavailability of services like banks, and mass panic at supermarkets and petrol pumps. These kinds of attacks can foment political chaos in a matter of days. Interestingly enough, attacks don’t even have to be fully successful to cause damage. All hackers need to do is initiate an attack and get the word out.

Anecdotal evidence suggests the war in Russia is increasing the likelihood of attacks on western shores. Therefore, preparedness is crucial – but so is wider education. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking these attacks are happening all the time – we would know if it was a bad one, right? Maybe not. There are signs everyone should be looking out for that could be a sign of an attack; unusual changes in your company’s network speed, higher than normal traffic, or a device with lower credentials trying to access a high ranking device or document.

Failing to prepare for such an attack means responding in panic mode, which rarely – if ever – ends well.