Cyber Attack: United Airlines, WSJ, NYSE … Oh My!!
While United Airlines grounded their entire fleet and the Wall Street Journal was off-line and the New York Stock Exchange could not conduct trading yesterday for an extended period of time, they all have stated that they were not under a cyber attack.
We do not believe in coincidences!
Apparently we are not alone with this cyber attack sentiment. The Phoenix Business Journal conducted an engaging cyber attack conversation with us about it.
Computer network problems and outages brought the New York Stock Exchange to a halt, temporarily grounded United Airlines flights and took down The Wall Street Journal’s website Wednesday.
While none of the affected businesses blamed the problems on cyber attack by Russian, North Korean, Chinese or ISIS hackers, their troubles show the vulnerability and potential minefields for U.S. computer and communications networks.
Businesses, large and small, as well as consumers are dependent on communications systems and computer networks in their day-to-day lives.
If technical glitches can halt NYSE trading on Wall Street and force United to ground and delay flights, think of what they can do to Main Street businesses, startups and personal lives.
United Airlines’ troubles adversely impacted a couple dozen flights at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport today, according to FlightAware.com. Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles had major delays.
A cyber security expert suspects today’s problems may stem from malware contracted from a third-party vendor rather than from nefarious hackers invading U.S. business systems from a dark room in Moscow, Pyongyang or Shanghai. “If you look at all the cyber attacks in the last 12 months, 100 percent of their breaches happened due to human interaction on third party networks,” said Michael Peters, CEO of Lazarus Alliance, a cyber security company:. “Employees of a third party company will download malware and forward it to a company, allowing cyber attacks.”
United officials blamed router problems on their network problems. “An attack can certainly happen through a router,” said Peters. “A router isn’t any different from network devices, they follow all the same rules. So a cyber attack can happen when a router is hacked and traffic is rerouted.”
Peters explained that routers are like highways, controlling network traffic. When cyber attacks happen, hackers can “reroute” traffic and effectively send data to other locations where it can be forwarded to another location.
Peters said most companies who are hacked, even large organizations, don’t have proactive measures in place, leaving them vulnerable.