Thursday, July 16, 2015

Jason Atchley : Software Updates: More Dangerous Than Hackers?

jason atchley

Software Updates: More Dangerous Than Hackers?

When the news hit last week that United Airlines flights were grounded, the New York Stock Exchange was down and the Wall Street Journal’s website was malfunctioning, a confused panic ensued. Was this a coordinated cyberattack or just malfunctioning tech? “No matter how hack-like the situation seemed, all three companies and law enforcement have been adamant that bad actors were not behind the failures,” says Slate’s Lily Hay Newman. “And that’s just scary.” Indeed, the story that emerged said router issues, software updates and heavy Web traffic were allegedly behind the mass failures.
“There doesn’t have to be a bad actor on the other end for something to be a cybersecurity problem,” says Newman, citing expert Dave Chronister. He says that although everyone is worried about malicious attacks, there is a greater chance that routine incidents like those that happened to UA, NYSE and WSJ will take down companies than cybercriminals.
Compounding the problem is the fact that as companies evolve in the digital age, their networks “go from complicated to almost absurdly heterogeneous,” says Newman. It’s even worse when systems need to be operational 24 hours a day, such as those at airlinesThis means there is never a time when the network can go offline and be reorganized or strengthened. “The systems we interact with all the time, whether it’s an airline ticketing interface or a stock exchange, have evolved in such a piecemeal way, and with so little reprieve, that they inevitably have problems,” says Newman.

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