Security pros predict “major” cyber terror attack this year

A sampling of computer security professionals at the recent Information Systems Security Association conference found that a majority of them believe there will be a "major" cyber terrorism event within the next year. The survey, conducted by the network security and hardening vendor Ixia, found that of 105 attendees surveyed, 79 percent believe that there will be some sort of large-scale attack on the information technology powering some element of the US's infrastructure—and utilities and financial institutions were the most likely targets. Fifty-nine percent of the security professionals polled believed that the US government should be responsible for protecting citizens from cyber terrorism.

The survey didn't give a definition for a major cyber attack. "We left that to the security professionals to interpret for themselves," said Larry Hart, Ixia's vice president of marketing and strategy, in an interview with Ars. "The general idea of the question was 'is something big going to happen?'"

Hart said that concerns over attacks like Stuxnet have increased awareness among security professionals that the tools used for cyber warfare by nation-states could be used by other parties. "There are all these new battlegrounds in information technology for people to take action against various governmental or paragovernmental organizations."

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