Space Invaders in 2015: Blasting Cyber Threats Instead of Aliens

July 23, 2015

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Staying on top of security threats in the digital data age seems like a never-ending simulation of Space Invaders.

If you recall, way back in the early days of Atari, Space Invaders was a shooter arcade game in which the object was to eliminate as many aliens as possible with a single laser cannon.

The wave of aliens would keep coming, with no end in sight. If you weren’t able to kill the aliens in time, they would eventually take over.

Now, in contrast to Space Invaders, IT security professionals are armed with more than just one cannon. And it’s not exactly one spaceship against 60-to-70 threats. The fight is a little more even than that, featuring a fleet of ships that traded blows with a cyber-threat invasion.

However, the number of cyber threats that exist today dwarfs the defenses security teams can throw out there. These threats keep multiplying and advancing, becoming harder to detect, and more sophisticated by the day.

Unlike the aliens in Space Invaders, these cyber-attacks aren’t just coming from the front. They are coming from the side, from the back, and even through a wide open gate.

Case in point, according to, the weakest link in any defense is “a single digital path into an organization willingly opened.” That path can be opened by any staff member, either accidently or purposefully. The invasion can come from within. A simple email, a simple password blunder, a simple oversight on a security authentication, and personal data can be lost in an instant.

If the defenses are taken down by the gatekeepers themselves, how can organizations truly stand a chance?

According to a survey conducted by the SANS Financial Security Institute, only 16% of IT professionals “felt very prepared to fend off intrusions aimed at financial accounts.”

On a national scale, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has put cyber warfare at or near the top of their priority list, but their effort hasn’t been good enough according to a column in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Just this month, the Obama administration revealed that China had hacked into 32 million federal employees’ personal information. This revelation has caused WSJ to take the administration to task in a recent article.

At this point, if we were keeping score in Space Invaders, the aliens would be winning.

But as cyber war is so aptly dubbed, this is a constant battle that won’t end any time soon – if it ends at all.

There is enough time for the good guys to strike back.


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