In August of 2012, a group called "Cutting Sword of Justice" claimed responsibility for an attack using the Shamoon virus on 30,000 work stations at the Saudi oil giant, Aramco. The virus corrupted files and left machines unusable, shutting down the company's administration for a week. For CIOs, Shamoon and other recent attacks provide vivid glimpses of a potential future for information security.
The knowledge required to create and use such malware is all but certain to spread and grow, providing criminals, industrial spies and rogue states with more powerful weapons. Potential targets will multiply as computers assume greater control over ever more operations in our society, from traffic management to intelligent buildings to robotic surgery. If IT security looks like a daunting job today, one abounding in risks and complications, we have two words: Just wait.