BALTIMORE SYNDROME

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BALTIMORE SYNDROME

Baltimore is in the midst of a digital tragedy still unfolding, having struck on the 7th of May 2019, making its presence felt in the physical space; water, parking payments, property transactions et al and the quality of life or a new mode of harassment for the people living in the hyper connected world. This is what is called Cyber-Physical and would keep on increasing as days pass by. Though till now we have not realised the backend of the click of the mouse or the touch of the touchscreen, it is high time a huge amount of technical skills, application of mind, focus, money and effort has to be invested to make our critical infrastructure and utilities safe.

Baltimore Syndrome is a feeling that despite reasonable efforts and investment one can land in a digital functional operational vacuum. You go to office and there is no work, the systems are brought down after a ransomware attack. The citizens keep waiting for some via media services and have to take rounds and rounds of offices. The end is not in sight and so it the road to it. It is primarily fear psychosis. The authorities don’t know as to what they put in place might not face another attack.

That security cannot be full proof is fine but the complete system being hostage is also not acceptable. This means no security. That even with best of the efforts, high end digital security cannot be maintained, is totally unacceptable. There are systems which are highly secure, robust and resilient. Security is directly proportional to its understanding and the all out efforts made to secure it. It is an all out war in peace. All major attacks are preceded by reconnaissance and the hackers hit the bull.

Can the whole world of Cyber Security not provide an answer. The local governments have been targeted at will. If governance with all its depth of knowledge, expertise and support systems cannot either provide prevention or detection or resilience of bringing back at least the skeletal services up and running, then the future of digital governance seems to be bleak.

GROPING IN CYBER SECURITY WILDERNESS CANNOT BE A FULL TIME WORK OF GOVTS AND IT SECURITY ENTERPRISES.

Sanjay Sahay

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