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China Is Light Years Ahead

Critical infrastructure no longer consists solely of roads and bridges; cloud systems must be taken into account.


Putin’s first move was attacking the Ukrainian communication system, which consequently triggered the failure of 5,200 German wind turbines. 

The lesson learned lies in the significance of safeguarding critical infrastructure. 

“We really need to start to get our communities together,” said Steve Spry, Spry Squared's vice president and chief technology officer. 

“It’s bad enough that we have Chinese equipment that could take down our systems,” added Timothy Brown, owner and founder at McAllister, Brown & Associates LLC. 

Climate change must also be considered as a disruptor to everyday business. 

“The global cost of cyber attacks right now is around $200 billion a year,” Brown added. “They estimate over the next five years that it’s going to be over $1.1 trillion in attacks.” 














Projections show even further increases in future years. 

Of note, infrastructure is not only defined by roads. “It means technologies; it also means community development; it also means Wi-Fi in those rural areas,” added Stacy Vaughn, managing partner and owner at D-Unity Group LLC, and moderator of the Wednesday "Emerging Technologies – Cybersecurity in Infrastructure Security" panel discussion at the Homeland Security Conference in Atlanta. 

China’s recent attack on Office 365, targeting federal and state employees, was a wake-up call for many. Many agencies and companies nationwide rely on Microsoft systems, and a breach of one could mean a breach of all. 

“A partner of yours can be compromised and therefore you can get compromised,” stated Steve Jones, founder and CEO at Signal Hill Technologies, pointing out the power of leveraging vulnerabilities. “We really need to consider these public cloud platforms as critical infrastructure,” he added. 

“China is light-years ahead of us when it comes to cyber attacks,” Spry said. “All we’re told is AI is going to help us … guess what? Adversaries are already doing it.” 







Steve Spry
China is light-years ahead of us when it comes to cyber attacks.
Steve Spry
Spry Squared Vice president and Chief Technology Officer


Speaking on the COVID-driven shortage of chipsets, Spry said that development of new technologies must be sped up. New generations stepping into the field can help in emerging technologies to overtake China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, he stated. 

Australia, where Spry also works with clients, is extremely behind on its cyber posture. Though having a cyber procedure does not guarantee complete safety, basic practices should still be in place. 

“I do like that the U.S. insurance companies have jumped on board a little bit, where they’re now pushing businesses to meet a minimum cybersecurity requirement,” Spry added, as he similarly requires clients to implement basic cybersecurity standards to encourage data safety. 

To conclude the panel discussion, Spry shared how he reminds his clients of the most basic cyber breach impacts. Referring to a construction company employing 100 people, he sent out an email that read, “New COVID policy, click here to see the latest policy!” 

The planted phishing email tricked 53% of the staff.