TV5 attacked: is cyber security bankrupt?

Black Screen

We’ve learnt last Thursday the “Cybercaliphate” of Daesh attack on TV5. Television broadcasting was stopped – on the 11 channels -, the Internet site hacked and the Twitter and Facebook accounts blocked. About 24 hours were necessary to recover control!

What did happen?

It’s obviously difficult to say as I wasn’t in their systems and the enquiry has just started.

Today, everything goes through computers, even the recording and broadcasting of television programmes. Without computers – and without electricity – nothing is possible at a visible scale.

TV5‘s top management affirmed they had several ‘strong’ firewalls. This wasn’t sufficient.
I already wrote – repeatedly – that the firewall and antivirus software do not suffice. Indeed, information protection goes far beyond the technology issue.

Last June, I published a post presenting the 8 domains of security:

  • The legal and regulatory frame: the ‘policies’
  • The human factor
  • The processes
  • The technology (all tools)
  • Organization and structures
  • Environmental factors
  • The physical site where all happens.

In the cyberspace, I have to recognize I missed one critical domain in my sketch: THE NETWORK.

Our world becomes day after day more connected. And the ‘public’ network that connects us to the rest of the world isn’t monitored enough by public authorities. When something happens, no police force intervention, no ambulance, no fire brigades, no S.W.A.T. The victim is alone to defend itself and to pay for the damages.

If technology isn’t able to effectively protect us against the cyber pirates, it’s because we’ve forgotten the other domains. They remain most of the time insufficiently developed.

  • How does a firewall help if the enemy is already inside thanks to viruses, Trojans and all the malware – these bloody cuckoo’s eggs – we innocently accept?
  • How does the antivirus help if it doesn’t stop all malware?

The cyber threat

It has become indispensable to start analyzing cyber criminals and terrorists. As in the military sector, we have to:

  • Draw an as exhaustive list as possible
  • Study their targets, their objectives, their motivation and the resource they use
  • Discover and analyse their strategies or the plan they follow to attack.

Let’s not fool ourselves. This attak on TV5 isn’t accidental. It was log prepared, planned, pampered. At the ‘D’ day and the ‘H’ hour, Daesh unleashed its dogs and we saw the results.


Control recovery is difficult. One has to identify what needs to be cleaned before doing it effectively. One has also to find all tracks of the beginings the system has recorded to analyze them and prosecute the perpetrator. That’s not easy!

The loss is gigantic in terms of

  • overall image
  • technological reputation
  • cleaning and repair
  • financial income for all advertising that weren’t broadcasted
  • etc.

Not the only ones

Many official sites had been attacked by cyber pirates (most of the time always the same) among which:

  • The White House
  • The Pentagon
  • Many newspapers and media
  • Sony, last Winter – that recognized a loss of tens of millions of dollars.

Managing the risks

I’ll never stop saying:

  •  manage your risks
  • paranoïa is useful, to a certain point
  • we may not say anymore “I’m not important, they won’t come by me”
  • all the risks should be analyzed and assessed with regards to the major losses they could cause
  • the worst case should be considered more often than you think!

Before September 11th, it was inimaginable to use a line aircraft to destroy a symbolic building. What, then, with two of them, side by side, in less than half an hour?

Before last Thursday; nobody thought it was possible to simultaneously prevent 11 television channels to be broadcasted for more than ten hours.

Before January 2015, nobody thought one could even try to enter a newspaper office and shoot dead all the redaction team.

We do not live in a Teddy bear’s world where everyone is beautiful and kind.

We have to wake up and push – if not ‘force’ – our politiciens to implement means to protect us against what happens on the Internent and the telecommunication networks.

It is well done on our roads…


What’s your reaction to the events I refer to? Share it!

See you soon, more secure with your information


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