Cybersecurity and The Art of War
October 6, 2017 by Bill Rosenthal

A 5th century ancient Chinese military text, The Art of War by Sun Tzu has been considered an inspiration for military leaders and a definitive work on military strategy. Its advice on how to outsmart opponents is not only still applicable centuries after its original publishing, but can also be applied to many different competitive fields.

Despite being written so long ago, Tzu’s thoughts on warfare can be applied to the new battlefield in today’s world: cyberspace. These classic defense strategies are especially relevant for modern cybersecurity and IT infrastructure. Tzu’s ideas are not only pertinent to defense, but also help the modern IT defender understand how their adversaries may attack.

  • “Know the enemy and know yourself” – One of the most quoted lines from Tzu’s work, this applies to many situations in life. In regards to cybersecurity, this means that you must understand how a hacker would most likely operate, what their overall motivations are, and figure out their end-goal. After deciding what is most likely to be targeted, then you can focus on protection. Being properly prepared also means clearly understanding you own businesses and data. Where is your information stored? Are all security systems properly updated and maintained? Are all of your staff members trained?
  • “All warfare is based on deception” – Many of the most-used methods by cyber attackers are based on deception. From social engineering to phishing and whaling, hackers often try to trick employees with malicious links or attachments. These attacks are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated, with some hackers now posing as CEOs or senior staff members. The best way to combat these attacks is offer the most up-to-date training to your employees.
  • “Just as water retains no constant shape, in warfare there are no constant conditions” – Organizations and companies must be as agile as their attackers are. Employees may be one of the weakest parts of your defense, but they are not the only route into your organization. Hackers will have done the research on all of the weaknesses of your organization, therefore you must consider all vulnerabilities that you may have. As companies continue to figure out the hackers’ methods, they will also continue to develop new methods. There are no constants in warfare of any kind, so you must be evolving and adapting to defeat your enemy.

Suffering a data breach could be devastating for your business. Are you ready to take the advice of Sun Tzu and prepare for war? At Logical Operations, we help prepare the first line of cybersecurity defense: employees. Our training solutions are designed to build real-world knowledge and skills to help prepare employees for the virtual battleground. Contact us today to learn more about our training options.