Israel has arguably some of the best physical and cyber intelligence and defenses in the world. And yet, in the early morning hours of October 7, Hamas managed to infiltrate its hardened defenses without warning and perpetrate an act of terrorism that has horrified the world in recent weeks.

Almost immediately, the question was raised: How did Israeli intelligence miss this? At the time of this writing, that question has yet to be answered. But what is coming out is that Hamas likely engaged in a “disinformation” campaign meant to make it seem like they were not at all planning an attack of a scale they had never before attempted. In other words, they made it seem like “business as usual” all while preparing to do something completely new and unthinkable.

In some ways this is not unlike cybersecurity bad actors, who are constantly coming up with new and creative ways to infiltrate and attack hardened defenses, often by means of deception. While the consequences of a cyberattack are nowhere as dire to life as what is happening in Israel, it can be both business and reputation crippling. It is just a different kind of battle.

In this month’s cover story, “Confronting Cybersecurity Challenges Head-OnSDM Senior Editor Rodney Bosch writes: “Manufacturers and security integrators find themselves at the forefront of this battle, tasked not only with delivering cutting-edge security solutions but also with fortifying their products against relentless cyber threats. The stakes could not be higher. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates the cost of global cybercrime will hit $8 trillion in 2023 and will grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025. This amounts to the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history, is exponentially larger than the damage inflicted from natural disasters in a year, and will be more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined, according to the publication’s 2022 Cybercrime Report.”

There has been speculation for years about wars in the future being more cyber than physical. While that might be much less personal than what we are seeing on our news feeds today, the potential for extreme harm is not necessarily lower. How long could citizens of an industrialized nation survive without power and water in the event of a massive cyberattack that cut those off, for example?

More than ever, the physical and cyber are tied together, both on a business level and on the world stage. At the security integrator level, that means increased responsibility, increased knowledge requirements, and the ability to work with multiple different vendors, departments and organizations to ensure the systems you are installing and maintaining remain cybersecure.

As Mathieu Chevalier of Genetec points out in the article: “Systems integrators should recognize that cybersecurity is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring, updates and adaptation to evolving threats. Security should evolve with the threat landscape.”

When it comes to cybersecurity, hypervigilance is just the first step in a multi-pronged effort aimed at preventing destructive incidents.

As the Israel crisis showed, there is always the possibility of brute physical attacks overwhelming high-tech defenses, making it even more critical to consider both physical and cybersecurity as a combined entity. On October 10, 2023, Politico described the Hamas attack as a “deadly 2G attack on a 5G security state.”

Our thoughts go out to all of those impacted by the Hamas attack and its aftermath.