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CYBERCOM CG: US not ready for Cyber War

cpwill

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I'd say this is about accurate. Lots of folks think that because we have the best infrastructure, the best brains, the most money to throw at the issue, the NSA, et al, that we somehow have a natural advantage in cyber space.

That's balderdash, not least because Cyber is a conflict dominated by offense - and we have far more territory (so to speak) to defend than anyone else. We are way more vulnerable than (for example) the Chinese simply because we depend upon our information networks more than the Chinese.

The U.S. military is ill-prepared for waging cyber warfare and needs to bolster defenses against the growing threat of cyber attacks against both military systems and private infrastructure, the commander of U.S. Cyber Command told Congress on Thursday.

"Those attacks are coming and I think those are near term and we’re not ready for them,” said Army Gen. Keith Alexander, head of Cyber Command and also outgoing director of the National Security Agency....

The main concerns are cyber attacks from nation states such as China or Russia that could create massive power outages in the United States, or an attack on U.S. financial networks, such as stock exchanges and financial institutions, that could cripple the economy.

Asked about the threat posed by Chinese-origin cyber attacks, Alexander sidestepped directly mentioning Chinese cyber warfare capabilities, saying he would only discuss the issue in a closed session.

“We have a lot of infrastructure—electric, our government, our financial networks,” he said. “We have to have a defensible architecture for our country, and we’ve got to get on with that.”

Cyber Command also needs to develop methods to prevent adversaries from easily penetrating networks and stealing data, money, and other property, he said.

During a cyber attack, hackers could shut down the power in the Northeast or attack the New York Stock Exchange and damage its data, Alexander said, adding that the financial losses from such attacks could range in the trillions of dollars and potentially cost American lives....
 

American

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I disagree about the comparison of dependency. Just because a majority of the population isn't connected, doesn't mean that the infrastructure that counts isn't highly dependent upon computer networks. All the industry and primary government is just as dependent as we are.

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We just need to establish a National Institute of Geek Excellence, where geekdom is celebrated!
 

Oozlefinch

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This is actually a much more complicated issue then most could imagine.

For one, our infrastructure is at a large disadvantage when compared to most countries. This is simply because it is not unified. Our power grid, communications grid, water grid, and all others are spread among thousands of Federal, State, County, Local, and independent companies. And each does things their own way. You are just never going to get California-Edison, LA DWP and all the others to work off of the same system of security.

And each has their own systems, their own priorities, and their own hardware and software.

Myself, I believe that the best solution would be to maintain manual over-rides and systems for critical functions, so that in the event of such an attack, the automatic systems can be shut down and removed, and autonomous systems without internet connections could be activated until the threat is eliminated.

Other then that, there is not much you could do. As co said, this is all in the hands of the attackers, and there is nothing you can do to prevent an attack, simply make it harder to be a successful attack.
 
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