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Monday, October 22, 2012

US Military to Launch Cyber Strikes

The military of the United States is allowed to act preemptively in the event of detection of an imminent threat of hacker attack. Meanwhile, a presidential executive order is “while we wait for Congress to act”.

US Defense Secretary has issued a warning that some unnamed actors were trying to target computer control systems responsible for chemical, electricity and water plants in the country, as well as those operating transportation. It is not clear why China is training actors to hack American infrastructure – maybe the country wants to use the Academy Awards to cover for the attack.

The Defense Secretary claimed that he knew of certain instances where hackers have successfully gained access to the control systems, developing advanced instruments in order to attack the above mentioned systems and cause panic and destruction, and sometimes even the loss of life. Right now, the hackers can go as far as to derail passenger trains, shut down the power grid or even contaminate the water supply throughout the country.

It turned out that in the private sector almost no companies have invested in basic cyber security. The country had to make large investments in cyber forensics in order to identify where the attacks originate, and now it is seeing returns on them.

According to the Defense Secretary, the mission of the Department of Defense is to protect the country, so it should be ready to respond to the intrusions. However, this pre-emptive action can only happen under certain, dire scenarios.

In case the American military finds out an imminent threat of attack, which may cause considerable physical destruction in the country or kill the US citizens, they will need an option to respond with action against people who would attack them.

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