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Should our nation spend more money to safeguard us against nations like China that are reportedly grooming legions of military hackers and striking out at the U.S. and other nations? A new report argues the opposite, saying cyberdefense is confusing and should not be a spending priority. It advocates focusing existing resources on military networks.  (Source: Fox News)
A new study recommends a cautious approach when defending the nation against cyberterrorism

Be ready for both defense and offense.  Cover all routes of attack.  Practice careful surveillance.  All of these would seemingly be logical paradigms for our nation's cybersecurity efforts.  However, a new report takes a different bent and says that the nation shouldn't make cybersecurity its top priority and instead should focus on reallocating limited resources to defence of critical infrastructure.

The new report from the RAND Corporation says that electric power, telephone service, banking, and military command and control in the U.S. are all accessible and able to be attacked from the internet.  That makes them open to attack, according to the report.  RAND's press release describes, "Working against connected but weakly protected computer systems, hackers can steal information, make the systems malfunction by sending them false commands and corrupt the systems with bogus information."

Martin C. Libicki, the report's lead author and senior management scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization, adds, "Adversaries in future wars are likely to go after each other's information systems using computer hacking.  The lessons from traditional warfare cannot be adapted to apply to attacks on computer networks. Cyberspace must be addressed in its own terms."

The report says that estimates of current cyberwarfare damage to our nation aren't consistent and cite anything from several billion yearly to hundreds of billions.

According to the report, military networks should be top priority when it comes to defense, as attacks on military networks are potentially the most potent.  They describe a hypothetical scenario in which an enemy could silence missile defenses of a nation and then pound its critical targets with rockets.

The report says that offensive cyberwarfare is largely useless as it tends to bother, but not generally disarm adversaries.  Further, Libicki warns that cyberattacks are amorphous and determining the identity of attackers is largely guesswork.  Attempts at counterattacks are thus largely futile, according to the report.  States Libicki, "This is not an enterprise where means and ends can be calibrated to one another.  As a result, it is ill-suited for strategic warfare."

Rather than try to target nations or launch counterattacks, the study suggests a focus on diplomatic, economic and prosecutorial efforts against cyber attackers.  However, the report suggest that such efforts not be made a priority in the nation's spending.  Reads the release, "Libicki does not recommend the United States make strategic cyber warfare a priority investment."

Other recent reports have taken a different bent, advocating more funding.  They have argued that the U.S. is woefully unprepared for cyberattack.  They also point to nations like China that are grooming legions of computer-savvy troops to launch cyberstrikes.

The RAND study was federally financed, with the goal of offering independent policy alternatives for the U.S. Air Force.

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RE: Report was printed in China
By TOAOCyrus on 10/9/2009 5:04:46 PM , Rating: 3
A large front ground war against china would be suicide but a defensive war where china has to make an amphibious attack greatly reduces their numerical advantage. To safely transport a large force would require complete air and sea dominance. Right now there is no way the Chinese could achieve this but according to this article they might by 2020.

RE: Report was printed in China
By TOAOCyrus on 10/9/2009 5:05:32 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Report was printed in China
By wetwareinterface on 10/9/2009 10:45:17 PM , Rating: 2
amphibious attack?
China has the worlds largest air force with the highest percentage of large planes in it. that translates to roughly half their military being able to parajump into Taiwan which is only 60 miles offshore. you assume the U.S. would be willing to defend Taiwan and further that we'd already have the military presence inside Taiwan to do so. it would literally take all of our combined service's available ground force potential to repel an attack on Taiwan and that's assuming they'd already be in Taiwan. the sad reality is that China would mobilize their military and invade Taiwan and we'd only be able to muster our ready response units in the same timeframe. the problem with this is 75% of our ready response units are already engaged in Iran and Afgansitan. so we'd be able to muster up and have on the way approximately 25,000 troops total in the timeframe China would have to muster and drop 500,000. they'd beat us to Taiwan due to proximity and ability to deploy paratroopers. launch the invasion first, worry about bullets at time of drop and send in beans and bandaids second to troop drop roughly 2 hours later. we couldn't even get there in 4 hours, by that time Taiwan is already Chineese.

RE: Report was printed in China
By MrPoletski on 10/11/2009 8:20:03 PM , Rating: 2
dont forget that the chinese military is not as old and out of date as a lot of poeple think:

Chinese submarine just pops up in the middle of a US carrier group on military exercises. That sub could have sunk the carrier easy and probably a number of its other ships with that level of suprise.

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