U.S. Government Still Stumbling Through Changing Cyber Matters
October 19, 2011 8:29 AM
In addition to beefing up US government cyber defenses, there is continued talk to try and determine the legality (and feasibility) of cyber attacks on foreign sources
United States Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler, head of the new U.S. cyber command, admitted the legality of government-sanctioned cyber attacks remains an extremely complicated manner that must be appropriately addressed.
If needed, the Department of Defense wants a method in which it can attack credible targets, when needed, while still protecting its 15,000+ computer networks. Government officials previously were weary of trying to militarize its cyber efforts, but wanted the ability to accurately determine if a cyber offensive would be needed. "Is active defense really offense in cyberspace?" Kehler pondered in a statement to the media.
"I would argue that it really is not. It does not have to be, for sure. But those are the issues that we are trying to work our way through."
Cyber security experts agree with Kehler's standpoint, warning that it'd be hard to attack rogue groups often times operating without approval from foreign governments.
However, a solid cyber defense that is able to adjust to changing threats would be ideal to help better protect from hackers and cyber criminals. Continued cyber attacks from foreign sources have created a significant level of urgency among US lawmakers, anxious to protect a still delicate US infrastructure that has been compromised in the past.
The topic of cyber security has become a hot-button political issue, with numerous lawmakers and branches of the US government now paying attention. Also showing a drastic change in cyber discussion, Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va) issued a statement saying the Securities and Exchange Commission's effort for companies to discuss cyber security threats with their shareholders "fundamentally changes" how things are done today.
If the threat of foreign attacks wasn't enough, organized hacker groups continue to plague governments and corporations already cautious of attack. Along with foreign threats from China, Eastern Europe, and organized, government-sanctioned hacker groups throughout the world, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is worried about the Anonymous hacker group attacking industrial control systems helping power the U.S. infrastructure.
Earlier in the year, AntiSec
exposed Social Security numbers
and passwords of U.S. military personnel, with additional attacks promised in the future.
The US government is finally embracing a digital approach to its defenses -- and possible offensive cyber ability -- but foreign criminals seem to always have the upper hand.
"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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