July 26, 2017

Is the US Ready For Cyber Warfare?

With the exponentially growing military capability of the United States, it is becoming increasingly difficult for enemies to create and maintain a physical military strike.

Cyber Warfare
Is the US Ready For Cyber Warfare?

Most of them lack those kinds of resources, stymied by money and an intimidating US Defense Department.

It helps that the US is generally aware of who its enemies are (recent military efforts excepted). In the past, even recent past, threats to US borders were whole and conspicuous nation-states, or trickier groups of rogue terrorists operating with more primitive offenses.

But the emerging threat of our time is becoming less and less bombs and bullets. The “sleeping giant” proves difficult to knock down with sticks and stones, and ever-smaller Davids are camping in nondescript apartment buildings hacking their way into the giant’s wallet, where it hurts him the most.

Last year, the Defense Department was targeted by hackers nearly 75,000 times, which led to the military forming the Joint Functional Component Command for Network Warfare, or JFCCNW, comprised of “the world’s most formidable hacker posse. Ever.”

So the government seems to be taking this very seriously. It recognizes a constant threat hitherto unfathomable. In a pre-Internet world, no country was under constant attack with bombs bursting at the gates 24/7. But this is what that amounts to, and the government, as well as businesses need to be vigilant about protection.

Where the Bull’s-eyes Are

The most crippling targets of cyber attacks can be launched from virtually anywhere–inside or outside the borders, not necessarily from nations, not necessarily government funded–but quite possibly from even just one skinny kid hunched over his computer.

Here are his targets:

· The banking system
· Power plants and grids.
· Telephone networks
· Air traffic control centers
· Mass transit systems

Does this sound crazy? Should I change my name to Tom Clancy?

Let’s take a real world example, then.

Over the past several months, Japan has been hit with a wave of information bombs and hackings believed to have originated in China. These attacks are not thought to be state-funded. They are believed to have come from Chinese protesters, angered over various recent Japanese government policies.

The list of sites that have been attacked there include the National Police Agency, the Self-Defense Forces, the Defense and Foreign Ministries, Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine, and Sony.

Authorities have called it the heaviest assault ever from overseas computers.

According to a report by Rene Millman, the United Kingdom is at risk of an “electronic 9/11,” as described by a former chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority. He claimed that since 2002, 71 Ministry of Defense computers were compromised by external sources.

Why US Business Is Especially Vulnerable

According to a report by Dartmouth‘s Institute for Security Technology Studies, “IT dependence in the US is evolving into a strategic center of gravity.” There is more and more movement to centralized computing in large computing hubs. Though you can’t take down the entire Internet, a hacker may be able take out a large portion of it.

The study also states that movement toward global free market operations offers increased risks. Because of outsourcing to China, Philippines, India, Pakistan, to name a few, there are more people in scattered places with access to commercial systems and vast amounts of information. The more these capabilities are outsourced, the more vulnerable they become to a large-scale cyber attack.

Cyber warfare seems to be the way of future world wars. They are (presumably) bloodless and lightning fast ways of taking down the entire infrastructure of an enemy country. If successfully launched, the costs in terms of dollars and time would be immense, and the source may not be readily known.

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