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Cyber-Warfare- The Next Pearl Harbor

Written by on Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

The threat of a cyber-warfare is very real says Army General Keith Alexander, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command and he sees a day in the very near future where attacks lead to disruption of information, theft of national secrets and permanent damage to U.S. industries. This destruction and criminal activity is occurring in the digital world where ones and zeros can be manipulated to allow an adversary access to critical information and the disruption of infrastructure, to include power stations, transportation systems, and even the U.S. military.

We can all remember the movie “War Games” starring Mathew Broderick as a young computer hacker who inadvertently almost starts World War III, but the hackers today are much more savvy and astute at their task of not just gaining access to secure networks for the enjoyment and bragging rights, today’s hackers are much more malicious. During the past year alone, there have been over 200 attacks on core critical infrastructures in the transportation, energy and communication industries according to Department of Homeland Security ranking member, Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, stating that the attacks were, “only the tip of the iceberg.” Also adding, “The alarm has already been sounded, and we know it is only a matter of when, not whether we have a catastrophic buy generic cialis 10 mg attack.”

Some have compared the threat of cyber-warfare to be greater than the effects experienced on 9/11. With adversaries committed to doing harm to the United States and very challenging means of identifying culprits or prosecuting would-be terrorists, the task to stop the attacks become incredibly daunting. Over one third of the cyber-attacks on American interests originate from China and with a military that is committed to growing its organic cyber-attack capabilities daily, the threat is very real.

Gone are the days of “computer nerds” hacking into secure networks for amusement and the challenge of irritating the establishment, only to be replaced by a real-threat that is committed to harming the U.S. Terrorist groups and enemies of the U.S. are actively engaged in stealing secrets and damaging our way of life with nothing more than a keyboard. The threat is here to stay and although efforts are underway to combat the attacks, the U.S. has a long way to go. As Mike Papay, vice president of Cyber Initiatives at Northrop Grumman Information Systems stated, “In all the years that I have been working on homeland security issues, I can’t think of another area where the threat is greater, and we have done less.”

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