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Is the ­U.S. Ready For Government-Sponsored Cyberattacks?

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A recently published report from the National Research Council (NRC) contends that there has to be more public disclosure and informed debate about cyberarms and cyberwarfare. The report draws a comparison between the unchecked proliferation of cyberweapons and the spread of nuclear arms following World War II. The study sees a growing likelihood for a cyberarms race and cites the undisciplined use of cyberweapons being developed by the United States and other countries.

Also of concern to the NRC is the absence of formal or comprehensive policies for cyberattacks in the national, political, and military arenas. "Programs to develop cyberattack capabilities are classified and dispersed throughout many program elements within the Department of Defense with the result the overall capabilities are not known even among those with the necessary clearances," the report says. "Effective Congressional oversight that goes beyond a few individuals on the relevant committees is also inhibited."

The U.S. Strategic Command Joint Combat and Command of Network Warfare is the military's operations point for offensive cyberattack capabilities, but the NRC study indicates that the U.S. Air Force functions as "the main advocate" and wants to obtain a Cyber Control System that can perform automated network disruptions.

The report suggests that the United States should be ready to discuss the topic of cyberweaponry in various venues and prepare policy. One of the toughest problems for military institutions that monitor the U.S. computer infrastructure for signs of attack is attribution, or pinpointing the originating source of a cyberattack.

From Network World
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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