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Cyber Attacks Test Pentagon, Allies and Foes

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Adversarial nations worldwide have adopted cyberespionage and cyberattacks as staples of modern warfare, and U.S. defense officials estimate that more than 100 countries are currently attempting to penetrate U.S. networks, with the greatest concentration of attacks based in China and Russia. Although the Pentagon's Cyber Command is slated to be fully operational in October, cybersecurity experts warn that much of the rest of the U.S. government has fallen behind as it argues over the duties of different agencies. One source reports that NATO's systems are behind those of the United States in terms of cyberdefense, noting that NATO delayed installing many of the basic network security patches because it had decided some of its computers were too critical to ever deactivate.

Meanwhile, many nations have developed cyberoffensive capabilities that can repeatedly breach and lay waste to computer networks, according to cybersecurity specialists.

The expansion of the threat of cyberattacks is spurring calls for an international accord to limit them. The International Institute of Strategic Studies' Nigel Inkster says that such a pact needs to establish thresholds beyond which a cyberattack would be designated an act of aggression.

From The Wall Street Journal
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Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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