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The Cyber Arms Race Has Begun

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Credit: CBS News

U.S. and British officials are working separately to determine how to protect the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), though their initial obstacle is figuring out exactly what constitutes the CNI, who should be protecting it, and under what authority. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is in theory responsible, but does not possess the capacity to deal with a major cyberattack.

The  genius of the web — its interconnectedness — means that securing cyberspace has an impact well beyond the stated goals of protecting against cybercrime, cyberindustrial espionage and cyberwar.

The U.S. CyberCommand is responsible for defending .mil networks, and also with  developing an offensive cybercapability. U.S. military and intelligence communities acknowledge in private that America is ahead of the pack in its development of an offensive cybercapability. Not far behind lies China's cyberespionage and security strategy, directed almost exclusively by the army. Russia, home to some of the most competent cybercriminal networks in the world, is also a major player.

Close behind is Israel, which given its tiny population punches far above its weight. France, Britain, India and Germany are also among the leading members of some 120 countries around the world developing their own cyberoffensive capacity, over which there is no system of treaty control.

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