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­.s. Must Focus on Protecting Critical Computer Networks From Cyber Attack

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A study from the RAND Corp. suggests the United States should focus on defending critical civilian and military computer networks from cyberattack, but does not need to make strategic cyberwarfare a priority investment. Martin C. Libicki, the report's lead author and a senior management scientist at the nonprofit research organization, says the same approach should be taken for deterring cyberwarfare attacks, which are more likely to be bothersome than disarm any systems.

The study, "Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar," indicates that it is difficult to determine the severity of an attack, the identity of the attackers and their motivation, as well as launch a counterattack. Recent cyberattacks have been estimated to have cost a few billion dollars to hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Military networks have vulnerabilities that are similar to civilian networks because they often have the same hardware and software. Hackers are likely to steal information, send false commands to systems to make them malfunction, or use bogus information to corrupt them. Initially, pursuing diplomatic, economic, and prosecutorial efforts may be the best response to cyberhackers, Libicki says.

From RAND Corp.
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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