World

July 12, 2012

NSA chief: Cyber world presents opportunities, challenges

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON — Technology has opened tremendous opportunities for the world, but also poses tremendous challenges for those who work to ensure access to cyberspace, the director of the National Security Agency said here yesterday.

Army Gen. Keith Alexander, who also commands U.S. Cyber Command, told participants in an American Enterprise Institute seminar titled “Cybersecurity and American Power” that the capability exists today for destructive cyber attacks against critical infrastructures.

The cyber world is an increasingly important domain, the general said. In 2000, 360 million people were on the Internet. Today, more than 2.3 billion people are connected. Last year, 107 trillion emails were sent, he added, and a sign of the times is that more than 500,000 apps exist for the iPhone and 280,000 for Android smartphones.

But this tremendous opportunity for communication also presents a potential avenue of attack, Alexander said. A 2007 denial-of-service attack on Estonia virtually shut the nation down, he said, but that was just a transitory event in the evolution of cyber attacks.

“What I think we really need to be concerned about is when these transition from disruptive to destructive attacks — and I think those are coming,” he said.

A destructive attack does not simply overload computers or networks — it destroys data or software, and systems must be replaced to return to the status quo. “We’ve got to consider that those are going to happen,” Alexander said. “Those are coming up, and we have to be ready for that.”

The general stressed that deterring cyber attacks is more difficult than nuclear deterrence, noting that nation-states, cyber criminals, hackers, activists and terrorists all pose threats. “So when you think about deterrence theory, you’re not talking about just nation-on-nation deterrence theory,” he said. “You have other non-nation-state actors that you now have to consider.”

An attack may originate in a country, Alexander said, but no one can really tell if it’s the nation, a criminal gang within the country or a lone hacker launching the attack.

Regardless of who initiates an attack, he added, the result could be the same. “You lose the financial sector or the power grid or your systems capabilities for a period of time,” the general said. “It doesn’t matter who did it; you still lose that. So you’ve got to come up with a defensive strategy that solves that, from my perspective.”

The U.S. defensive strategy has to be a team approach, he said. “We want to get as many people as we can working together to solve this problem,” Alexander said.

The White House has led the governmental effort, spanning the Department of Homeland Security to the Defense Department to the FBI and beyond. And any protection — to be effective — must include the private sector, the general told the audience. This has caused hackles to rise, he acknowledged, with critics saying such efforts are an invasion of privacy. But, Alexander said, it can be done while protecting civil liberties.

“If the critical infrastructure community is being attacked by something, we need them to tell us at network speed,” the general said. “It doesn’t require the government to read their mail or your mail to do that. It requires them — the Internet service provider or that company — to tell us that that type of event is going on at this time. And it has to be at network speed if you’re going to stop it.”

Cyber runs at the speed of light, Alexander noted, and human reaction times are simply not fast enough to react.

“Maybe we could do this in real time and come up with a construct [in which] you and the American people know that we’re not looking at civil liberties and privacy, [but] we’re actually trying to figure out when the nation is under attack and what we need to do about it,” he said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Ebola

Army researchers look for permanent end to Ebola virus

U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases researchers, with help from Thermo Fisher Scientific, are using a Q Exactive Plus Mass Spectrometry System and a Dyne...
 
 

Health center gets new enlisted leadership

Sgt. Maj. Arnold Hill, the new sergeant major of Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center, gives his remarks after a change of responsibility and retirement ceremony May 15. The Soldiers and staff of Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center bid farewell to their senior enlisted leader, Sgt. Maj. Douglas Noetzleman, in a retirement and change...
 
 
213coc3_52015_lakosil

2/13th Aviation welcomes new commander, bids one farewell

Incoming Commander Lt. Col. Daniel Isabell, 2nd Battalion 13th Aviation Regiment, addresses the crowd as the new battalion commander during the change of command ceremony at Libby Army Airfield Wednesday.   Two Soldiers’...
 

 
Civ-of-the-Month-May

Civilian of the Month

Darrick Foote Civilian of the Month: Darrick Foote Agency: Network Enterprise Technology Command Position and duties: Financial management analyst supporting NETCOM’s major subordinate units How long at current assignment: 7 ...
 
 

Motorcycle safety is not just for May, but for entire year

Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designates May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month which coincides with the beginning of motorcycle riding season for many Soldiers and also serves as the early kick-off for the annual “101 Critical Days of Summer Safety” program. Motorcycle accidents continue to be a leading cause of accidental death...
 
 
20150513_155409

Girl Scouts provide Community Library to FH residents

From left, Alexa Hopping, 12, Jordan Beatty, 12, and Lillian Snyder, 11, unload and place books on a bookshelf at the Mountain Vista Communities Community Center May 13. The seven members of Girl Scout Cadet Troop 603 collected...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin