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.


 
 

 
DoD
Air-Force

Radar site techs: First line of defense 24/7, 365

The Tin City Long Range Radar Site, Alaska, as seen Oct. 1, sits on top of the highest peak of a mountain range in the region. The Tin City LRRS, along with 14 additional radar sites across the rugged terrain of Alaska, scans t...
 
 
Courtesy of Marine Corps Forces Africa

Liberia, US build Ebola treatment centers, decrease virus growth rate

Courtesy of Marine Corps Forces Africa Supporting Operation United Assistance, Armed Forces of Liberia engineers work on the Tubmanburg Ebola treatment unit. Crews quickly put up a series of tents on freshly leveled and gravele...
 
 
HauntedHayride10_Hidalgo-

Alpha Company 2-13th Avn. Regt. scene takes first place at annual Haunted Hayride

These props were used during the start of this year’s annual Haunted Hayride at Wren Arena on Fort Huachuca Oct. 24. Each ride lasted five to eight minutes and took passengers through different scary scenes that teams of mili...
 

 

News Briefs October 31, 2014

Chaplains available after duty hours Individuals in need of chaplain assistance outside normal duty hours should contact the on-call duty chaplain at 520.508.8042 or the installation operations center at 520.533.2291. DA Form 1687 signature requirement changes Effective immediately, the DA Form 1687 will require both handwritten and digital signatures for the identified authorized representativ...
 
 

FMWR Briefs – October 31, 2014

Vendors needed for N.O.E.L. event FMWR is looking for arts and crafts, novelty and other vendors for the 2014 Night of Extraordinary Lights Christmas Village set for Dec. 12 – 13, 6 – 10 p.m., at Brown Parade Field. This event was previously held at Mountain View Golf Course. For more information, call 520.538.0836 or...
 
 
photo-for-top-of-page

Operation Rising Star — Virtual stage open to active-duty singers

Photo at top of page: Georgia Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Constance Mack, representing the Presidio of Monterey, California, sings her way to the 2012 Operation Rising Star crown at the historic Fort Sam Houston Theatre, in ...
 




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