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.


 
 

 
Gabrielle Kuholski

Antiterrorism Exercise assesses installation readiness, reinforces important relationships

Gabrielle Kuholski First responders with the Fort Huachuca and Whetstone Fire Departments work together to get a wounded Soldier into an ambulance during the full scale exercise, Apache Warrior 2013, Tuesday. These first respon...
 
 

Labor Day Safety Message

Labor Day marks the traditional end of the summer season and celebrates the American worker and the contributions they make to our great country. I want to commend you on your efforts to control heat injuries through another hot summer. Your diligence and care for teammates contributed to an overall 20-percent decrease in accident fatalities...
 
 
Gabrielle Kuholski

VA clinical psychologist raises military sexual trauma awareness

Gabrielle Kuholski Michael Moore, Ph.D., military sexual trauma coordinator at the Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Tucson, presents a session on military sexual trauma, or MST, in the Murr Community Cent...
 

 

Glass recycling now available in Sierra Vista

SIERRA VISTA – Clean glass bottles and jars can be dropped off for recycling at the new Sierra Vista Glass Recycling Depot as part of the city’s trial glass recycling project. The Glass Recycling Depot, located in the parking lot of the Pedro Castro Government Maintenance Center, is a glass collection point that is separate...
 
 
Maranda Flynn

FH Community Spouses’ Club accepting new members, shares plans for coming year

Maranda Flynn Fort Huachuca Community Spouses’ Club board members, Katrina LaDue and Lesley Hocker, (left foreground and background), assist new club members, Dana Edwards and Sandi Weishaupt, (right foreground and background...
 
 

Retiree Council shares news, notes Did you forget to care for your Family?

No one forgets to care for his or her Family on purpose. It just happens – more often than one might think when it comes to the military Survivor Benefit Plan, or SBP. Most often, retired Soldiers don’t know the federal law and the time limits it imposes on maintaining their SBP elections. If a...
 




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