Tango Down: Cyber Arms Race of the 21st Century

LulzSec recently hacked the CIA. (Tango down.) Refer to yesterday’s post for a refresher.

After all the talk of America’s known vulnerabilities to cyber attack (and the resulting focus on building robust offensive and defensive postures), a Chinese state-run newspaper today again confirmed the cyber arms race / Cold War of the 21st Century.

From BBC:

“The U.S. military is hastening to seize the commanding military heights on the Internet, and another Internet war is being pushed to a stormy peak,” concluded the report in the Chinese-language Liberation Army Daily.

“Their actions remind us that to protect the nation’s Internet security, we must accelerate Internet defense development and accelerate steps to make a strong Internet army,” said the Liberation Army Daily article.

Cyber warfare is a real threat and still a growing issue.

My advice to young people interested in computers: learn computer network defense.  You’ll be employed for the rest of your life.

Go check out my recent search on IntelligenceCareers.com – see all the intel jobs posted?  This is the future of computer network defense and exploitation, except this industry will be ten fold as private corporations will compete with the government for the best and brightest.

Earlier this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Washington was seriously concerned about cyber-attacks and prepared to use force against any it considered acts of war.

Washington’s seriously concerned and it should be.  China has many state-sponsored hacking groups at its disposal.  Check out Ghostnet.

The fact of the matter is that we can’t even stop simple criminals from committing identity theft and online fraud so how in the world are we going to stop our arms race counterparts?

Time for an expert opinion:

“We’re much better off (technologically) than we were a few years ago, but we have not kept pace with opponents,” said Jim Lewis, a cyber expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. “The network is so deeply flawed that it can’t be secured.”

Looking past what the PLA Daily Tribune writes and deciphering what they mean, I suggest that they realize the US will start trading punch for punch.  The new Pentagon policy that now considers cyber attacks to be acts of war keeps options on the table for the use of physical force.  More importantly, although the physical force is less likely in my opinion, they see that we plan to respond in kind.

Are we seeing a trend of escalation here?

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