Monday, November 25, 2013

Why the U.S. Will Preemptively Initiate Cyberwar

The pressures for preemptive global cyberwar are building, not because of the conclusion it provides but because of the salvation it offers.

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Too many weapons. Too many bad actors. Too many untenable motives.

Such is the realm of cyberspace conflict today, a world where weapons are readily available and new antagonists seeking to advance their agendas can enter the fray with ease.

These are just three of the forces driving a global marathon that is racing toward a dangerous outcome. Only a few – if any – winners will cross the finish line.

It is a world in which the nation-states with cyber power moderate usage of their cyber weapons: China and Russia because they are perhaps satisfied with the intellectual property and military plans they retrieve; Iran and North Korea perhaps due to their fear of retaliation.

The newer cast of bad actors are another problem altogether. Extremists and the growing forces of cyber militias have no such fears and thus present a major danger to the U.S., Britain and other developed nations.

With no one else to rein these dangerous new players in, the U.S. will be forced to take offensive action, even if it takes the form of a widespread cyberwar. Here’s why:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Geopolitical Currents Push U.S. Cyber Defenses to the Edge

Defenselessness. Indifference. Disbelief. All are individually strong currents under any circumstances.

When it comes to America’s attitude toward cyber threats, all three are in play: churning, swirling whirlpools gathering the collective power to sweep U.S. cyber defense capabilities over the edge to the rocks below.

As reported here in July, Wall Street failed a day long test of its resilience to cyberattacks, forcing trading exchanges to close six hours into the exercise.

Now America’s electric power system faces its turn. On November 13th, an exercise dubbed Grid Ex II will test the security of the American power grid with a day-long series of simulated cyberattacks.

If the results are similar to the Grid Ex I exercise conducted in 2011, the electric grid will show vulnerabilities that can shut down power to major portions of the U.S.

In other words, our power grid will most likely prove again to be just as defenseless against cyberattack as is Wall Street.