Sunday, December 21, 2008

U.S. Must Update Laws To Defend Against Foreign Hackers

Jim Langevin and Michael McCaul write in The Houston Chronicle:

If on any given day, foreign nationals pulled moving vans up to the loading docks of government agency buildings, filled them with computers and drove away with sensitive information, Americans would be outraged. The fact is it is happening, but with no trucks and no finger prints. The United States is under attack in cyberspace.

Today's hackers are no longer thrill-seeking teenagers; they are organized crime syndicates and national militaries that commit espionage. From thousands of miles away, increasingly sophisticated foreign adversaries are electronically infiltrating sensitive U.S. computer networks to obtain military technologies. Foreign competitors and criminals unabashedly steal trade secrets from American companies through similar methods. Critical systems that run our financial, energy, and transportation infrastructures have also become victims of cyber attack and exploitation. One operation discovered a vulnerability in which generators could be destroyed by the mere click of a mouse.

Our national leaders have been far too slow to understand the scope and significance of this threat. America's laws for cyberspace are decades old, written for primitive technologies in a less-connected era. Our bureaucracy is organized for an industrial age. We are not prepared to meet the threats of the 21st century.

More here.


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