Monday, March 16, 2009

Pentagon Readies its Cyber War Defenses

Paul Marks writes on NewScientist:

Cyber-attacks on a nation's military and commercial computers have grown a lot more sophisticated since the days of the lone hacker targeting a system's defences just for the thrill of it.

Nowadays, electronic attacks are increasingly seen as a cheap and easy way for one nation to attack another. "It's the ultimate bargain hunter's way of destroying everyone's way of life," says Glenn Zimmerman, a cyberspace specialist at the Pentagon. "It may even be free."

So worried are governments by the prospect of an all-out cyber-attack that last month UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon revealed that cyber-weapons are to be added to the list of arms falling under the remit of the UN's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, which develops policy on weapons of mass destruction. Ban said recent breaches of critical systems represent "a clear and present threat to international security", since the public and private sectors have grown increasingly dependent on electronic information.

But despite the threat, current NATO war games tend to treat cyber-attack simulations as an afterthought, according to military sources. Now the Pentagon is hoping to change that by developing a centre at which the military can play realistic electronic war games.

More here.


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