News you may have missed #435 (cyberwarfare edition)

  • Analysis: Cyber attacks test US Pentagon. US military and civilian networks are probed thousands of times a day, and the systems of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters are attacked at least 100 times a day. Meanwhile, more than 100 countries are currently trying to break into US defense networks.
  • US should be able to shut Internet, ex-CIA chief says. Cyberterrorism is such a threat that the US President should have the authority to shut down the Internet in the event of an attack, Former CIA Director Michael Hayden has said.
  • Iran battling alleged ‘spy virus’. Iranian officials have confirmed reports that a malicious computer code, called Stuxnet, was spreading throughout the nation’s nuclear infrastructure. But they have given differing accounts of the damage, said to be capable of taking over computers that operate huge facilities, including nuclear energy reactors. Did someone say ‘Israel‘?
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Comment: Not So Fast, Cyberwarriors! [updated]

Hoekstra

Hoekstra

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Rep. Peter Hoekstra wants to launch a cyberwar against North Korea. The Republican from Michigan, who heads his party’s delegation on the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, urged the US government last Thursday to “launch a cyber attack” or at least increase international sanctions on Pyongyang. Hoekstra urged this in response to a series of mysterious cyber-attacks that paralyzed major South Korean and US government websites for three days earlier this month. And he’s not alone. Last Friday, ABC News technology pundit Michael Malone effectively echoed Hoekstra and warned that “enemies of freedom everywhere” could use cyberterrorism to kill untold numbers of Americans by remotely controlling “fetal monitoring systems, surgical equipment, robotic bomb demolition equipment and ICBMs”. But South Korean cybersecurity specialists, who intensely monitor North Korean information systems, and were the ones who actually informed their US counterparts of the unfolding cyber-attacks on July 4, are not so sure that Pyongyang was behind the attacks. Read more of this post

Comment: Post-9/11 Intelligence Turf Wars Continue

Rod Beckstrom

Rod Beckstrom

By IAN ALLEN* | intelNews.org |
The stern assurances given to Americans after 9/11, that destructive turf wars between US intelligence agencies would stop, appear to be evaporating. Earlier this week, Rod Beckstrom, who headed the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced his resignation amidst a bitter row between the DHS and the National Security Agency (NSA) over the oversight of American cybersecurity. In a letter (.pdf) addressed to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, and carbon-copied to nearly every senior US intelligence and defense official, Beckstrom blasted the lack of “appropriate support [for NCSC] during the last administration”, as well as having to wrestle with “various roadblocks engineered within [DHS] by the Office of Management and Budget”. Most of all, Beckstrom, an industry entrepreneur who remained in his NCSC post for less than a year, accused the NSA of subverting NCSC’s cybersecurity role by trying to “subjugate” and “control” NCSC. 

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