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  • Morning Bell: A Cyber Wake-Up Call

    Since July 20, Internet security experts have been tracking coordinated cyber attacks on Georgia’s Internet infrastructure. It is still unclear to what extent the Russian military directly carried out these attacks, but two things are known for sure: 1) the traffic patterns and servers used in the attack are “overwhelmingly coming out of Russia” and 2) the attacks coincided with conventional Russian military action. Military experts believe the Georgian conflict is the first time cyber warfare has been used alongside a conventional war.

    This is not the first time Russia has been accused of practicing cyber warfare against one of its former imperial possessions. In 2007, a massive Russia-based assault disrupted public and private Estonian information networks with massive denial-of-service attacks. An extremely simple and cheap tactic that can be launched by virtually anybody after downloading instructions and tools online, denial-of-service attacks can shut down servers that run sites by bombarding them with electronic requests for information.

    Even more worrisome is the sophisticated and professional cyber espionage programs deployed by China. Chinese cyberwarriors in 2004 identified network vulnerabilities in scores of Pentagon systems, including the critically important computers at the Defense Information Systems Agency, Naval Ocean Systems Center and Army Space and Strategic Defense Command. A bipartisan report in 2007 by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission concluded: “Chinese espionage activities in the United States are so extensive that they comprise the single greatest risk to the security of American technologies.”

    Since technology evolves so quickly, there will be no quick fix or “silver bullet” solution that will make America safe. Heritage senior research fellow James Carafano recommends: “What is called for is dynamic, informed national leadership in the public and private sector that understands how to compete in the cyber-strategic environment.” Carafano suggests Congress can help develop this new leadership by:

    • Establishing educational institutions specifically designed to teach the technical and interagency skills necessary protect, defend, and respond to evolving cyber threats.
    • Identify or create interagency assignments that can provide individuals the practice needed to hone their skills.
    • Ensure that leaders selected for critical (non-politically appointed) positions in national and homeland security have the necessary cyber warfare skills.

    The rise of China’s cyber warfare capabilities and the first use of cyber warfare alongside conventional military action should serve as a wake-up call to Congress. America’s Internet infrastructure vulnerabilities must be better protected.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Morning Bell: A Cyber Wake-Up Call

    1. Gerald Erickson, Min says:

      Re: the statement "The rise of China’s cyber warfare capabilities and the first use of cyber warfare alongside conventional military action should serve as a wake-up call to Congress. America’s Internet infrastructure vulnerabilities must be better protected."

      Our Congress, and other elected officials in all levels of the Government, appear to be more interested in politicizing issues, and with getting reelected, than in what is good for America. How do we as ordinary citizens change that? For the most part we seem to keep reelecting the same people.

    2. Rene' Cote&#039 says:

      I find it hard to believe that the Senate ethics rules bar a doctor from doing what he or she is trained to do. This is another example of how out of touch most of our elected officials are – especially those within the confines of the "logic free zone" – Washington, DC. I cannot see why. Are lawyers who are legislators also prohibited from practicing law?

    3. L. Townley,Monroe,MI says:

      hate to say i told you so, but the Russians have never really changed from thier cold war attitude.

      The attack on Georgia just shows that the USSR never really went out of business, it was just biding its time to reemerge.

      With Putin being a former KGB operative, what did the world really expect from him? Putin is a cold blooded KILLER people wise up the Russian government is not a friend of the USA.

    4. fjclark, tulsa okla says:

      Dr Colburn is one of the best in Washington. He should be able to keep doing the baby delivery in Oklahoma, and should also be able to continue to 'fight' for responsible government action, not pork barrel, and other bad items.

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