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America's Cyber War Weak Spots

posted 15 Mar 2013, 14:59 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 15 Mar 2013, 14:59 ]

Reuters Business Video Report - Washington is marshalling its resources to counter a mounting threat: escalating cyber attacks.

JAMES CLAPPER, U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE:

"When it comes to distinct threat areas, our statement this year leads with cyber and it's hard to overemphasize its significance."

The attacks, so far, have targeted corporate and government secrets, but authorities fear much worse.

If and when cyber attacks turn into a cyber war, target number one, security experts worry, would be the U.S. power grid.

GARY MCGRAW, CYBERSECURITY EXPERT, CIGITAL:

"The idea would be to go after generation plants or maybe the grid itself in such a way that physical components of the grid would destroy themselves. It's quite possible to do this to make a transformer burn itself up."

JEFFREY CARR, AUTHOR, "INSIDE CYBER WARFARE":

"All of a sudden multiple regions start losing power and nobody really understands how or why."

In a severe attack, the lights would go dark for millions of people over a broad swath of the United States and the outage could prove lasting.

GARY MCGRAW, CYBERSECURITY EXPERT, CIGITAL :

"Replacing a whole bunch, like thousands or tens of thousands of transformers throughout the grid would be something that would take us months or even years to recover from."

Initially, U.S. officials and power providers would have no idea who is behind the attack for two reasons: 1- cyber attackers have learned to cover their tracks, and 2 - unlike a physical war, a cyber attack can be as fast as a press of a button.

 GARY MCGRAW, CYBERSECURITY EXPERT, CIGITAL:

"A cyber attack in war would happen in split seconds, so quickly that the fog of war issues would apply, it would be very difficult to tell who exactly is attacking you and who to go after."

Much of the problem surrounding the power grid is the fact that it's in private hands outside the reach of the government's cyber-oversight, making the grid especially vulnerable.

JEFFREY CARR, AUTHOR, "INSIDE CYBER WARFARE" :

"There is no way to secure the U.S. power grid. There's just simply no way to do it.

A recently de-classified report issued by the National Academy of Sciencesestimated that an attack on the U.S. power grid could cost hundreds of billions of dollars and lead to thousands of deaths.

 JEFFREY CARR, AUTHOR, "INSIDE CYBER WARFARE":

"The grid is becoming more vulnerable, and not more secure."

President Obama signed an executive order last month seeking better protection of the country's critical infrastructure. .. but he says congress must pass laws to build up the nation's cyber defense.


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