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Awaiting Cyber 9/11

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Enemies no longer need to launch missiles or fly airplanes into buildings to attack the United States. A new weapon has been introduced into the world s arsenal, and that weapon has no boundaries or rules, costs little, and has monstrous potential. The weapon is cyber warfare. The Nation s security, economy, and critical infrastructure are under cyber attack every day. Some attacks are from nation-states such as China and Russia, while others are from nonstate actors such as terrorist organizations, criminal gangs, teenage hackers, and anarchists. To protect American financial systems, power grids, telecommunications, water supplies, intellectual property, and military communications, the U.S. Government needs to designate the Department of Defense DOD as the lead organization in preventing, detecting, and recovering from cyber attacks. In 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese hackers had gained access to the U.S. electric power grid and created secret openings. There was no monetary value in gaining control of the electrical grid, nor was there any intelligence value that would justify cyber espionage. The only reason to penetrate the grid s controls was to prepare to combat American military superiority with asymmetrical cyberwar. The Chinese had created a capability that could create power outages across the United States and possibly cause nuclear incidents without firing a shot. The victims were unaware their systems were compromised until the intrusions were detected by the U.S. Intelligence Community. What would the U.S. Government have done if it discovered that China had been laying explosive charges throughout the national electrical grid system The threats posed in the cyber domain are, in fact, an existential danger to the Nation. Currently, the United States does not have an organization with the capabilities or authorities to oversee cyber security for the public and private sectors.

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  • Computer Systems Management and Standards

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