PENTAGON: Technology is a two-edged sword, and it can cut the hand that wields it in unexpected ways. For a generation, ever since the first Gulf War, the information age has been America’s big advantage, arming the US military with everything from smart bombs to remotely piloted drones to supply databases. But even low-tech Iraqi insurgents could pick up Predator video transmissions from time to time, and potential adversaries from China to Iran are far more capable in cyberspace. So as the all-consuming commitment to Afghanistan winds down, the armed services have started looking hard at the perils and potential of their dependence on computer networks — none more so than the US Navy.
The Chief of Naval Operations himself, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, has increasingly emphasized the intersection of the brave new world of cyber with the Navy’s longstanding strengths in electronic warfare, most recently in an editorial published on this website yesterday. To flesh out the CNO’s vision, I sat down with Greenert’s point man on the coming war of electrons, Rear Adm. William Leigher. A veteran cryptologist who went on to serve at Fleet Cyber Command, Leigher now bears the jaw-breaking title of “director of warfare integration for information dominance,” known in Navy shorthand as N2/N6F. It’s his job to keep up with the staggering pace at which information technology advances. Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: Maybe cyberspace isn’t as fragile as it’s made out to be. “Relax, Chicken Little, the sky isn’t falling,” said Columbia professor Abraham Wagner. “Protection ultimately is easier than penetration.”
Wagner’s argument reverses the conventional wisdom that the attacker always has the advantage online. A forthcoming study by the Cyber Conflict Studies Association, for example, says that even a good offense is no defense, because it’s so easy to hide who really launched a particular attack — the notorious “attribution problem” — that it’s nigh-impossible to know whom to retaliate against. But Wagner and several other cyber experts assembled Thursday by the hawkish American Foreign Policy Council collectively suggested that both defense and deterrence are doable, even against hackers backed by nation-states like Russia, China, and Iran. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House intelligence committee, cast doubt today on reports that the Stuxnet and Flamer viruses were the work of the US and Israel. In fact, he argued, it’s against America’s interest to be staging any cyber attacks because the US is so vulnerable to retaliation.
“Don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper,” Rogers said of reports that both Stuxnet and Flamer were a joint US-Israeli endeavour. “I would be very, very cautious about assigning any nation-state originator to any of the [viruses]…. There was as much wrong in those [articles] as there ever was right.” Keep reading →