Computer Crime Research Center


Hackers threatens US

Date: November 27, 2007

While U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan engage the enemy with guns, tanks, airplanes and missiles, the American military is quietly fighting a much different kind of war on a new front – cyberspace.

Military officials say that a computer-network attack by foreign enemies or terrorist groups would result in "an electronic Pearl Harbor" that would shut down electricity, banking systems, cell phones and other tools of day-to-day life.

Hundreds, and possibly thousands, of more-limited assaults already are bombarding the firewalls of government computer systems daily, prompting U.S. officials and military leaders to declare that the United States is already at war on the cyberfront.

"America is under widespread attack in cyberspace," Gen. James Cartwright, then-commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the military's computer grid, told Congress in March. "Our freedom to use cyberspace is threatened by the actions of criminals, terrorists and nations alike."

As a result, the U.S. military is aggressively incorporating computer technology into its war-fighting arsenal in the same sort of evolutionary pattern that saw air power emerge from the early biplanes of the past century. All branches of the military have computer-security operations, and the Air Force is moving to set up a full-fledged cybercommand that will have the same stature as its other commands.

U.S. officials acknowledge that the computer-dependent military and federal government are threatened by virtually every malevolent concept of the computer age, from worms and viruses that aim to cripple or shut down networks to illegal intrusions that attempt to steal classified information.
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