Feeds

US military's cyberwar rules 'ill-formed,' says panel

And 'undeveloped.' And 'highly uncertain'

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The United States government has yet to form a coherent policy for engaging in warfare that involves attacks on a country's electrical power grids and other critical infrastructure, according to a non-profit group of scientists and policy advisors.

They called on policy makers to actively forge rules for how and when the military goes about mounting offensive and defensive acts of cyber warfare.

"Today's policy and legal framework for guiding and regulating the US use of cyberattack is ill-formed, undeveloped, and highly uncertain," the report, published by the National Academy of Sciences, states. "Secrecy has impeded widespread understanding and debate about the nature and implications of US cyberattack."

As a result, many nuances of cyberwar have remained poorly understood, even as the military actively prepares for it. They include the high degree of anonymity of those who carry out such attacks, making it hard to identify those who perpetrate them. Such attacks also result in much more uncertain outcomes than traditional warfare, making it hard to predict success and collateral damage.

The report comes just days before the Obama administration is expected to unveil a comprehensive plan for responding to attacks on US military networks, power grids, and other networks considered vital to national security. It was prepared by members of the academy's Committee on Offensive Information Warfare. They include William A. Owens, a former vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff; Kenneth W. Dam, deputy secretary in the Department of Treasury under President George W. Bush; and William O. Studeman, former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

It is the latest sober reminder that the rules of cyberwar are significantly different than those of traditional warfare. Specifically, it cautions that "enduring unilateral dominance in cyberspace is neither realistic nor achievable by the United States." It also states that "Deterrence of cyberattacks by the threat of in-kind response has limited applicability."

The report, a summary of which is available here (PDF), goes on to recommend the US government engage in a "broad, unclassified national debate and discussion about cyberattack policy." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.