Feeds

Cyber attack could bring US military response

No options removed from table

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The United States' top commanding officer for the space and cyber domains told reporters last week that a cyber attack could merit a more conventional military response.

During a press briefing on Thursday, US Air Force General Kevin Chilton, who heads the US Strategic Command, said that top Pentagon advisors would not rule out a physical attack on any force that attacks the United States through the internet. Currently, the military's networks are probed thousands of times a day, but the goal of attackers seems to be espionage, not to take down critical networks, he told reporters.

"I don’t think you take anything off the table when you provide options to the president to decide," said Chilton, according to Stars and Stripes. "You don’t take any response options off the table from an attack on the United States of America. Why would we constrain ourselves on how we would respond?"

At the briefing, the top military official also argued for the Pentagon's cyber commands to be joined into a single joint command, according to The Air Force Times. Currently, the Defense Department splits the offensive and defensive cyber capabilities into two organizations: the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO) and the Joint Functional Component Commander-Network Warfare (JFCC-NW) run by the National Security Agency. The US Strategic Command would need 2,000 to 4,000 more employees to handle the mission, said Chilton, according to the Associated Press.

Following numerous attacks on Pentagon networks, with adversaries copying terabytes of military data, the United States has increased its focus on locking down its networks and formulating a military doctrine for cyberspace. Many of the attacks on US networks are launched from servers in the People's Republic of China, leading officials to blame Chinese government-funded hackers for the attacks.

In his statements to reporters, Chilton stressed that members of the US military service must begin to think of their computers as the front lines. He likened a serviceman turning on his computer with "stepping to the guard gate of his base," according to The Air Force Times report.

President Barack Obama and US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have not decided on what type of organization the nation's military will pursue in the cyber domain. The Obama administration is currently reviewing the United State's cyber policy in a 60-day review, which is overdue.

This article originally appeared in SecurityFocus.

Copyright © 2009, SecurityFocus

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.