Feeds

Cyber attack could bring US military response

No options removed from table

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.