While various cyber-attacks against US government and business targets are numerous and well-documented, America's own offensive capabilities in this area have remained mostly out of view. However, in his recent testimony before Congress, NSA chief Lt. General Keith Alexander reversed that history a bit, and confirmed that the US has, and is, engaged in offensive cyber-warfare. Alexander also explicated how cyber-combat factors into the general doctrine of legality of war.
Alexander is testifying before Congress as part of his confirmation as the new head of US Cyber Command. In that position, he will oversee the protection of the US data infrastructure. In his answers to questions from Congressmen before tomorrow's in-person testimony, Alexander said that the US has responded to threats against the country in cyberspace, but declined to get into specifics. He also added that while military law doesn't specifically authorize a country to retaliate with a cyber-attack, the law implicitly condones the use of retaliatory cyberwar.
In general, Alexander's testimony reflected a policy that treats a computer the same as a rifle in a military context. For him, it's a weapon, and faces the same deterrent, legal, technical issues as a fighter plane, nuclear bomb, or sharpened stick. However, it should be noted that Alexander also gave extensive classified testimony that no doubt went into more specific detail about the US's cyber-deterrence and offensive capabilities.
Still, what Alexander did reveal is mostly new information for the general public, and with live questioning set to begin tomorrow, we should end this week knowing far more about US cyber policy than we began it.
I have often wondered what US policy was in regard to cyber warfare. This will be very interesting as there is not much information out there about how we (US) deal with these issues. It must be the gold standard for hackers in training (either civilian or government) to attack the US government and cyber-infrastructure as we have some of the most advanced systems in the world.
I wonder how much they actually have to deal with...
It's about time. I've heard about so many hits against us that I feel a bit of relief knowing someone is doing something about this. But more needs to be done for defensive and offensive abilities.
Anyone interested in having the Great Firewall of China in our crosshairs? Iran? Al Qaeda?
Assuming of course you can find the original perpetrators, and aren't attacking a third party system that got hacked into trying to hack you, while leaving the original hackers safe.
THAT'S the official photo for the head of the NSA? Really, that's the best they could do? That's like highschool yearbook stuff. Who would be even a little scared of that guy?
He is a Lt. General in the US Army and he is the head of the NSA. I am pretty scared of him since I a quite sure he can bury me without a thought.
FINALLY WE"RE GONNA HIT EM BACK. i wonder if they'll teach dis stuff?
i was talking about the quality of the photo. i don't care what he looks like in person. being the head of a department is half politics. image matters. i honestly laughed when i saw that photo.
when cyberwar replaces regular warfare, i can imagine boot camps being a building full of sweaty nerds getting yelled at "I DON'T KNOW, BUT I'VE BEEN TOLD, I LOVE COMPILING CODE!!!"