If America is attacked by cyberwarfare, then we must attack back, even if the identity of the attacker is unknown. This is the philosophy of Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the Director of the NSA, and Obama’s choice to lead the new Cyber Command.
As the endless debate continues in congress as to defining what cyber war is, and how to respond, and whether it is a military or espionage issue, Gen. Alexander cuts to the point. “The U.S. must fire back against cyber attacks swiftly and strongly and should act to counter or disable a threat even when the identity of the attacker is unknown” and “Even with the clear understanding that we could experience damage to our infrastructure, we must be prepared to fight through in the worst case scenario,” according to a Foxnews article.
I like this attitude. As lawmakers go back and forth in a battle of words and definitions, our nation faces constant cyber intrusions from foreign nations. What we need is deterrent, and if foreign entities know that we will respond, no matter what, then they will think twice about attacking our infrastructure.
The US does have Einstein up and running on some government systems and also AT&T is testing it on their network. The system is highly classified, but according to public sources the current version can detect malicious traffic and notify the NSA. The next version will have the capability to automatically respond to an internet threat and “shoot down an internet attack before it hits its target” – Wikipedia.
Because Einstein will collect internet data there are concerns noted due to privacy issues. And people have been concerned that AT&T has been chosen for the system as they have worked with the NSA to monitor phone and internet traffic.
But something needs to be done. As Jeffrey Carr a security expert and CEO of Greylogic.us has said, we are looking for a large “Cyber 911” attack, when in reality we are experiencing death by a thousand cuts. We are facing a flood of small incursions by foreign powers on purpose. They know that currently we will not respond to small attacks.
They also know that we will spend a lot of time analyzing the source of the attack, where with this new philosophy we will respond to the attack as it happens. Gen. Alexander’s plan is to extend the rule of war to the cyber arena. And the Rules of Engagement will be to return fire, when fired upon.
And as long as Einstein is not run by Cyberdyne Systems, and given the ability to respond with nukes all will be well right?