LandWarNet: The Best Cyber Defense is a Good Offense

Though Gen. Keith Alexander did not create the phrase “The Best Defense is a Good Offense”, (Pretty sure it was Mel, the cook on Alice) it sure looks like he means to bring it into the 21st Century.

The new US Cyber Command leader is creating a new hunting season, this one is for hackers inside government networks. At the LandWarNet conference this week, Gen. Keith Alexander said “Inside our networks, just like we would do in physical combat, we have to have folks that are hunting inside our networks,” he said. “Give the system administrators, our network operators, weapons to hunt inside our networks for malicious software and malicious actors, to destroy them.”

I like this guy! But the operators would not be working alone. He is looking for hardware that can detect and report to the “hunters” in real time:

We have to have an interactive device at the boundary,” he said. “And that interactive device capability has to be able to talk to those network hunters inside our network and our foreign intelligence capabilities and law enforcement and others outside our network

He also wants the capability for network devices that can sense incoming attacks and shut them down in real time. Sounds like a job for Rsignia’s CyberScope!

But hunters and cyber weapons alone will not win this battle. Gen. Alexander knows that we have to create plans and policy to get all the nations, especially our allies, on the same page. “Not only do we have to have a way to bring nations together to talk about the rules of the road, we’ve also got to come up with a deterrence theory that takes on the non-nation-state actors, the terrorists and the criminals,” he said according to a GCN article

It looks like the good General has a realistic view of the challenges he is facing. And what a monumentous task it is, “On any given day, our networks are probed over 250,000 times an hour,” he said. That comes to about six million times a day. Additionally, over 140 foreign intelligence organizations are actively attempting to penetrate U.S. computer networks. And according to a figure by the network security company, Symantec, the cost of cybercrimes have exceeded $1 trillion.”

Alexander wrapped up by saying that the US created the internet and we should lead the charge to defend it.  “Securing the Internet,” he said, “requires great minds. It also requires a partnership, within government, to include the Department of Defense, the intelligence community and the Department of Homeland Security, for instance. It also requires partnerships with America’s allies, and with industry.”

Just like any other threat that the US has faced. As long as we remain united, we will dominate this threat.


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