The Real Threat To America Comes From Cyber Attack: No Bombs. No Bullets. No Swordfights. Just A Few Keystrokes On The Computer. And We’re Done

Sunday, February 3, 2019
By Paul Martin
February 3, 2019

In poll after poll, one of the primary threats newsweborder is the use of a cyber attack to cause a collapse of our vulnerable critical infrastructure. There are many bad actors on the international stage – Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, and now the terrorist group, ISIS. Each is capable of wreaking havoc in the US by shutting down our power grid and enjoying the resulting chaos.

No bombs. No bullets. No swordfights. Just a few keystrokes on the computer.

And we’re done.

Simply put, a Cyber Attack is a deliberate exploitation of computer systems. Cyber Attacks are used to gain access to information but can also be used to alter computer code, insert malware or take over the operations of a computer driven network.

Why would terrorists bother with an elaborate, dangerous physical operation—complete with all the recon and planning of a black ops mission — when they could achieve the same effect from the comfort of their home? An effective cyber attack could, if cleverly designed, produce a great deal of physical damage very quickly, and interconnections in digital operations would mean such an attack could bypass fail safes in the physical infrastructure that stop cascading failures.

One string of ones and zeroes could have a significant impact. If a computer hacker could command all the circuit breakers in a utility to open, the system will be overloaded. Power utility personnel sitting in the control room could do it. A proficient cyber-terrorist can do it as well. In fact, smart-grid technologies are more susceptible to common computer failures. New features added to make the system easily manageable might render it more vulnerable.

The very real threat posed to America by cyber warfare can be summarized by six central scenarios.
Over many decades, the U.S. has created the greatest military force the world has ever seen. But our research has proven that the biggest threat to national security comes from a computer with a simple Internet connection— not from aircraft carriers, tanks or drones.

Threats to the public sector

The U.S. government fends off a staggering eighty thousand cyber attacks a year. There is good reason Director of National Intelligence James Clapper ranks cyber terrorism as the number one national security threat, ahead of traditional terrorism, espionage and weapons of mass destruction.

Threats to the private sector

While rogue nation-states are interested in causing damage to governments, for some hackers and cyber criminals, cyber intrusions in the form of theft of intellectual property, personal data, and website defacement is enough to keep them occupied. The FBI notified nearly four thousand U.S. companies that they were the victims of cyber attacks in 2014. Victims of hackers ranged from the financial sector to major defense contractors to online retailers.

Use of social media to issue threats and calls to action for terrorists

The Rest…HERE

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