America vulnerable to a cyber attack?
Cyber warfare expert John Arquilla weighs in
- Duration 7:53
- Date Feb 10, 2013
Cyber warfare expert John Arquilla weighs in
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Earlier this week Federal Reserve reported that hackers had infiltrated.
One of their internal web sites the hackers reportedly didn't affect any operations at the Central Bank.
But in recent increase of attacks on high profile targets.
Has experts saying that the US is one of the most vulnerable and ill prepared -- -- a massive cyber attack.
Late January computer networks at the Department of Energy were hacked.
And personal information on several hundred employees -- was compromised by the intruders.
And just this week it was reported cyber criminals are continuing to hack the internal system of the Wall Street Journal.
Other major media organizations have also reported hacking attempts including the New York Times the Washington Post and Bloomberg.
And emails to and from members of the bush family including both presidents -- -- -- exposed.
Revealing private photos.
Even the passcode to bush forty three's security gate.
With so much of the country's infrastructure.
Dependent on data networking.
A cyber attack could affect the country's electrical grid transportation.
Financial institutions even military operations.
On Wednesday Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spoke on the thousands of cyber attacks that threatened this country every day.
Thousands of cyber attacks that are striking at the private sector.
Strike at Silicon Valley -- -- government.
-- strike at the Defense Department and our intelligence agents.
And survivor is now at a point.
Where the technology is fair.
To cripple -- country.
Well joining us now to talk about the serious threats of cyber attacks professor of defense analysis at the US Naval Postgraduate School.
Doctor John -- -- -- doctor -- it's great to have you with us thanks for joining us today.
Personal -- -- -- so everybody knows what it's a cyber attack.
Cyber attack aims to disrupt information flows sometimes those information flows control our power -- sometimes it.
Controls our finances our stock markets.
Basically everything that runs our society is run by information flows and that extends to our military as well.
And all of these things -- in parallel at the moment general Keith Alexander the head of the cyber command said last summer.
But on a scale of one to ten he rates American cyber security for three.
That's not very encouraging and the fact is if we had some serious.
Cyber war going on.
This is something that would not just about the military in fact it would affect every -- of American.
Talk about some of the ways that that people would be effective immediately and personally.
Well you're in the middle of some very severe weather imagine the power going out for more than just the 350000.
People who've lost their power so far imagine.
Twenty million people without power for a measurable period of time.
I don't think the whole country's power grid could be taken down.
But it's possible on a regional basis.
Think about the destruction of the did -- disruption of air traffic control -- particularly in bad weather or at busy times.
I think about the flows of -- oil in pipelines are natural gas a lot of these are run by entirely automated controls.
Each of these is subject to disruption.
Everything that makes us prosperous everything that makes us powerful all these technologies also imperil us and that's why we must secure them.
And -- include things like even being able to go to the ATM machine.
To do standard banking and all sorts of things that we just all sort of take for granted the supermarket scanners all could be affected by a cyber attack.
And everything you do depends on information security him if you don't have it there's very little you can do.
Some hackers attacked a country of Estonia.
We're 97% of the people do electronic banking.
The country was crippled for a couple of weeks so that's an example of what might happen on a larger scale one thing.
It you know just this week it was reported that some hackers they've gotten into.
Even the Wall Street Journal the New York Times.
I'm sure when they got in the New York Times I didn't find anything worthwhile but they got in there anyway.
-- but they also were able to even get into.
The accounts a former presidents bush 41 bush 43.
And -- that's kind of scary stuff that that the date code to former President Bush's house.
They were able to hack that I mean if that's kind of frightening in.
Well let me -- news tomorrow -- -- secure defense information systems are sometimes intruded upon there're there are things so we call in my business -- man -- on titan -- those of the names in public.
That speak to very serious intrusions into our systems in real life and of course we do exercises all the time to try to see how secure our systems are.
And those exercises tend to suggest that we have a lot of room for improvement are we doing to stop it and how can we stop.
Well I think unfortunately we've had legislative gridlock a long before the hyper partisanship of our time we've had about twenty years of gridlock.
On cyber security legislation.
Largely out of individuals concerns about the loss of our privacy.
And also commercial concerns about sharing information about incidents -- legislatively we've had some problems.
I think we've also had -- are wrong mindset about defense people probably many people in your audience are.
Working in places or even at their homes have something called fire -- to try to protect their information.
The problem here is that the master hackers walk right through firewalls.
-- the firewall only recognizes what it already knows to be a threat.
And and so we have to move beyond this beyond the whole model of fire -- and which are like much you know lines.
And we have to think about strongly encrypting.
All of our information and just ask ask your audience how many of them have a twelve character password that's made up of letters and numbers and symbols.
If you do you can be pretty secure for awhile as long as you change that regularly.
But if you have just six or seven letters the hacker can crack that in less than a minute.
That's kind of scary.
Who -- for people who are really good at hacking into computers what do we do differently in the United States.
Then let's say they do and Russia are the other countries does and you've written about this and said that we not have the best approach.
Well I I think we've taken a very much a law enforcement view of of hackers in our country in fact relations are pretty poisonous between authority and the hacking community in this country.
On the other hand in places like Russia China and elsewhere.
The master hackers are courted.
There is a young man a few weeks ago Aaron Swartz or real pioneering figure him in the Internet.
Who decided he wanted to put all the academic articles ever written.
-- in journals.
Online and available to everyone's out to a professor we just love this idea right.
But he accessed MIT journals illicitly.
And the government was going to put them on trial for 35 years could have been his sentence if found guilty.
I instead of going to trial or taking a plea he killed himself and that's not the only -- suicide out there.
Recently I took a position asking President Obama to pardon a British -- Billions autistic man who got into our defense systems wanted to know about UFO as Terry who doesn't -- And he did a little bit of disruption in the in the course of his journey into our information systems and we spent about ten years trying to extradite him from Britain.
The home secretary they're finally ruled that -- he was a suicide threats and they would not extradite him.
I think this might be a nice opportunity to send a signal to the hacker community that.
Look we have to figure out a way to take to get along here -- -- -- thank you so much for being with us today thank you the president.