Chinese hackers “bombard” the Pentagon’s computer systems “by the millions each and every day” searching for a point of entry into the sensitive U.S. computing systems, according to officials speaking at an event on cybersecurity on Tuesday.
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and other high-level former U.S. officials warned during a discussion at The American Center for Democracy (ACD) that the U.S. government is woefully underprepared to combat and repel even the most benign type of cyber attack.
“The Chinese are continuing to engage in not only economic but propaganda warfare over the Internet,” Mukasey said at the event. Chinese hackers, many of them affiliated with the Communist government, routinely break into military computers and U.S. email accounts.
“We have, to put it mildly, a very serious cyber security problem,” Woolsey said at the event.
The U.S. electric grid remains particularly vulnerable to a cyber attack, the primary weapon of choice for nations such as China, Russia, and Iran.
“We’ve not done a responsible job taking care of our infrastructure because no one’s in charge,” Woolsey said, decrying the Obama administration’s failure to implement concrete safeguard meant to deter such attacks. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, for instance, “could be absolutely devastating to all electronics,” including those used by U.S. security agencies such as the CIA, the NSA, and the military, Woolsey warned.
The Russians, the Israelis, and a slew of other governments have been “hardening” their cyber defenses against such an attack, but the United States has done nothing on this front, Woolsey said.
“It’s possible to create such a pulse with the detonation of a relatively simple nuclear weapon,” he explained. “It doesn’t have to be complicated … it just has to go off 50 miles” above the earth.
The threat is not hypothetical, Woolsey added.
“We have now a couple of people” such as North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who “are quite capable of Hitler-like behavior.”
Full article: Taking Cybersecurity Seriously (Washington Free Beacon)