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Panetta: military could respond to imminent cyber attack

updated 12:36 am EDT, Fri October 12, 2012

Pre-emptive strike allegedly allowed under pending executive order

In what could be called the first major policy speech by a defense secretary on cyber security, US military head Leon Panetta said that the US military could be called upon to act preemptively if it detects an imminent threat of cyber attack such as that perpetrated against the White House Military Office. During the remarks made at a gathering of business leaders in New York, Panetta decried insufficient investment by US business leaders in internet security measures, and mentioned that a Presidential executive order was being considered "while we wait for Congress to act."

Panetta warned that foreign government-backed hackers were targeting computer systems regulating chemical, electrical, and water plants, as well as transportation system controls. "We know of specific instances where intruders have successfully gained access to these control systems. We also know that they are seeking to create advanced tools to attack these systems and cause panic, and destruction, and even the loss of life," Panetta said.

Giving an example, Panetta recounted the August attack on Aramco, the Saudi Arabian state-run oil company. "All told, the Shamoon virus was probably the most destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date," he said. A US official briefing reporters on the speech said the US knew who carried out the Mideast attacks on energy companies, but declined to provide the information, citing national security and intelligence sourcing concerns.

"Potential aggressors should be aware that the United States has the capacity to locate them and to hold them accountable for actions that may try to harm America," Panetta said. "If we detect an imminent threat of attack that will cause significant physical destruction in the United States or kill American citizens, we need to have the option to take action against those who would attack us."



By Electronista Staff
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  1. The Vicar

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-01-09

    Yes, absolutely. If someone starts attacking government computers, then the government has a complete right to start a war over it immediately.

    One little problem: the U.S. and Israel got caught a month or two back deliberately attacking Iranian government computers. Does that mean that Iran can start launching bombs at us now?

  1. prl99

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 03-24-09

    No, it only applies to the other guys. The US can do anything it wants to do because we're always right and everything we do is for justice and equality. It never has anything to do with greed. :->

    The wars must be winding down so Panetta needs to find something else to keep his job. Why not fight the cyber terrorists? Wait. Guns can't kill electrons so what are they going to do? Take over the internet world-wide and install kill switches to shut everyone down who has the nerve to disagree with US policies? That sounds about right.

    Before we immediately attack someone we think was trying to do something to us, it might be better if we spent some of those billions of dollars going to war contractors pockets on installing proper SCADA protection on our utilities and resources. (Look up SCADA to see what it means and you'll know why this needs to be done. Guns can't protect computer systems.)

  1. blahblahbber

    Banned

    Joined: 02-01-05

    Originally Posted by prl99View Post

    No, it only applies to the other guys. The US can do anything it wants to do because we're always right and everything we do is for justice and equality. It never has anything to do with greed. :->
    The wars must be winding down so Panetta needs to find something else to keep his job. Why not fight the cyber terrorists? Wait. Guns can't kill electrons so what are they going to do? Take over the internet world-wide and install kill switches to shut everyone down who has the nerve to disagree with US policies? That sounds about right.
    Before we immediately attack someone we think was trying to do something to us, it might be better if we spent some of those billions of dollars going to war contractors pockets on installing proper SCADA protection on our utilities and resources. (Look up SCADA to see what it means and you'll know why this needs to be done. Guns can't protect computer systems.)

    FULLY AGREE. The "war" on DoS attacks is the new norm... I can just see that the same Corps that supply/build weapons or energy related technologies need new revenue streams. They also will need an extra stitch or two to reinforce their bulging pockets while they're at it.

    FEAR.... oh where is it with DoS attacks?

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