Cyberwarfare in the United States
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (June 2014)|
Cyberwarfare in the United States is an important issue. As a major developed economy, the US is highly dependant on the Internet and very exposed to attack, yet at the same time has very significant capabilities in both defense and power projection thanks to its advanced technology and large military budget.
The United States Cyber Command centralizes command of cyberspace operations, organizes existing cyber resources and synchronizes defense of U.S. military networks. It is an armed forces sub-unified command subordinate to United States Strategic Command.
- 1 The Five Pillars
- 2 Cyberattack as an act of war
- 3 Attacks on other nations
- 4 Cyber threat information sharing
- 5 United States Cyber Command components
- 6 Events
- 7 See also
- 8 Further reading
- 9 References
The Five Pillars
The five pillars is the framework for the United States military strategy for cyberwarfare. The first pillar is to recognize that the new domain for warfare is cyberspace similar to the other elements in the battlespace. The second pillar is proactive defenses as opposed to passive defense. Two examples of passive defense are computer hygiene and firewalls. The balance of the attacks require active defense using sensors to provide a rapid response to detect and stop a cyber attack on a computer network. This would provide military tactics to backtrace, hunt down and attack an enemy intruder. The third pillar is critical infrastructure protection (CIP) to ensure the protection of critical infrastructure. The fourth pillar is the use of collective defense, which would provide the ability of early detection and to incorporate them into the cyberwarfare defence structure. The fifth pillar is maintain and enhance the advantage of technological change. This would include improved computer literacy and increasing artificial intelligence capabilities.
Cyberattack as an act of war
In 2013, the Defense Science Board, an independent advisory committee to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, went further, stating that "The cyber threat is serious, with potential consequences similar in some ways to the nuclear threat of the Cold War," and recommending, in response to the "most extreme case" (described as a "catastrophic full spectrum cyber attack"), that "Nuclear weapons would remain the ultimate response and anchor the deterrence ladder." In a full-scale attack, the report warns of the following scenario:
Attacks on other nations
In June 2010, Iran was the victim of a cyber attack when its nuclear facility in Natanz was infiltrated by the cyber-worm ‘Stuxnet’, said to be the most advanced piece of malware ever discovered and significantly increases the profile of cyberwarfare. It destroyed perhaps over 1000 nuclear centrifuges and, according to a Business Insider article, "[set] Tehran's atomic programme back by at least two years."
Despite a lack of official confirmation, Gary Samore, White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction, made a public statement, in which he said, "we're glad they [the Iranians] are having trouble with their centrifuge machine and that we – the US and its allies – are doing everything we can to make sure that we complicate matters for them", offering "winking acknowledgement" of US involvement in Stuxnet.
In 2013, Edward Snowden, a former systems administrator for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a counterintelligence trainer at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), revealed that the United States government had hacked into Chinese mobile phone companies to collect text messages and had spied on Tsinghua University, one of China’s biggest research institutions, as well as home to one of China’s six major backbone networks, the China Education and Research Network (CERNET), from where internet data from millions of Chinese citizens could be mined. He said U.S. spy agencies has been watching China and Hong Kong for years.
According to classified documents provided by Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency (NSA) has also infiltrated the servers in the headquarters of Huawei, China's largest telecommunications company and the largest telecommunications equipment maker in the world. The plan is to exploit Huawei’s technology so that when the company sold equipment to other countries — including both allies and nations that avoid buying American products — the NSA could roam through their computer and telephone networks to conduct surveillance and, if ordered by the president, offensive cyberoperations.
- In 1982, a computer control system stolen from a Canadian company by Soviet spies caused a Soviet gas pipeline to explode. The code for the control system had been modified by the CIA to include a logic bomb which changed the pump speeds to cause the explosion.
- In 1991, it was reported by the US Air Force that a computer virus named AF/91 was created and was installed on a printer chip and made its way to Iraq via Amman, Jordan. Its job was to make the Iraqi anti-aircraft guns malfunction; however, according to the story, the central command center was bombed and the virus was destroyed. The virus, however, was found to be a fake.
- In 1998, in order for US and NATO to bomb Serbian targets successfully in Kosovo, the USA needed to hack into the Serbian air defense system and trick the Serbian Air Traffic Controllers. The US accomplished its goal so well that there was concern about continuing or escalating the attacks because the US didn't want to hack into any further Serbian targets because of fear of damaging civilian targets.
Cyber threat information sharing
The Pentagon has had an information sharing arrangement, the Defense Industrial Base Cybersecurity and Information Assurance (DIBCIA) program, in place with some private defense contractors since 2007 to which access was widened in 2012.
A number of other information sharing initiatives such as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) and Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) have been proposed, but failed for various reasons including over fears that they have too few limits, and could be used to spy on the general public.
United States Cyber Command components
United States Cyber Command
The United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) is a United States armed forces sub-unified command subordinate to United States Strategic Command. USCYBERCOM plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries."
Army Cyber Command
- Army Network Enterprise Technology Command / 9th Army Signal Command
- Portions of 1st Information Operations Command (Land)
- United States Army Intelligence and Security Command will be under the operational control of ARCYBER for cyber-related actions.
Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command
United States Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command is a functional formation of the United States Marine Corps to protect infrastructure from cyberwarfare.
The Navy Cyber Forces (CYBERFOR) is the type commander for the U.S. Navy's global cyber workforce. The headquarters is located at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. CYBERFOR provides forces and equipment in cryptology/signals intelligence, cyber, electronic warfare, information operations, intelligence, networks, and space. In September 2013, the United States Naval Academy will offer undergraduate students the opportunity to major in Cyber Operations.
Twenty-Fourth Air Force
The Twenty-Fourth Air Force (24 AF) is a Numbered Air Force (NAF) with the United States Air Force (USAF). The USAF is consolidating its cyberspace combat forces into 24 AF. The Twenty-Fourth Air Force, will be the Air Force component of United States Cyber Command (USCYBER). The 24AF has the following components:
United States Tenth Fleet
The United States Tenth Fleet is a functional formation of the United States Navy. It was first created as an anti submarine warfare coordinating organization during the Battle of the Atlantic in the Second World War. It has been reactivated as Fleet Cyber Command. The tenth fleet components are:
- Naval Network Warfare Command
- Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command
- Naval Information Operation Commands
- Combined Task Forces
- Systems in the US military and private research institutions were penetrated from March 1998 for almost two years in an incident called Moonlight Maze. The United States Department of Defense traced the trail back to a mainframe computer in the former Soviet Union but the sponsor of the attacks is unknown and Russia denies any involvement.
- Titan Rain was the U.S. government's designation given to a series of coordinated attacks on American computer systems since 2003. The attacks were labeled as Chinese in origin, although their precise nature (i.e., state-sponsored espionage, corporate espionage, or random hacker attacks) and their real identities (i.e., masked by proxy, zombie computer, spyware/virus infected) remain unknown.
- In 2007, the United States government suffered "an espionage Pearl Harbor" in which an unknown foreign power...broke into all of the high tech agencies, all of the military agencies, and downloaded terabytes of information.
- In 2008, a hacking incident occurred on a U.S. Military facility in the Middle East. United States Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III had the Pentagon release a document, which reflected a "malicious code" on a USB flash drive spread undetected on both classified and unclassified Pentagon systems, establishing a digital beachhead, from which data could be transferred to servers under foreign control. "It was a network administrator's worst fear: a rogue program operating silently, poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of an unknown adversary. This ... was the most significant breach of U.S. military computers ever and it served as an important wake-up call", Lynn wrote in an article for Foreign Affairs.
- On 9 February 2009, the White House announced that it will conduct a review of the nation's cyber security to ensure that the Federal government of the United States cyber security initiatives are appropriately integrated, resourced and coordinated with the United States Congress and the private sector.
- On 1 April 2009, U.S. lawmakers pushed for the appointment of a White House cyber security "czar" to dramatically escalate U.S. defenses against cyber attacks, crafting proposals that would empower the government to set and enforce security standards for private industry for the first time.
- On 7 April 2009, The Pentagon announced they spent more than $100 million in the last six months responding to and repairing damage from cyber attacks and other computer network problems.
- In December 2009 through January 2010, a cyber attack, dubbed Operation Aurora, was launched from China against Google and over 20 other companies. Google said the attacks originated from China and that it would "review the feasibility" of its business operations in China following the incident. According to Google, at least 20 other companies in various sectors had been targeted by the attacks. McAfee spokespersons claimed that "this is the highest profile attack of its kind that we have seen in recent memory."
- In February 2010, the United States Joint Forces Command released a study which included a summary of the threats posed by the internet: "The open and free flow of information favored by the West will allow adversaries an unprecedented ability to gather intelligence."
- On 19 June 2010, United States Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) introduced a bill called "Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010", which he co-wrote with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE). If signed into law, this controversial bill, which the American media dubbed the "Kill switch bill", would grant the President emergency powers over parts of the Internet. However, all three co-authors of the bill issued a statement that instead, the bill "[narrowed] existing broad Presidential authority to take over telecommunications networks".
- In August 2010, the U.S. for the first time is publicly warning about the Chinese military's use of civilian computer experts in clandestine cyber attacks aimed at American companies and government agencies. The Pentagon also pointed to an alleged China-based computer spying network dubbed GhostNet that was revealed in a research report last year. The Pentagon stated that the People's Liberation Army was using "information warfare units" to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks, and those units include civilian computer professionals. Commander Bob Mehal would monitor the PLA's buildup of its cyberwarfare capabilities and "will continue to develop capabilities to counter any potential threat." In response to these and other clandestine cyber attacks by China, Amitai Etzioni of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies has suggested that China and the United States should agree to a policy of mutually assured restraint with respect to cyberspace. This would involve allowing both states to take the measures they deem necessary for their self-defense while simultaneously agreeing to refrain from taking offensive steps; it would also entail vetting these commitments.
- In 2010, American General Keith B. Alexander endorsed talks with Russia over a proposal to limit military attacks in cyberspace, representing a significant shift in U.S. policy.
- In 2011 as part of The Anonymous attack on HBGary Federal information about private companies such as Endgame systems who design offensive software for the Department of Defense were revealed. It was shown that Endgame systems job applicants had previously "managed team of 15 persons, responsible for coordinating offensive computer network operations for the United States Department of Defense and other federal agencies."
- In October 2012, the Pentagon was to host contractors who "want to propose revolutionary technologies for understanding, planning and managing cyberwarfare. It is part of an ambitious program that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, calls Plan X, and the public description talks about 'understanding the cyber battlespace', quantifying 'battle damage' and working in DARPA's 'cyberwar laboratory.'"
- Starting in September 2012, denial of service attacks, were carried out against the New York Stock Exchange and a number of banks including J.P. Morgan Chase. Credit for these attacks was claimed by a hacktivist group called the Qassam Cyber Fighters who have labeled the attacks Operation Ababil. The attacks had been executed in several phases and were restarted in March 2013.
- In August 2014, "gigabytes" of sensitive data were reported stolen from JPMorgan Chase, and the company's internal investigation was reported to have found that the data was sent to a "major Russian city." The FBI was said to be investigating whether the breach was in retaliation for sanctions the United States had imposed on Russia in relation to the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine.
- On 29 May 2014, iSIGHT Partners uncovered a "long-term" and "unprecedented" cyber espionage that was "the most elaborate cyber espionage campaign using social engineering that has been uncovered to date from any nation". Labelled "Operation Newscaster", it targeted senior U.S. military and diplomatic personnel, congresspeople, journalists, lobbyists, think tankers and defense contractors, including a four-star admiral.
- In December 2014, Cylance Inc. published an investigation on so-called "Operation Cleaver" which targeted over 50 world's unnamed leading enterprises, including in United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation tacitly acknowledged the operation and "warned businesses to stay vigilant and to report any suspicious activity spotted on the companies' computer systems".
- In 2015 the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was victim to what has been described by federal officials as among the largest breaches of government data in the history of the United States, in which an estimated 21.5 million records were stolen. Information targeted in the breach included personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers,as well as names, dates and places of birth, and addresses, and likely involved theft of detailed background security-clearance-related background information.
- Air Force Cyber Command (Provisional)
- Computer insecurity
- Cyber spying
- Cyber terrorism
- Cyberwarfare by Russian state
- Defense Information Systems Network
- Denial-of-service attack
- Electronic warfare
- Hacker (computer security)
- Information warfare
- List of cyber attack threat trends
- Penetration testing
- Proactive Cyber Defence
- Siberian pipeline sabotage
- Signals intelligence
- Chinese Intelligence Operations in the United States
- Chinese Information Operations and Warfare
- Military-digital complex
- Economic and Industrial Espionage
- U.S. Cyber Command
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- Frequently Asked Questions
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