NATO plans force to respond to cyber attacks

SpaceDaily.com reports: “NATO wants to beef up its cyber defence capabilities with the creation of a special task force to detect and respond to Internet attacks, an alliance expert said Wednesday at a conference on cyber security here.

‘NATO is planning to establish the Cyber Red Team (…) that would provide a significant contribution to the improvement of NATO’s cyber defence capability,’ Luc Dandurand and expert with NATO’s C3 Agency told delegates to the alliance’s third annual cyber defence conference.

The new NATO cyber force could be involved in simulating threats and controlling readiness to response, gathering and using public information from open sources, scanning and probing networks as well as conducting denial-of-service attacks against specific services or networks, according to Dandurand.

The Symantec cyber security firm recently reported that web-based attacks in 2010 were up 93 percent from 2009.

‘The need for such a team is obvious,’ Dandurand said, adding it would primarily be tasked with detecting, responding to and assessing the ‘damage cyber-attacks can cause in a military sense.’

Dandurand also highlighted legal and privacy issues that must be addressed before NATO’s cyber force can take shape.

‘The two main issues identified at this point are the need to legitimize the Cyber Red Team activities that could otherwise be construed as the malicious or unauthorized use of computer systems, and the potential for invasion of privacy resulting from cyber red team activities,’ he told experts gathered at NATO’s Tallinn-based Cyber Defence Centre…” (CIA Director Leon Panetta warns: “The U.S. now faces a ‘blizzard of threats’, he states: ‘The Cold War has been replaced by the “Blizzard War” ranging from festering insurgences to cyber-attacks which could cripple government, utilities and computers — the next “Pearl Harbor”’.)

U.S. Pentagon to treat cyber-attacks as ‘acts of war’

BBC News reports: “The US is working on a plan to categorise cyber-attacks as acts of war, says the New York Times newspaper.

In future, a US president could consider economic sanctions, cyber-retaliation or a military strike if key US computer systems were attacked, officials have said recently.

The planning was given added urgency by a cyber-attack last on the defence contractor, Lockheed Martin.

A new report from the Pentagon is due out in a matter of weeks.

‘A response to a cyber-incident or attack on the US would not necessarily be a cyber-response. All appropriate options would be on the table,’ Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told reporters…

The Pentagon’s planning follows an international strategy statement on cyber-security, issued by the White House on 16 May.

The US would ‘respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as we would to any other threat to our country’, stated the White House in plain terms.

‘We reserve the right to use all necessary means – diplomatic, informational, military, and economic – as appropriate and consistent with applicable international law, in order to defend our nation, our allies, our partners and our interests.’

The strategy will classify major cyber-attacks as acts of war, paving the way for possible military retaliation, reported The Wall Street Journal after interviewing defence officials…” (Cyber-attacks could destroy everything within a nation that’s controlled by computers. Because of such attacks a nation could be brought to its knees within hours. Cyber-attacks should be treated as ‘Acts of War’ in order to preserve a nation – II Timothy 3:1; Luke 21:25. See the next four reports to understand the seriousness of the situation globally.)

White House unveils global cyberspace strategy

SpaceDaily.com reports: “The White House unveiled a set of policy proposals Monday for international cooperation in ensuring an open and secure Internet.

‘Together, we can work together to build a future for cyberspace that is open, interoperable, secure, and reliable,’ US President Barack Obama wrote in an introduction to the 25-page ‘International Strategy for Cyberspace.’

Obama, who has made cybersecurity a top priority along with diplomatic engagement, wrote that the document ‘outlines not only a vision for the future of cyberspace but an agenda for realizing it.

‘It provides the context for our partners at home and abroad to understand our priorities and how we can come together to preserve the character of cyberspace and reduce the threats we face,’ he wrote.

The policy document is short on specifics but provides goals and a framework for international cooperation in promoting the US vision for cyberspace in what it called seven priority areas…”

North Korea’s Cyber Army Gets Increasingly Sophisticated

FoxNews.com reports: “While the world worries about North Korea’s nuclear weapons, its leader seems to be thinking that the more important battlefield involves cyber warfare.

‘Modern war is electronic warfare. Victory or defeat in a modern war depends on how to carry out electronic warfare.,’ Kim Jong-Il told his military several years ago. He has since made cyber warfare a top, though secret, priority of his paranoid regime. And the first salvos of that war have fired.

Over the past year, North Korea has been suspected of involvement in ever-larger cyber attacks against South Korea, as many as 15,000 a day, according to the South Korean intelligence estimates. And as the attacks continue, so does their sophistication.

At first the cyber attacks, such as the massive July 4 attack in 1999 against government sites in the U.S. and South Korea, were basic — even primitive — ‘denial of service’ assaults in which an array of computers simply overwhelm sites. But as time passed, other more sophisticated attacks have come to light, including one in which a South Korean military officer’s computer was targeted and contingency plans of the U.S. response to troubles was stolen.

The latest attack on April 12 hit South Korea’s Nonghyup Bank and caused the bank’s computer systems to collapse, leaving 30 million account holders without access to their money for several days. Prosecutors in South Korea say they linked the attack to a computer run by the North’s Reconnaissance General Bureau.

In fact, South Korea’s intelligence agencies now believe that North Korea has the capability to ‘paralyze the U.S. Pacific Command and cause extensive damage to defense networks inside the United States.’

Among the most frequent visitors to U.S. military web sites, according to the U.S. Defense Department, are computers traced to North Korea.

Much like the clandestine nuclear program run by the rogue state, its cyber warfare capability is shrouded in secret and analysts differ on how extensive and sophisticated it has become. But the recent attacks and an increasing body of evidence from defectors paint an alarming picture…”

Enter Unit 8200: Israel arms for cyberwar

SpaceDaily.com reports: “Amid mounting tensions in the Middle East, Israel’s outgoing internal security chief, Yuval Diskin, says the Jewish state has been the target of attempted cyberattacks on key state infrastructure.

The attacker’s identity was not disclosed, if indeed it is known. But the apparently unsuccessful attempts may have been retaliation by Iran for recent cyberattacks, blamed on Israel, on Tehran’s contentious nuclear program.

In March 2010 the head of Israel’s Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, disclosed that the Jewish state had become a world leader in cyberwarfare.

It was not clear why Yadlin, who headed one of the most secretive branches of Israel’s military, would lift the veil on such a sensitive issue.

But it was widely seen as a warning to Israel’s foes that it had the means to paralyze their infrastructure, such as electricity grids, water, transportation and financial systems and military command networks…”

Netanyahu: Israel needs to be at forefront of cyber warfare

The Jerusalem Post reports: “Israel should be a global cyber-power, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said during a conference on cyber warfare at Tel Aviv University.

The premier said Israel must be a significant player in the new cyber warfare arena, adding that ‘we are preparing ourselves’ in line with that aim, Channel 10 reported.

The conference is being held under the headline of ‘exploring the Cyber warfare arena from the global, national and technological aspects, and reviewing threats and best practices.’ It has been organized by Tel Aviv University’s Yuval Neeman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security and the Institute for National Security Studies.

‘Although the field is not precise… we must enter it… and become a world cyber-power. This is possible. We’re no longer crawling, we’re walking, and soon, we will be running forward,’ Netanyahu added.

Fast-paced changes in technology means that Israel, like all technologically dependent countries, has become reliant on cybernetics in the field of transport, aviation, banking, medical care and defense, Netanyahu warned. ‘The more computerized we get, the more vulnerable we become. There is therefore no choice but to deal with this in a more systematic and focused manner,’ he added, noting the sectors of defense, industry-business, and academic-science sectors as crucial fields of activity.

The Institute for National Security Studies released a new study that said a world-wide cybernetics arms race has already begun, including the establishment of offices and headquarters in various countries dedicated to this latest battleground…”