Yes! The United States is under constant cyberattack.
First let’s discuss what is a cyberattack?
A cyberattack is the deliberate exploitation of computer systems. Cyberattacks use malicious code to alter computer code. This results in disruptive consequences that can compromise data and lead to all kinds of catastrophic events.
Who conducts such attacks?
There are many entities that conduct cyberattacks. They include: national governments, industrial spies, terrorists, organized crime, hacktivists, and hackers. This list is far from complete but should give you a good idea that the issue is wide spread. For a detailed definition of these groups click here.
What countries use state sponsored attackers or hackers?
China, North Korea, and Iran, just to name a few. Daesh or ISIS while not a state actor is one of the largest and most sophisticated terrorist groups to use technology to its advantage.
What do hackers or attackers want?
- To cause damage
(All links open in a new tab or window)
There are times the main stream media doesn’t tell you it’s an attack, but if you learn to connect the dots you realize it could be little else. There are hack or cyber attacks reported at least once a week. They may be either corporate or government in nature, but they happen.
Let’s go back in time to July 8, 2015. United Airlines suffered a computer glitch that caused it to ground all of its flights. Grounding an entire airline is no small feat. The same day the NYSE had a “computer glitch” that caused it to suspend trading. Phew, glad that’s over. Wait, the Wall Street Journal website is down too. So transportation, financial and media were attacked on that day. If the outages ad been more wide spread or combined with other forms of attack I shudder to think about the consequences.
The Senate homeland security chairman Ron Johnson stated that he is concerned that the US isn’t doing enough to stop these cyberattacks. Johnson doesn’t feel that the threat is being taken seriously by the current administration.
The military is beefing up security around certain systems especially those that involve the Trident missile system. That’s a nuclear missile. Imagine if ISIS was able to hack one and launch it. Just the thought makes me shudder. The US military currently has 100 cyber warfare teams conducting both offensive and defensive operations. While we may be bigger stronger and tougher that any of our top attackers in a conventional war cyberspace is an equalizer, the gaps are much narrower.
Remember that list of state sponsors of cyber warfare? Russia and China were both on it. Well they signed an agreement not to attack each other, so two of the worlds best are now in an alliance against us. China props up North Korea and will occasionally share data with them. (I’ll do a whole post about North Korea in the near future.)
Why would Iran want to attack the US? Didn’t we just sign a major deal with them?
Yes, we did sign a deal with them. One I don’t think they have any intention of honoring. The deal was over their nuclear weapons program. This deal also listed most of the sanctions that were in place to keep most of the western world from trading with them. Those sanctions are gone and we gave them a monetary bonus. In my opinion this was a huge mistake. Obama signed a bad deal so he could add to his legacy. Iran has cheated on all of their deals. The leadership of Iran is delusional in my opinion and a bit nuts. I say delusional because they deny the Holocaust ever happened they say the deaths are just propaganda and did not occur. (I sense a blog post about Iran in the future.) I say they are a bit nuts for a few reasons. They set up mock ups and attack them in a show of defiance, they chant death to America on a regular basis, usually on Fridays around prayer time. They want to wipe Israel, our ally and the only democracy in the Middle East off the map. I digress.
Iran wants information they have been so cut off from the world that their technology and industries are behind those of the west. Their targets, at least some of them are aimed at corporations, including those who build military equipment. Yes I just said those that build equipment for the military.
Now if all of this isn’t bad enough even the military isn’t sure who reacts and how during a massive cyber attack on domestic targets. There are a number of issues that complicate the possible chain of command but like the lack of communication between first responders on 9-11 it needs to be fixed ASAP. (more like yesterday) I hope Ash Carter makes getting this straightened out a top priority.
My final word on Cyberattacks, if you don’t believe me here’s a link to a real time map of when and where the attacks are taking place.
Something positive to end the post:
Lucca is a Marine dog who was honored at a ceremony in the UK. This wonderful service dog served for six years, that’s longer than 2% of the population of the United States. Lucca is also credited with saving thousands of lives. I don’t know too many humans who can claim that honor.
Don’t forget to follow my blog and podcast.