April 8, 2009

MAD: The Infrastructure Wars

It's rather well known in IT circles that China and Russia have been creeping around in the bowels of our nation's computers for years.  It's way too late to shut the barn door on computer security.  The Wall Street Journal reports today that our enemies have socked away sleeping timebombs, ready to do their bidding, in our electric grid. 

Many of the intrusions were detected not by the companies in charge of the infrastructure but by U.S. intelligence agencies, officials said. Intelligence officials worry about cyber attackers taking control of electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or financial networks via the Internet.

Authorities investigating the intrusions have found software tools left behind that could be used to destroy infrastructure components, the senior intelligence official said. He added, "If we go to war with them, they will try to turn them on."

Officials said water, sewage and other infrastructure systems also were at risk.

"Over the past several years, we have seen cyberattacks against critical infrastructures abroad, and many of our own infrastructures are as vulnerable as their foreign counterparts," Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair recently told lawmakers. "A number of nations, including Russia and China, can disrupt elements of the U.S. information infrastructure."

One thing America has over these countries is really, really good, inventive programmers.  If we haven't already, I think we should set them loose as cyber warriors... unleash our cyber hounds to hack China and Russia and whoever else we're worried about.  One thing that has prevented China and Russia from trying to Nuke America is MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction).  We need to make sure our enemies know that if our electric grid goes down because of them, their software systems will be destroyed as well.  MAD:  The Infrastructure Wars.

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