Cyber weaknesses should deter US from waging war

Nov 08, 2011 LOLITA C. BALDOR , Associated Press
In this Feb. 19, 2010 photo, Richard A. Clarke, a former advisor to the president for security, attends a news conference of the film "S.O.S. - State of Security" at the International Film Festival Berlinale in Berlin. Clarke says America's computer systems are so vulnerable to attack that it should deter U.S. leaders from going to war with other nations. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

(AP) -- America's critical computer networks are so vulnerable to attack that it should deter U.S. leaders from going to war with other nations, a former top U.S. cybersecurity official said Monday.

Richard Clarke, a top adviser to three presidents, joined a number of U.S. military and civilian experts in offering a dire assessment of America's at a conference, saying the country simply can't protect its critical networks.

Clarke said if he was advising the president he would warn against attacking other countries because so many of them - including , , Iran and Russia - could retaliate by launching devastating cyberattacks that could destroy , banking networks or transportation systems.

The U.S. military, he said, is entirely dependent on computer systems and could end up in a future conflict in which troops trot out onto a battlefield "and nothing works."

Clarke said a good national security adviser would tell the president that the U.S. might be able to blow up a somewhere, or a terrorist training center somewhere, but a number of countries could strike back with a and "the entire us economic system could be crashed in retaliation ... because we can't defend it today."

"I really don't know to what extent the weapon systems that have been developed over the last 10 years have been penetrated, to what extent the chips are compromised, to what extent the code is compromised," Clarke said. "I can't assure you that as you go to war with a cybersecurity-conscious, cybersecurity-capable enemy that any of our stuff is going to work."

Clarke, along with Gen. Keith Alexander, who heads both the and U.S. Cyber Command, told the conference crowd that the U.S. needs to do a better job at eliminating network vulnerabilities and more aggressively seek out malware or viruses in American corporate, military and .

But Clarke was more strident about pushing for broader government regulations to enforce such improvements, despite political reluctance. The problems, he said, will not be fixed unless the government gets more involved.

He added that the U.S. also needs to make it clear to countries such as China that efforts to use computer-based attacks to steal high-tech American data will be punished.

In a forceful and detailed public report last week. U.S. intelligence officials accused China and Russia of systematically stealing sensitive U.S. economic information and technologies for their own national economic gain.

The report called on the U.S. to confront China and Russia in a broad diplomatic push to combat cyberattacks that are on the rise and which represent a "persistent threat to U.S. economic security."

On Monday, Clarke said that until there are real consequences for the massive espionage, countries like China will still keep stealing.

Explore further: Startups offer banking for smartphone users

3.7 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US senators call for cybersecurity czar

Apr 01, 2009

Two US senators introduced legislation on Wednesday aimed at creating a powerful national cybersecurity advisor who would report directly to the president.

White House set to unveil cyber plan

May 12, 2011

The White House on Thursday is expected to unveil its proposal to enhance the nation's cybersecurity, laying out plans to require industry to better protect systems that run critical infrastructure like the electrical grid, ...

US report blasts China, Russia for cybercrime

Nov 03, 2011

(AP) -- Cyberattacks by Chinese and Russian intelligence services, as well corporate hackers in those countries, have swallowed up large amounts of high-tech American research and development data, and that stolen information ...

US adviser says cybersecurity must be joint effort

Apr 23, 2009

(AP) -- The challenge of protecting the government's computer networks is too big for any one agency to handle alone, a top adviser to President Barack Obama said Wednesday. That suggests the administration doesn't intend ...

Pentagon to publish strategy for cyberspace wars

Jul 14, 2011

(AP) -- Facing escalating risks of cyberattacks by hackers, criminals and other nations, the Pentagon is developing more resilient computer networks so the military can continue to operate if critical systems are breached ...

Recommended for you

Startups offer banking for smartphone users

Aug 30, 2014

The latest banks are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Startups, such as Moven and Simple, offer banking that's designed specifically for smartphones, enabling users to track their spending on the go. Some things ...

Ecuador heralds digital currency plans (Update)

Aug 29, 2014

Ecuador is planning to create what it calls the world's first digital currency issued by a central bank, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country's existing currency, ...

'SwaziLeaks' looks to shake up jet-setting monarchy

Aug 29, 2014

As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to end a two-year forced stay at Ecuador's London embassy, he may take comfort in knowing he inspired resistance to secrecy in places as far away as Swaziland.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Birthmark
not rated yet Nov 08, 2011
Let's stay out of war so we won't get hurt, let's not stay out of war so others wont get hurt, out of compassion and intelligence. America.