[ISN] Bush Adviser Warns Cyberterrorists

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Feb 14 2002 - 01:40:34 PST

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    By Jesse J. Holland
    Associated Press Writer
    Wednesday, February 13, 2002; 7:18 PM 
    WASHINGTON - The United States might retaliate militarily if foreign
    countries or terrorist groups abroad try to strike this country
    through the Internet, the White House technology adviser said
    "We reserve the right to respond in any way appropriate: through
    covert action, through military action, any one of the tools available
    to the president," Richard Clarke said at a Senate Judiciary
    subcommittee hearing on cyberterrorism.
    Clarke said Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China, Russia and other countries
    already are having people trained in Internet warfare.
    "A well-planned and well-executed cyberattack on America wouldn't just
    mean the temporary loss of e-mail and instant messaging," said Sen.  
    Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. "Terrorists could gain access to the digital
    controls for the nation's utilities, power grids, air traffic control
    systems and nuclear power plants."
    Clarke refused to say what level of cyberattack might lead to a
    military response from the United States. "That's the kind of
    ambiguity that we like to keep intentionally to create some
    deterrence," he told reporters.
    So far, the United States has not caught any foreign governments or
    terrorist group using Internet warfare, although that does not mean it
    has not been attempted, Clarke said.
    "We cannot point to a specific foreign government having done a
    specific unauthorized intrusion into a U.S. government network,"  
    Clarke said. "There are lots of cases where there has been
    unauthorized intrusions but we have never been able to prove to our
    particular satisfaction that a particular government did it."
    But, he added, "if I was a betting man, I'd bet that many of our key
    infrastructure systems already have been penetrated."
    Clarke said a serious cyberattack is almost inevitable because it is
    cheaper and easier for a foreign country or a terrorist group than a
    physical attack.
    America does need better security at its critical communication
    locations, Schumer said. A train accident in a Baltimore tunnel last
    year caused major Internet slowdowns in the mid-Atlantic states after
    fiber optic cable running through the tunnel was damaged. A terrorist
    attack could do even more damage, he said.
    The White House budget office said it expects the government to spend
    about $2.7 billion this fiscal year on computer and network security,
    a figure projected to rise to $4.2 billion in the 2003 federal budget.
    The budget office, in its first report to Congress on computer
    information security, reported that "many agencies have significant
    deficiencies in every important area of security."
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