http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A6846-2002Feb13.html 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 Wednesday. "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." - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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