Monday, June 24, 2013

Top-secret Leak: America preparing for cyberwar

Top-secret Leak: America preparing for cyberwar

June 23, 2013 | Politics & Government


CyberwarThe Guardian yesterday published an 18-page long secret presidential directive in which President Obama ordered senior national security and intelligence officials to make a list of potential overseas targets for US cyber-attacks.

This Presidential Policy Directive 20 was issued last year in October, and was never published. The document states that Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO) “can offer unique and unconventional capabilities to advance US national objectives around the world with little or no warning to the adversary or target and with potential effects ranging from subtle to severely damaging”.

The document also says “Specific Presidential approval is required for any cyber operations including cyber collection, DCEO, and OCEO — determined by the head of a department or agency to conduct the operation to be reasonably likely to result in “significant consequences” as defined in this directive.”

This latest document lays the work for a potential cyber offensive for the country.

Last year in October the House of Representatives’ intelligence committee Report mentioned growing US governmental and commercial concern over cyber-attacks that are traced to China. The report recommended that US government computer systems should not include any components from two Chinese firms ZTE and Huawei since this could pose a risk of cyber espionage.

US is already known to be a target of cyber hacking (malware attack) activities. Earlier this year we got news that Pentagon is establishing “an offensive team” of experts to carry cyber attacks against foreign countries that target US.

President Obama is also talked about for the launching of cyberwar with Israel against Iran’s nuclear project. The Stuxnet and Flame viruses (It was later found that portions of Flame virus were nearly identical to parts of StuxNet virus discovered in 2011) have been known to cause immense damage to Iran’s nuclear project.

If you are unclear what a simple cyber attack can do, it could “derail trains across the country, could cause power blackouts – not just by shutting off the power but by permanently damaging generators that would take months to replace. They could do things like cause [oil or gas] pipelines to explode. They could ground aircraft” – said Richard A Clarke, Adviser on counter-terrorism and cyber-security to presidents Clinton and Bush.

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