Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cyber-War...has it already begun?

Of the $80 billion the U.S. spends each year in military research, according to 60 Minutes, some $11 Billion is dedicated to researching and combating cyber-war. (60 Minutes, Sunday, June 13, 2010)
Each day, reportedly hundreds of thousands of "hits" are made against the electrical power grid, the financial system, the military system and many (unknown number) of "penetrations" are successful. The names of the perpetrators of these hits and penetrations is either unknown, or being kept secret; however, there is little doubt that "implants" have been found inside existing systems that could, if activated, derail the existing system.
By cracking the financial system, for example, professional hackers have been able to rob existing bank accounts after having stolen the pin security numbers, and having penetrated the bank's accounting system.
As one expert put it, "The banking system is based on confidence; what happens when that confidence is removed?" There is more money stolen through the internet from existing bank accounts than there is from "over-the-counter" walk-in robbers.
And to top the story off, one of the writers of a report requested by the Obama administration into this danger zone, the U.S. is "at the top of the league" that is involved in this form of espionage. In other words, if the U.S. were to complain that another country were involved in sabotaging the American security system, the recipient of such a complaint could and likely would respond, "How can you complain about us when you are doing the same thing to us and to other countries?" And they would have a legitimate case.
So, will the next war be fought exclusively from the key-pad of some very sophisticated computers, without a single "shot" being fired in the tradiional sense? If so, why is Lockheed-Martin proudly announcing the "fighter" that will preserve American dominance of the skies for the next forty years?
Makes a head spin, realizing the size of the different initiatives being undertaken by the Pentagon, "over-seen" by the U.S. Senate, including the complexity of the differing and likely even conflicting scenarios for which the government is "planning" and "researching."
Is the oversight necessary even feasible, given the degree of sophistication achieved among the "experts" compared to the relative naivety of the over-seers? Have the experts out-stripped the capacity of the overseers to do their job?

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