United States military officials have long been seeking to boost cyberwarfare capabilities beyond a defensive approach and towards protecting the Internet. In fact, cyber defense is considered to be in line with protecting air, land, sea and space and cyberwarfare capabilities are a must in ensuring protection.
Recently, I was reading a New York Times article and an Gen. C. Robert Kehler, a four-star Air Force General who oversees Pentagon cyber efforts, said that the U.S. is making plans for developing greater offensive cyberwarfare strategies. In addition, setting up rules for engagement specific to cyberattacks is necessary as the U.S. continues to see a great number of sophisticated “actors who operated in cyberspace.”
While I fully believe in the U.S. efforts to create stronger cyberwarfare strategies, I believe that making this a public discussion that is delivered through the press brings more attention to efforts and basically calls out to cyber criminals to launch efforts on government agencies.
It should be noted by any Federal department that any such discussion in the press has two serious repercussions:
- The ‘always-looking-for-a-cause’ cyber-graffiti crowd will see this as a challenge to attack federal entities and contractors
- Foreign governments with their own offensive cyber-warfare teams will come under their own political spotlight, which may likely require them to ‘prove their value’ to superiors and political backers.
Of course, federal agencies and government contractors should have their defenses shored up at all times, but particularly over the course of the next few weeks, they should be on the look out for Denial of Service (DoS) attacks and web page defacing as well as stepped up penetration attempts including more vigorous Advanced Persistent Threat (APTs) activity.