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[] CNN: Rumsfeld: Cyberwar among possible threats,

Rumsfeld: Cyberwar among possible threats

By Martyn Williams

(IDG) -- The vulnerability of U.S. information networks and a belief that a future attack 
against the U.S. may be launched in cyberspace is high in the mind of U.S. Secretary 
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as he plots to change the U.S. armed forces so they 
can better defend against unconventional threats.

"Our challenge in this new century is a different one," Rumsfeld told an audience at 
the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, according to a 
transcript. "It's really to defend our nation against the unknown, the uncertain and, 
what we have to understand, will be the unexpected. That may seem on the face of it 
an impossible task but it is not."

"There is a great deal we can learn from this first war of the 21st century, but we 
cannot and must not make the mistake of assuming that terrorism is the only threat. 
The next threat we face may indeed be from terrorists, but it could also be cyber-war, 
a traditional state-on-state conflict or something entirely different," said Rumsfeld.

With this as a background, Rumsfeld said he has six goals for transforming U.S. 
defense strategy including "to protect our info networks from attack," and "to use info 
technology to link up different kinds of U.S. forces so they can, in fact, act jointly."

His speech came just over four months after the attacks on the World Trade Center 
and the Pentagon -- attacks that served to highlight the vulnerability of key 
telecommunications and information networks.

In the wake of the attacks, some telecommunication networks in the New York City 
area were paralyzed after several key exchanges were taken offline, either because 
of damage to cables, the buildings they are housed in or a loss of power. Beyond 
New York, where telephone calls went unconnected and bank ATM machines were 
offline, the effects spread around the world as trading on the New York Stock 
Exchange and Nasdaq markets was suspended and Internet traffic routed through 
New York was slowed.

The growing importance of infrastructure systems, such as telecommunication and 
non-IT sectors like banking and finance, and the chaos feared if the systems were 
attacked led to the creation of the National Infrastructure Protection Center in 
February 1998. Located at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's headquarters in 
Washington, the NIPC brings together representatives of national, state and local 
agencies and the private sector to work on protecting key sectors.

To date, the NIPC has spent much time on IT issues, tracking large scale outbreaks 
of computer viruses, such as the "Code Red" worm that hit in early September last 
year and hacking cases, such as denial of service attacks against major Web sites.

Find this article at:

Ruhr-University Bochum
European Institute for IT-Security (EURUBITS)
IC 4/44
Universitaetsstrasse 150
44780 Bochum

Tel +49 (0)234 - 32 - 261 82
Fax +49 (0)234 - 32 -143 89
Mob +49 (0)175 - 520 605 9


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