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[] CIA prob CyberWarfare, Manoever "Silent Horizon"

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CIA war game simulates major Internet attack
Thu May 26, 2005 03:22 PM ET
By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA is conducting a cyber-war game this week 
geared to simulate a major Internet attack by enemy computer hackers, an 
intelligence official said Thursday.

Dubbed "Silent Horizon," the three-day unclassified exercise is based on a 
scenario set five years in the future and involves participants from 
government and the private sector.

"These are people who could likely be affected or enlisted in a real 
situation," the intelligence official said.

"Its goal is to help the United States recognize indicators of a large-scale 
cyber attack."

The exercise was being conducted in Charlottesville, Virginia, by members of 
the CIA's Information Operations Center, which evaluates foreign threats to 
U.S. computer systems, particularly those that support critical 
infrastructures. It was expected to conclude Thursday.

The federal government has conducted various attack simulations since the 
Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, which killed about 3,000 
people and prompted the U.S. war on terrorism.

Top U.S. intelligence officials say it may be only a matter of time before 
the United States is attacked again by terrorist groups including Osama bin 
Laden's al Qaeda.

Cyber attacks, which have drawn less publicity than possible chemical, 
biological, radiological and nuclear attacks, are viewed by U.S. officials 
as a potential al Qaeda weapon against the U.S. economy.

Online crime has exploded in recent years, a result of organized crime 
groups based in Eastern Europe. But investigators so far have uncovered few 
links to Islamic extremists.

"We have not uncovered any significant links to terrorism," said Brian 
Nagel, assistant director of investigations for the U.S. Secret Service, in 
an interview with Reuters last week.

But there are some signs that Islamic extremists are getting into the act.

An Indonesian man named Imam Samudra, who was found guilty of the 2002 Bali 
nightclub blasts, included a chapter entitled "Hacking: Why Not?" in his 

While hackers have uncovered holes in power plants and other infrastructure, 
experts say terrorists are likely to favor conventional attacks as long as 
they are possible.

"When it's really too hard to bring kinetic weapons in ... the bad guys will 
turn to cyber attacks," said Allan Paller, chief executive of the SANS 
Institute, a nonprofit security-training organization.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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