Cyber-Threats, Information Warfare, and Critical Infrastructure Protection: Defending the U.S. Homeland

Cyber-Threats, Information Warfare, and Critical Infrastructure Protection: Defending the U.S. Homeland

Cyber-Threats, Information Warfare, and Critical Infrastructure Protection: Defending the U.S. Homeland

Cyber-Threats, Information Warfare, and Critical Infrastructure Protection: Defending the U.S. Homeland

Synopsis

Information warfare is upon us. In the last two decades, the U.S. economy's infrastructure has undergone a fundamental set of changes, relying increasingly on its service sector and high technology economy. The U.S. depends on computers, electronic data storage and transfers, and highly integrated communications networks. Its rapidly developing new form of critical infrastructure is exceedingly vulnerable to an emerging host of threats. This detailed volume examines the dangers of, and the evolving U.S. policy response to, cyberterrorism.

Excerpt

There is nothing new about critical infrastructure protection. The U.S. carried out limited contingency planning to deal with threats to a number of its infrastructure facilities during the Cold War. These included key utilities such as power plants and grids, oil and gas pipelines, telecommunication, and critical facilities that affected the continuity of government. Most such U.S. efforts, however, were limited. While contingency planning did take place to deal with the threat posed by pro-Soviet “sleepers” or Russian covert attacks by forces such as the Spetsnaz, the damage such attacks could do was seen as only a peripheral part of the kind of damage that might occur in a nuclear exchange.

Nevertheless, these threats to America’s critical infrastructure were never taken seriously enough during the Cold War to justify the funding of any major federal programs. Continuity of government and related facilities were the only forms of infrastructure protection to receive major funding in the context of a nuclear attack. Other than that, response relied largely on the existing law enforcement capabilities and those resources already required for dealing with accidents, weather, and acts of God. The threat posed by other perpetrators such as terrorists, extremists, criminals, and ideologically motivated individuals was seen as too limited to justify action beyond the self-protection measures taken by individual companies and institutions involved, and routine law enforcement. Even the most serious attempts at sabotage—usually by

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