Nation Must Defend Cyber Infrastructure
Nation Must Defend Cyber
Infrastructure, Alexander Says
By Claudette Roulo, American
Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. – (AFPS)
– June 28, 2013 – The United States must have a transparent debate on how it
will protect itself in cyberspace, the director of the National Security Agency
“It is a debate that is going to have all the key elements of
the executive branch -- that's DHS, FBI, DOD, Cyber Command, NSA, and other
partners -- with our allies and with industry,” Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander
told an audience at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association
International Cyber Symposium in Baltimore.
Everyone involved must figure out how to work together as the
cyber threat grows, said Alexander, who also commands U.S. Cyber Command.
In August, the Saudi Aramco oil company was hit with a
destructive attack that destroyed the data on more than 30,000 systems, he said.
In September, distributed denial of service attacks began on the U.S. financial
sector, and a few hundred disruptive attacks have occurred since.
In March, destructive cyberattacks took place against South
Korea, the general said.
“If you look at the statistics and what's going on, we're
seeing an increase in the disruptive and destructive attacks. And I am concerned
that those will continue,” he said. “As a nation, we must be ready.”
Over the past few years, there has been a convergence of
analog and digital data streams, Alexander said. Now, everything is on one
network -- information sent by terrorists, soldiers and school teachers travels
through the same digital pipelines.
The cyber world is experiencing an exponential rate of
change, he said. “It's wonderful,” he added. “These capabilities, I think, are
going to help us solve cancer. This is a wonderful opportunity.”
But, he said, cyberspace also has vulnerabilities. “We're
being attacked,” Alexander said. “And we've got to figure out how to fix that.”
The key to the nation’s future in cyber is a defensible
architecture, he said, embodied for the Defense Department by the Joint
Information Environment. In that environment, mobile devices will securely
connect with fixed infrastructure across the services in a way that allows the
department to audit and take care of its data much better than it could do in
the legacy systems, Alexander said.
The need to create one joint integrated cyber force is “a
great reason for having NSA and Cyber Command collocated,” Alexander said. Both
are based on Fort Meade, Md.
“We can leverage the exceptional talent that the people at
NSA have to help build that force,” he added, “and that's superb.”
Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander
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