Skip to main content

Cyber Attack on U.S. Means Thorough Butt Kicking

U.S. Air Force General Kevin Chilton said on Thursday that the military will not rule out physical aggression against any "force" that attacks the United States through the internet. Chilton, who heads the U.S. Strategic Command, told reporters at a press briefing that the Law of Armed Conflict still applies to the virtual domain even though the initial attack is not physical. The media briefing comes at the heels of a report from weeks ago that North Korea has built a cyber assault force aimed to disrupt South Korea and United States military networks.

"I don’t think you take anything off the table when you provide options to the president to decide," said Chilton, according to Stars and Stripes. "You don’t take any response options off the table from an attack on the United States of America. Why would we constrain ourselves on how we would respond?"

Currently hackers are probing the military's unclassified networks for information that includes personnel and medical records--usually over a thousand times a day--rather than attempting to attack and crash the networks altogether. Chilton said that current threats range from specific nations, to criminals, down to bored teenagers looking for a little hacking fun. But no matter the origin, the threats are real, however he believes that the military's cyber defense is improving, and will require more sophisticated networks--many of which will need additional resources--as time progresses.

"And so that would logically take you to the probably bigger threats, would be nation-state approach or a well funded, well organized, well educated and equipped other organization that may be a non nation-state that had that capability," he said.

Ultimately, the decision to attack "kinetically" would rest upon the president and Defense secretary. For now, there's a debate on whether to join the Pentagon's two cyber commands: the Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations, and the Joint Functional Component Commander-Network Warfare managed by the National Security Agency. By merging both the offense and defense branches, the US Strategic Command would need 2,000 to 4,000 more employees. President Barack Obama and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have yet to decide on the outcome.

Although Chilton did not specify any offensive "nations" during the press briefing, it's widely known that many attacks on the US networks stem from servers in the People's Republic of China. On that same note, sources report that the technology reconnaissance team created by the General Staff of North Korean People's Army visits U.S. military sites more frequently than any other country.

Is there a cyber war on the horizon? From a conspiracy theorist point of view, various reports released over the last few weeks point in that direction. Chilton said that members of the U.S. military service need to think of their computers as the "front lines" as if stepping to the guard gate of a military base.

  • vertigo_2000
    World War 3 will be fought on the web?

    They say, "the meek shall inherit the earth." I guess the geeks will be the ones to destroy it. :)
  • cryogenic
    Omg, is the US gonna really nuke some 12 year old script kiddie in it's parent basement?

    Watch it script kiddies, next time you want to press enter to nuke some server, the army might just press the big red button and nuke you back!

  • dragonfang18

    Take that North Korea! That will shut down your power stations for many years to come! (probably 7...
  • the_one111
    'Cause the U.S. is a "Equal opportunity ass-kicker".
  • igot1forya
    ...silos needed...
  • Rancifer7
    That the military is finally taking this seriously, seems really sad....but i hope they do a damn good job!
  • What sources report north Korea visits US sites more then any other? I have seen this over and over, but never have seen a citation.
  • Sicundercover
    Yea I havnt heard any proof that its North Karea but whoever it was they managed to steal alot of Top Secret project documents.

    Honestly maybe its something like this that will wake them up.

    The real first attack will no longer be by land, sea, or air it will be by web. Were building the smart grid here in Cali. and that can be hacked and shutdown Via web. The old controls for alot of military comms used to be all internal but now its IP based.

    So it is reasonable to believe that the initial attack could be a hack to shut down parts of defenses or at least cripple broadcasts so people dont know whats happening across the country.
  • frozenlead
    Ultimately, the decision to attack "kinetically"

    I LOL'd.
  • frozenlead
    Hey, what if, in the future, war was fought through a video game? Like, every country had tons of gamers that just duked it out.

    Nahh. But that'd be cool.
    And everyone would "forget" to give China the patch.