Rep. Thornberry works to defend cyber frontier

March 31, 2011
Cyber Security, FedCyber Wire
No Comment

via Reporter News

The bright line between old fashioned and cutting edge cyber attacks is the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive force reaching beyond cyber space.

But U.S. policymakers haven’t figured out how to answer basic questions about responding to cyber attacks like Stuxnet that can harm the physical world, Big Country Rep. Mac Thornberry said Tuesday at a summit on cyber security.

“I think we’re just beginning to have all our eyes opened as to the physical manifestations of what could be done, and, therefore, how vulnerable we are,” said Thornberry, a Republican from Clarendon.

At the request of GOP leadership, Thornberry is leading a cybersecurity defense initiative that cuts across committee lines in the House. He has been trying to determine how best to defend U.S. cyber space and shepherd legislation to put that defense in place.

“I don’t think we’ve grappled with these questions: What do we consider an attack or what is an appropriate response? What is our policy for dealing with such things?” Thornberry said Tuesday during a conference at Georgetown University in Washington.

The Stuxnet worm is reported to have tampered with Iran’s fledgling nuclear program and to have infected other industrial controls around the world. The computer virus has triggered global concern.

Stuxnet was groundbreaking, said retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.

More here.