Retired general: US vulnerable to cyber attacks

April 18, 2011
Cyber Security, FedCyber Wire
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The United States is still “hugely vulnerable” to cyber attacks, but so are most other nations, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday.

“We’re way late” in preparing to defend critical computer systems from hackers, enemies and others, retired Marine Gen. Peter Pace said.

Pace was chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the nation’s highest military post, under then-President George W. Bush from 2005 until 2007. He spoke at the Space Foundation’s Cyber 1.1 conference in Colorado Springs.

Pace said the U.S. probably has the strongest offensive cyber capabilities of any nation, and it has employed cyber attacks in the past. After his remarks, he declined to say how many times that has happened, or to describe the circumstances.

Pace said the federal government should set security requirements for critical computer networks in the private sector, such as banking and finance.

Uniform requirements would prevent one corporation from gaining a competitive advantage by ignoring expensive upgrades. He also said it would encourage innovation by creating demand for security measures.

“We need to help prime that pump,” said Pace, now president and CEO of SM&A, a management consulting firm.

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