via Stars and Stripes
WASHINGTON — The attack lacked the explosive impact of a roadside bomb or the visceral threat of incoming bullets. Defending against it wasn’t a matter of finding cover and returning fire.
This was a new kind of war.
The only giveaway the United States was being targeted at all was a subtle, unexplained flicker on a Department of Defense computer screen in August 2007.
The person sitting at the terminal that day was John Bumgarner, a retired U.S. Army special operations veteran and professional hacker who’d come to an office of one of the service branches — nearly four years later he says he’s not at liberty to divulge which one — to give a how-to presentation on attacking enemy computer networks. Something subtle about the behavior of the computer he-d borrowed to make printouts tripped a mental alarm.
“I saw the screen flicker and thought, ‘Hmm, that looks strange,'” said Bumgarner, a researcher at the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a Washington-based think tank.
His job is to study the shape of future conflicts in which computers will be weapons, and the vast web of interlaced networks that connects them — a realm called “cyberspace” — will be the battlefield.
The Pentagon is expected in coming weeks to introduce an overarching cyber strategy that officially declares cyberspace a domain of warfare equal to land, sea and air in importance.