via Boston Herald
America’s enemies and competitors — from al-Qaeda to China and Russia — are ramping up their ability to launch devastating cyber attacks, and the nation’s electrical grid and water supply are among our most vulnerable targets, experts said yesterday, as the Pentagon signals its own plan to move to a cyber-war footing.
The e-wars, in fact, have already started.
“The U.S. government is under constant assault in cyber space,” said Travis Sharp of the Center for a New American Security, a Washington, D.C., think tank focused on new threats. Among America’s rivals on the world stage, he added, “You’ve got sort of an arms race going on.”
Sharp recently co-authored a report on the threats posed by cyber warriors, criminals and terrorists and laid out ways the United States can protect itself. U.S. government networks are probed or scanned hundreds of thousands of times per hour by viruses and hackers, Sharp said. An as-yet-unreleased Pentagon cyber strategy paper reportedly proposes treating severe cyber attacks as acts of war.
Al-Qaeda has over the past 18 months expressed interest in launching an attack on critical infrastructure in the United States, Sharp said. An attack on the U.S. power grid, for example, could kill patients in hospitals and paralyze the nation.