Constant cyberattacks against U.S. military and civilian targets from foreign adversaries need to be treated as acts of war and addressed comprehensively, not in isolation.
Cyberspace is a global battlefield that blurs national boundaries. The current fragmented state of U.S. cyber defenses is a hacker’s dream. Before 9/11, the nation’s effort against Al Qaeda was siloed between the CIA and the FBI without communication. A similar situation persists in U.S. cyberdefenses.
An improved response requires integrated cooperation among the Defense Department’s Cyber Command, Department of Justice, states, and industry to formulate a comprehensive strategy to harden our infrastructure and protect state secrets from intruders.
“The line between nation-state and criminal actors is increasingly blurry as nation-states turn to criminal proxies as a tool of state power, then turn a blind eye to the cybercrime perpetrated by the same malicious actors,” Mieke Eoyang, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for cyber policy, told a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee last week. “China is the pacing threat to the Department [of Defense]. China uses cyber operations to erode our military overmatch and economic vitality, stealing U.S. intellectual property and research.”
In 2019, Chinese state-sponsored hackers belonging to the APT41 group hacked software development companies, telecommunications providers, social-media companies, video game companies, healthcare, non-profit organizations, think tanks in the U.S. and in about half a dozen other countries worldwide.
The FireEye cybersecurity firm noted in 2019 that these Chinese espionage hackers targeted companies whose capabilities align with the Chinese Communist Party’s Five-Year economic development plans.
Chinese hackers also have stolen plans for the F-35 fighter and sensitive U.S. Navy undersea warfare plans.
The ransomware attack by the DarkSide hacking group against Colonial Pipeline, Co., stands as a reminder of the catastrophic bipartisan failure to take the cyberwarfare being waged against America seriously and strategically. Colonial Pipeline paid $90 million in Bitcoin to the hackers.
It showed how…