Washington: The US military is ‘not confident’ that its computer networks will continue to work in the event of a cyber attack from a reasonably competent enemy.
Also, the US military’s ‘dependence’ on flimsy security systems ‘is a magnet to US opponents’, who are increasingly capable of attacking ‘with potential consequences similar in some ways to the nuclear threat of the Cold War’.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the warning was given in a new 18-month study from the Pentagon’s Defence Science Board, which formed a taskforce to review the vulnerability of US military networks.
The taskforce found that during war game exercises, ‘red team’ adversaries were able to hack into US military networks with ‘relative ease’.
The study said that such adversaries could ‘completely [beat] our forces in exercises’ using hacking programmes widely available on Internet.
The study concluded that this happened in large part, because the Defence Department’s networks ‘are built on inherently insecure architectures that are composed of, and increasingly using, foreign parts’.
It added that getting better at cyber defence will involve giving up on the thought of protecting all military networks from advanced hackers, ‘which the task force believes is neither feasible nor affordable’.
The study warned that cyber attacks today were quickly progressing from exploitation and disruption to destruction.
It added that enemies could also infiltrate networks to play havoc with what is widely considered one of the US military’s greatest strengths: logistics.
The taskforce also advises keeping some crucial forces offline, to respond in the event of a catastrophic cyberattack, à la ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ the report added.