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Returning Fire in Cyber Space; Oh They’ll Hear You Alright

by Greg on April 27, 2010

By Kevin Coleman
Defense Tech Chief Cyber War Correspondent

Just recently, Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander currently director of the National Security Agency, nominated to run U.S. Cyber Command, took a new, much more aggressive tone when asserting the right to return fire against cyber attacks aimed at the U.S. — even if an attacker’s identity remains unknown. He said that the U.S. military must be prepared to fight through in the worst case cyber scenario.

On the heels of these assertions, former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff discussed using Special Operations Forces to take out servers being used in cyber attacks against the United States.

These comments quickly were scooped up and used by news agencies around the world. In one conversation I had with a caller, the individual pointed out that the Pentagon is hit by cyber attacks millions of times a day – so there are no shortage of targets once the military begins returning fire. Another individual expresses concerns about Richard Clark’s comment about cyber attacks leading to a convention war.

Many global leaders fear that cyber attacks will escalate up into a full blown cyber war. What is more concerning to many is that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs – Adm. Michael Mullen has said he believes there’s a cyber war already in progress. Are we already in the early stages of a cyber war?

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