Panetta: “We are literally the target of thousands of cyber attacks every day”

posted at 1:21 pm on February 6, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Via the WFB, Panetta is really sounding the alarm on this recently; at a speech on Wednesday, he warned not only of the degrading effect of the pending spending cuts on military readiness, but also spoke about cyberspace as the new frontier on which the United States will increasingly need to do battle in the 21st century.

“We are literally the target of thousands of cyber attacks every day — every day,” Panetta said in remarks at Georgetown University. “Thousands of cyber attacks that are striking at the private sector, strike at Silicon Valley, strike at other institutions within our society, strike at our government, strike at the Defense Department and our intelligence agencies.”

“Cyber is now at a point where the technology is there to cripple a country,” he continued, “to take down our power grid system, to take down our government systems, take down our financial systems, and literally paralyze the country. That is a reality.”

China and other foreign cyber attackers’ e-belligerence isn’t new, but it’s definitely been growing in momentum over the past few years, with attacks focusing on major companies, government departments, and financial institutions — and it isn’t even just countries like China we need to be worried about.

The US Federal Reserve bank has confirmed one of its internal websites was broken into by hackers after the hacktivist group Anonymous was claimed to have stolen details of more than 4,000 bank executives.

“The Federal Reserve system is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product,” a spokeswoman for the US central bank said.

“Exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer an issue. This incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve system,” the spokeswoman said, adding that all individuals affected by the breach had been contacted.

Last month, the Pentagon announced their plans to beef up their cybersecurity forces by more than 4,000 people; and while there’s plenty of concern that the Obama administration needs to increase transparency as they grow their resources and strengthen their own capabilities for offensive cyber attacks, there’s also still the concern that they aren’t doing nearly enough to safeguard our cyber security and that China has been allowed to get away with their shenanigans scot-free for too long, via Liz Peek at the Fiscal Times:

Mr. Panetta’s speech came in response to stepped up attacks on U.S. financial institutions, as well as on the state oil companies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He warned that foreign cyber actors are probing our critical infrastructure, creating “tools to attack these systems and cause panic and destruction and even the loss of life.” His comments were also intended to drum up support for a comprehensive bill, like the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which failed to pass Congress. So urgent was the need to regulate information sharing and establish liability limits, according to Panetta, that the president might issue an executive order if Congress failed to do its job.

Industry insiders say President Obama will indeed unleash that mighty executive sword on cyber crime – soon after the State of the Union address. Only instead of Excalibur, expect something in the way of a pen knife. Mr. Obama will apparently call for several changes in the way we manage and respond to cyber attacks, some of which were embedded in the failed bill.

Sadly, most who have considered the likely proposals – like Lawrence Ponemon, whose eponymous firm consults on and researches cyber security — say the likely fixes “may make us feel good as a country but they won’t have much impact.” That reasonable skepticism is fed in part by the federal government’s repeated failures to protect even its own operations. (Among other agencies, the CIA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Nuclear Security Administration have been hacked, leading to the theft of secure information and widespread disruptions.)

Anyhow, it’s looking increasingly likely that this will all come under the command of Chuck Hagel in short order — the Senate vote on his confirmation is currently scheduled for Thursday.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

……..good thing we’ve got real people doing the job instead of career politicians, looking for their next spot to latch on to the Federal sow.

ahem, Hagel.

PappyD61 on February 6, 2013 at 1:23 PM

“We are literally the target of thousands of cyber attacks every day — every day,” Panetta said in remarks at Georgetown University.

So when do we get to see gun camera footage of the drone strikes against Chinese cyber-terrorists? And those script-kiddies in Silicon Valley? Will you declare war on Anonymous?

Here’s a thought: Unplug the friggin’ government from the WWW! Just reach over, grab the ethernet plug, and pull it out of the wall.

Oh….that would cut into the Federal Porno-Hour. My bad.

BobMbx on February 6, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Well, when we begin to get hit with skeet attacks, Barry is ready.

ghostwalker1 on February 6, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Anyhow, it’s looking increasingly likely that this will all come under the command of Chuck Hagel in short order — the Senate vote on his confirmation is currently scheduled for Thursday.

Don’t worry. He won’t be in a “policy making position”.

Curtiss on February 6, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Panetta: “We are literally the target of thousands of cyber attacks every day”
==========

Smacks of an “Act Of War”!

canopfor on February 6, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Be afraid, be very afraid by his comments. They are up to something. Not a conspiracy theorist generally but my spidey sense is going off big time.

tomas on February 6, 2013 at 1:35 PM

So when do we get to see gun camera footage of the drone strikes against Chinese cyber-terrorists? And those script-kiddies in Silicon Valley? Will you declare war on Anonymous?

BobMbx on February 6, 2013 at 1:26 PM

I’ve been asking this since I was a freshman in high school. One of the very few things that actually scares the cyber-snotlings who do the vast majority of hacking is “meatspace danger”. Online counter-attacks do little or nothing; unlike most lawful people they are usually very strict about keeping backups ready to roll.

If there was a sudden epidemic of Chinese keyboards exploding or Anonymous members mysteriously disappearing, they might just reconsider. We can’t jail any meaningful amount of the former and the latter is very hard to nail down in court.

MelonCollie on February 6, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Foreign Policy ‏@ForeignPolicy

Will cybersecurity take center stage at the State of the Union? http://atfp.co/TKOyas
=====================

Jim Langevin wants cyber talk in State of the Union address
Posted By John Reed Tuesday, February 5, 2013 – 6:08 PM
*******************************************************

Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chair of the Congressional Cyber Caucus, just released the text of a letter he sent President Barack Obama,

Here’s the text of Langevin’s letter:

February 5, 2013

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Congratulations on your inauguration for a second term. As your State of the Union address now approaches, I would like to thank you for your efforts to improve our nation’s cybersecurity in your first term. From increasing the amount and quality of the data shared among federal agencies and the private sector to elucidating clear policy guidelines for trusted identities in cyberspace and cyberwarfare, your administration has truly made protecting American citizens and American interests a national priority.

Unfortunately, the scope of the challenge has only increased. The same American ingenuity that allows our businesses to be world-leaders in information technology also exposes us to a host of new threats. Defense Secretary Panetta, speaking to the Business Executives for National Security, described the current state of cyber-affairs as “a pre-9/11 moment.” Attacks against our defense industrial base, our financial services infrastructure, our free press, and even our own government networks are a daily occurrence. While none have yet caused the destruction on the scope of 9/11, the potential for such a disaster is real, and it is growing.

Combating this threat is a pressing priority. As the co-founder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, I work to inform my colleagues of the inadequacy of existing legislation to secure the domain, and I have appreciated your administration’s efforts to highlight the immediacy of our need. I hope that you will take the unique opportunity afforded by your State of the Union address to galvanize both Congress and the public to demand immediate action to secure our country’s cyberspace. While I trust that you will use every existing avenue of executive power to improve our capabilities in this realm, our current laws simply do not reflect the amazing technological advances (and the accompanying challenges) that have been made since their enactment.

I was privileged to serve as the Co-chair of the Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency, which presented you with a series of recommendations when you first took office. Your actions in your first term have made it abundantly clear that you have embraced the need for a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, and I look forward to working with you to expand and implement this strategy throughout the coming session.

Sincerely,

Jim Langevin
============

http://killerapps.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/02/05/jim_langevin_wants_cyber_talk_in_state_of_the_union_address

canopfor on February 6, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Gee… what happened to the ol’ one-inch air gap between personal and classified computers?

I see I’m way behind the times….

Turtle317 on February 6, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Cripe hagel

I feel better now
/

cmsinaz on February 6, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Anyhow, it’s looking increasingly likely that this will all come under the command of Chuck Hagel in short order — the Senate vote on his confirmation is currently scheduled for Thursday.

God help the land.

Schadenfreude on February 6, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Panetta is a benevolent dunce.

Hagel is a malevolent one. He and Obama hate the US.

Schadenfreude on February 6, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Gee… what happened to the ol’ one-inch air gap between personal and classified computers?

I see I’m way behind the times….

Turtle317 on February 6, 2013 at 1:38 PM

The three-inch gap between the ears of the lusers is to blame. And the sad part is that as technology becomes more accessible, the opportunities for people who could star in Idiocracy go through the roof.

MelonCollie on February 6, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Be afraid, be very afraid by his comments. They are up to something. Not a conspiracy theorist generally but my spidey sense is going off big time.

tomas on February 6, 2013 at 1:35 PM

…I feel an “infrigement” coming!

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Shutting down right wing web sites and conservative bloggers would go a long way toward preventing all these cyber attacks.

I’m being sarcastic of course, but you know it’s only a matter of time till it’s suggested somewhere on the left.

Curtiss on February 6, 2013 at 1:45 PM

The US Federal Reserve bank has confirmed one of its internal websites was broken into by hackers after the hacktivist group Anonymous was claimed to have stolen details of more than 4,000 bank executives.

Anonymous is a terrorist organization.

vegconservative on February 6, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Anonymous is a terrorist organization.

vegconservative on February 6, 2013 at 1:45 PM

That they are. Have a court declare every mother’s son of them to be no longer US citizens and start issuing bounties on their heads.

MelonCollie on February 6, 2013 at 1:46 PM

OT, kind of…a truly frucked up land.

Schadenfreude on February 6, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Anonymous is a terrorist organization.

vegconservative on February 6, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Are they on Obama’s Kill List?

Curtiss on February 6, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Panetta: “We are literally the target of thousands of cyber attacks every day”

“And we still find time to blame George Bush for every cyber attack.”
;-)

Does anyone really trust anyone in this Democrat government to stop any of this? They are too busy trying to snoop into any and everything that its citizens do.

albill on February 6, 2013 at 1:49 PM

I’ve just been handed a note…

Fallon on February 6, 2013 at 2:01 PM

This is about control of the Internet. They’re seeding the ground for shut-downs and censorship. This is how it works in the new age of TOTAL bad faith.

rrpjr on February 6, 2013 at 2:27 PM

So that’s why the Manchurian is working on gun control… Hollow us out from within with distraction while skynet takes over our machines.

HopeHeFails on February 6, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Panetta is really sounding the alarm on this recently; at a speech on Wednesday, he warned not only of the degrading effect of the pending spending cuts on military readiness

Panetta’s just another DC money whore. Cutting our bloated, over sized, fat military isn’t going to degrade it at all. We need to cut all government by at least 40%, and then cut some more!

woodNfish on February 6, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Only thousands? I doubt that.

The Rogue Tomato on February 6, 2013 at 3:10 PM

He is just now getting this? It was apparent in 2005.

jake49 on February 6, 2013 at 3:18 PM

…I feel an “infrigement” coming!

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Oh, yes. Right you are KOOL. This excerpt is from a HA thread from March 2012. Remember SOPA & PIPA? When many websites went dark?

Excerpt: They identify a real problem and then respond with a knee jerk reaction which dumps the entire mess on a federal agency and begins piling on regulations for private companies.
http://hotair.com/archives/2012/03/24/cybersecurity-battle-heads-to-congress/

There already is a bill in Congress. CISPA I haven’t checked yet, but it was The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 3523)

bluefox on February 6, 2013 at 3:42 PM

make it publicly known, tell the Chinese government, that all Cyber attacks will be treated like any other military attack against the United States and will be dealt with accordingly. Track where these cyber attacks are coming from – once verified and the evidence is collected, submit that evidence on the floor of the U.N. – ONCE! Tell them this ‘is your 1 and only warning’. The 2nd time it happens, track the location of the origin of the attack…and send a TLAM into that Chinese government location/facility!

easyt65 on February 6, 2013 at 3:43 PM

This is about control of the Internet. They’re seeding the ground for shut-downs and censorship. This is how it works in the new age of TOTAL bad faith.

rrpjr on February 6, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Yes it is. They tried it with SOPA & PIPA. If I’m not mistaken, didn’t Rubio come out FOR this?

bluefox on February 6, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Obama has already proposed the idea of the government having the ability/power to ‘shut down the internet’ ‘if needed’ during an emergency. hmmm….can anyone think of a national emergency that would justify/require shutting down the Iternet? I can’t….

easyt65 on February 6, 2013 at 4:02 PM

….can anyone think of a national emergency that would justify/require shutting down the Iternet? I can’t….

easyt65 on February 6, 2013 at 4:02 PM

One would think that, in an “emergency”, the ability of people to communicate and to receive vital news and information would be the LAST thing anyone would want to shut down.

Unless, of course, someone WANTED to keep people from communicating.

Jus’ sayin’.

Solaratov on February 6, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Do y’all suppose the US is innocent of cyber attacks itself?

DarkCurrent on February 6, 2013 at 8:55 PM

The 2nd time it happens, track the location of the origin of the attack…and send a TLAM into that Chinese government location/facility!

easyt65 on February 6, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Yeah, the US is going to start lobbing TLAMs at a country armend with ICBMs. Keep dreaming.

DarkCurrent on February 6, 2013 at 8:58 PM