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Cyberspies Have Penetrated Infrastructure

From the Wall Street Journal:

Electricity Grid in U.S. Penetrated By Spies

By Siobhan Gorman

WASHINGTON — Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials.

The spies came from China, Russia and other countries, these officials said, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls. The intruders haven’t sought to damage the power grid or other key infrastructure, but officials warned they could try during a crisis or war.

“The Chinese have attempted to map our infrastructure, such as the electrical grid,” said a senior intelligence official. “So have the Russians.”

The espionage appeared pervasive across the U.S. and doesn’t target a particular company or region, said a former Department of Homeland Security official. “There are intrusions, and they are growing,” the former official said, referring to electrical systems. “There were a lot last year.”

Many of the intrusions were detected not by the companies in charge of the infrastructure but by U.S. intelligence agencies, officials said. Intelligence officials worry about cyber attackers taking control of electrical facilities, a nuclear power plant or financial networks via the Internet.

Authorities investigating the intrusions have found software tools left behind that could be used to destroy infrastructure components, the senior intelligence official said. He added, “If we go to war with them, they will try to turn them on.”

Officials said water, sewage and other infrastructure systems also were at risk.

“Over the past several years, we have seen cyberattacks against critical infrastructures abroad, and many of our own infrastructures are as vulnerable as their foreign counterparts,” Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair recently told lawmakers. “A number of nations, including Russia and China, can disrupt elements of the U.S. information infrastructure.”

Officials cautioned that the motivation of the cyberspies wasn’t well understood, and they don’t see an immediate danger. China, for example, has little incentive to disrupt the U.S. economy because it relies on American consumers and holds U.S. government debt

We have no doubt that our friends the Chinese and the Russians have long been doing such things.

Still, we can’t help but suspect that these recent reports are related to Mr. Obama’s “60-day comprehensive review of US cybersecurity,” and his and the Democrats desire to control more of our lives.

From Ars Technica:

Senators introduce bill to federalize cybersecurity

A new bill would create a "cybersecurity czar" who would oversee the government’s computer security programs. More controversially, the czar would have power over some private networks if they are considered to be "critical infrastructure."

By Julian Sanchez | Last updated April 6, 2009

With President Obama’s 60-day comprehensive review of US cybersecurity still underway, Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) on Wednesday introduced sweeping legislation that would establish a cybersecurity "czar" within the White House and bring both governmental and private sector "critical infrastructure" under a unified regulatory regime.

The "czar"—more precisely, an Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor within the White House—is established in a separate short-but-sweet bill running a mere three pages. It specifies that the post will be subject to Senate confirmation, and it gives the cybersecurity advisor a backstage pass to all of the federal government’s cyber-related "special access programs," a designation given to highly secret initiatives.

Most of the action is in the much longer Cybersecurity Act of 2009. In case a lone cybersecurity advisor doesn’t seem like enough, that legislation provides for the creation of cybersecurity advisory panel to be staffed by stakeholders from the governmental, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors.

The bill establishes a dizzying array of programs, administered by a variety of agencies, over the course of its 51 pages. Perhaps most significantly, the bill tasks the National Institute of Standards and Technology with developing a set of security standards and vulnerability tests that will apply to any information networks or software used by federal agencies and contractors—but also by any private entity designated as "critical infrastructure" by the President. The President is also empowered to order the disconnection of any federal or private critical infrastructure network, either during a "cybersecurity emergency" or for reasons of national security more broadly.

The "findings" section of the bill, which details the potential consequences of a successful cyberattack against the United States, suggests that likely candidates for the "critical infrastructure" designation include financial service providers, power and transportation networks, medical services—and quite possibly any industry seen as economically significant enough to make an attractive target.

While they’re working on developing those standards, the Federal Communications Commission is directed to make securing commercial broadband networks a priority under the national broadband plan the agency will put together pursuant to the recent stimulus bill.

The statute also creates a licensing scheme, to be administered by the Department of Commerce, for cybersecurity professionals who do work for the government or critical infrastructure networks. Starting three years from the bill’s passage, anyone who acts as a "provider of cybersecurity services" to any of those entities will need government certification.

Barack Obama’s new Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra, will apparently have a role to play as well. The Office of Management and Budget, where Kundra resides, is to work with the Commerce Department to create a "cybersecurity dashboard," a comprehensive realtime status monitor for all federal information networks managed by Commerce.

Somehow we don’t see much of an improvement in having our security in the hands of Mr. Rockefeller or Ms. Snowe (and even Mr. Kundra) as opposed to the Chinese.

At least the Chinese have a financial stake in the country.

(Thanks to BillK for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, April 8th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

9 Responses to “Cyberspies Have Penetrated Infrastructure”

  1. BillK says:

    Feel warm and cozy, the Federal Government is on top of things.

    From the Wall Street Journal:

    Electricity Grid in U.S. Penetrated By Spies

    By Siobhan Gorman

    WASHINGTON — Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials…


    That’s right – why would China want to hurt America, they might lose money…

    • GE has been planning this for some time. Consider the incredible efforts to set up Obama through its fraudulent Green promoting (think green turkeys.. err Peacock) We get a president who as a senator demonstrated the appropriate skills in “payback” and also who supports and is promoting the “smart grid” which is.. umm “by the way” a design of GE.

      Now comes the time where there is a small window (2 years) where the one has unprecedented power to loot the country in a manner which would make the heartiest raider jealous. He is going to go full blast for that type of program, and his support structure is doing what is needed to help him along.. as the story above demonstrates.

      Other than the local news, I do my best to never have NBC on my TV.. I cringe at their open bias and rent seeking methods.

  2. Liberals Demise says:

    Our long time good friends…..the commies are stroking our system for the final count down. Oh…….and their new friend and comrade Obeyme is throwing the towel in before the fight even starts. (blackbarry obama, the red)

  3. proreason says:

    Now we know what The Moron meant by transparency. We were just too stupid to understand the nuance in his words.

  4. bousquem says:

    Watch the ACLU or the other left wing nuts being put in charge of the office. Then we’ll see all the secret programs being blasted across the internet and MSM along with giving foreign countries a varitable free pass. Is is possible to charge someone with being a saboteur if they are actually caught in the US doing this crap and are affiliated with a hostile foreign goverment like China or Russia?

  5. BillK says:

    Ever notice that when Republicans propose things like a Government-sponsored security standard for all “critical” networks, the left goes nuts at the thought of potential Government “back doors” into their networks and the like, but if the left proposes it, it’s A-OK?

    Of course you know the left would never spy on say Republicans or churches or conservative groups or…

    Let’s see now, what networks are “critical” and must have government-supplied encryption?

    Oh, just the phone system, the Internet, anything you might use to talk to anyone else.

    But the ACLU won’t utter a peep, because it’s Obama rather than Bush.

  6. mybrotherkeeper says:

    I’m with you, Jason, I see GE’s fingerprints on all of this. And I don’t trust the government to not pull the plug on us during a crisis. Remember, “no good crisis will be wasted.”

  7. canary says:

    This is why the Korea missle was a great concern, but now being played off like it was nothing. These missles can even cause earthquakes, and notice there were two immeidatly follwing Korea’s lift off. Maybe that’s why Korea is saying it was successful. If you dig, you there are states that are having very slight earthquakes that aren’t even aware. Either way, I’d think with all this high tech, and and flying over New Zealand with infro-red, that they could find the dang missle in the Pacific Ocean like America is saying. So, if they know it fell in the Pacific Ocean. They know where it is, right? Missles are being created to blank out computers, and now being made to explode computers. This is serious stuff.
    And we have the most dangerous President every in history, after everything we’ve done to make this country safe with defense technology from star wars and he wants it cut.
    Prehaps once Obomi makes sure America is destroyed he has some nation where he will build his castle. He may have some country he’s dreamed of buidling his Hussien type golden palaces with miles of ten feet thick steel and generators.
    But, there’s hope. Maybe his plans will backfire and he will end up like fruitloop Micheal Jackson.
    Can’t wait to see Obomies one world global religion custume. heh heh

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