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Largest Security Breach Ever of US Military Computers Confirmed

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  • Largest Security Breach Ever of US Military Computers Confirmed

    The Washington Post reports that Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III has confirmed the most significant breach of U.S. military cyber security took place in 2008 when a flash drive was inserted into a DoD computer somewhere n the Middle East and a program was uploaded into the system. “That code spread undetected on both classified and unclassified systems, establishing what amounted to a digital beachhead, from which data could be transferred to servers under foreign control,” he says in an up-coming article in Foreign Affairs.

    This is the first confirmed on-the-record penetration of U.S. military classified computer systems by a foreign intelligence agency. The rumor, so far unconfirmed, is that Russian intelligence was behind the breach. According to Lynn, the pentagon’s response to the 2008 attack, called Operation Buckshot Yankee, constituted a turning point in U.S. cyberdefense strategy.

    My first even column for Great History dealt with the issue of cyberdefense security. It is worth mentioning again that international law still lags behind the contemporary reality of warfare in cyberspace. Cyber conflict is viewed as an extension of espionage, which is not itself considered an act of war for the simple reason that just about everyone does it to just about everyone else. If it we responded with a declaration of war against everyone who spied on our military we would be at war with, among other people, Israel — and they with us for the same reason.

    The question is at what point espionage becomes actionable hostility. If a program is inserted ...




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