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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he will try and revive stalled cybersecurity legislation on the heels of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s warning that the U.S. is at risk of a devastating cyber-attack.
Panetta, in a speech Thursday, said the country could face a “cyber Pearl Harbor,” with attacks targeting the power grid, trains carrying chemicals, water plants and other critical systems.
Reid, in a statement Saturday, said that when Congress returns in November he will bring back legislation that stalled in August. “My colleagues who profess to understand the urgency of the threat will have one more chance to back their words with action, and work with us to pass this bill,” Reid said. .......
Reid vows fresh effort to pass stalled cybersecurity bill in November
The failed Senate bill would have empowered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to set minimum cybersecurity standards for operators of critical infrastructure, such as gas pipelines, electric grids and banks.
The measure would have also encouraged the government and the private sector to share information about cyberthreats.
be very careful when Reid talks about "options" -- dangerous thinking can lead to disastrous results
While renewing the legislative push, Reid also defended White House plans to beef up cybersecurity with an executive order, which has drawn concerns from a number of Republicans. Reid noted that “Secretary Panetta has made clear that inaction is not an option.
Who is Harry "Really" working for here ?
The Obama administration simulated a cyber attack on New York City's power supply in a Senate demonstration aimed at winning support for legislation to boost the nation's computer defenses. Senators from both parties gathered behind closed doors in the Capitol Wednesday for the classified briefing attended by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FBI Director Robert Mueller and other administration officials. The mock attack on the city during a summer heat wave was "very compelling," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who is co-sponsoring a cybersecurity bill supported by President Barack Obama. "It illustrated the problem and why legislation is desperately needed," she said as she left the briefing.
The US defense industry is in a full court press to get tens of billions in funding for cyberwarfare. To get that funding, they need to dramatize the potential threat of cyberwarfare. Here's how. The central method of attack in cyberwarfare is systems disruption. Systems disruption is a way to break networks to achieve extremely high levels of damage (or, in financial terms, high ROIs). One of the best ways to demonstrate that type of attack is through a disruption of the power supply (usually with NYC as a target). The problem with this type of presentation is that you don't need cyberwarfare to do take down the electricity to New York City and get away with it. All you need is some household tools, imagination, and some knowledge of what the network looks like (gained by an effort at mapping the connections). Since 99.9999% of the recruits available to most violent groups don't have cyber skills and the impact of a cyber attack and a physical attack are the same, which method do you think will be used? The facts back this up. 99.99% of the intentional system disruption events that have occurred over the last decade have been caused through physical attack and not by cyber attack.
So, in other words, the tens billions we are going to spend on cybersecurity is mostly a waste of time/money. It's not only a waste of money, it's yet another example of how the US national security system is not producing real, tangible security for the people it expects to pay for it. The real solution to network vulnerability? Decentralized production.
End Note: The implication is that an carefully prepared simultaneous attack against 10-20 substations of the right type could take 60% of the US end-users offline for an extended period (potentially weeks). If exploited by additional well planned attacks, this damage could be extended indefinitely.
The solution to all of this type of vulnerability, isn't a complete rework of the grid. Instead, it's a resilient community. A community that produces most of what it needs locally.