1996-06-26 - CIA Fears UmpTeen InfoNukes

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From: jya@pipeline.com (John Young)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: a2ac904e62a6e2669880bca363b0ed5940207e618f0e63290519e4942d915f82
Message ID: <199606261126.LAA02542@pipe2.t2.usa.pipeline.com>
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UTC Datetime: 1996-06-26 15:30:43 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 26 Jun 1996 23:30:43 +0800

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From: jya@pipeline.com (John Young)
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 1996 23:30:43 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: CIA Fears UmpTeen InfoNukes
Message-ID: <199606261126.LAA02542@pipe2.t2.usa.pipeline.com>
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   The New York Times, June 26, 1996, p. B7. 
   Head of C.I.A. Plans Center To Protect Federal Computers 
   By Tim Weiner 
   Washington, June 25 -- Alarmed at the growing threat that 
   computer hackers pose to national security, the Director of 
   Central Intelligence today announced plans to create a 
   "cyberwar" center to protect the bits and bytes that weave 
   the nation together. 
   The United States cannot be brought to its knees by a 
   madman with a modem. But the Director, John M. Deutch, said 
   the nation's intelligence agencies were alert to the threat 
   of "very, very large" attacks on the computers that run 
   Defense Department war rooms, power plants, telephone 
   systems, air traffic control centers and international 
   financial transfers. 
   "The electron," Mr. Deutch warned, "is the ultimate 
   precision-guided weapon." 
   Mr. Deutch said he was seeking to create a cyberwar center 
   at the National Security Agency, the giant electronic 
   eavesdropping branch of American intelligence. He said the 
   center could focus the Government's previously scattershot 
   efforts to understand and combat the threats posed by 
   governments, terrorist groups and mischievous teen-agers. 
   Mr. Deutch's first public statement about information 
   warfare came in testimony before Senator Sam Nunn, the 
   Georgia Democrat who called a hearing of a Senate 
   Governmental Affairs subcommittee to discuss the 
   little-understood, highly classified problem. 
   "There are some who believe we are going to have to have an 
   electronic Pearl Harbor, so to speak, before we really make 
   this the kind of priority that many of us believe it 
   deserves to be made," Mr. Nunn said. "Do you think we're 
   going to need that kind of real awakening, or are we fully 
   alerted to this danger now?" 
   Mr. Deutch replied: "I think that we are fully alerted to 
   it now. I don't know whether we will face an electronic 
   Pearl Harbor, but we will have, I'm sure, some very 
   unpleasant circumstances." 
   He added, "I'm certainly prepared to predict some very, 
   very large and uncomfortable incidents." 
   Mr. Deutch said cyberwar could become a 21st-century 
   national security threat second only to nuclear, biological 
   and chemical weapons. 
   Potential attackers may already possess the sophisticated 
   techniques they would need to bring off a cataclysmic 
   crash, many experts believe, but they still lack the deep 
   knowledge of their targets and direct access to the 
   computer systems they would seek to disable. 
   Military and civilian organizations are increasingly 
   dependent on evermore complicated and interlinked systems. 
   They run the risk of understanding the threat less and less 
   as it becomes more and more complex Mr. Nunn and Mr. Deutch 
   Senator Nunn also said intelligence agencies have 
   communications problems with banks, telecommunications 
   companies and other business ventures vulnerable to cyber 
   "There's a great reluctance by the private sector to 
   discuss the threat that they've faced or even the attacks 
   that have already occurred," he said, "because they fear 
   that the word would go out they're vulnerable, and 
   therefore could destroy or damage consumer confidence and 
   thereby cost them business." 
   "At some point," the Senator added, "there's got to be 
   communication here."