U.S Should Follow Europe’s Lead on Cyber

Imagine that….Europe may be more right on this issue than the United States is due to congress where decisions just cannot be made.

Going back to 2011, the Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.

In 2016, Pentagon leaders are still working to determine when, exactly, a cyber-attack against the U.S. would constitute an act of war, and when, exactly, the Defense Department would respond to a cyber-attack on civilian infrastructure, a senior Defense Department official told lawmakers on Wednesday.

A cyber strike as an act of war “has not been defined,” Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security Thomas Atkin told the House Armed Services Committee. “We’re still working toward that definition.” More here.


Related reading: North Korea’s Elite Cyber Soldiers Hacked Top Secret Warship Blueprints, Seoul Lawmaker Says

So, is Europe ahead of the United States on this issue?

EU governments to warn cyber attacks can be an act of war

European Union governments will formally state that cyber attacks can be an act of war in a show of strength to countries such as Russia and North Korea.

Diplomats and ambassadors in Brussels have drafted a document, obtained by The Telegraph, that represents an unprecedented deterrent aimed at countries using hackers and cyber espionage against EU members.

The document, set to be agreed by all 28 EU members states, including Britain, in the coming weeks warns that individual member states could respond “in grave instances” to cyber attacks with conventional weapons.

The British government has now said it was all but certain that North Korea was behind the “WannaCry” malware attack that hit NHS IT systems in May. Work on the EU paper began among fears that Russia would attempt to influence this year’s German elections and over hybrid warfare employed in Ukraine. More here.

This could be a pretext for what is a probable threat.


Banks fearing North Korea hacking prepare defenses: cyber experts

WASHINGTON/TORONTO (Reuters) – Global banks are preparing to defend themselves against North Korea potentially intensifying a years-long hacking spree by seeking to cripple financial networks as Pyongyang weighs the threat of U.S. military action over its nuclear program, cyber security experts said.

North Korean hackers have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from banks during the past three years, including a heist in 2016 at Bangladesh Bank that yielded $81 million, according to Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer at cyber security firm CrowdStrike.

Alperovitch told the Reuters Cyber Security Summit on Tuesday that banks were concerned Pyongyang’s hackers may become more destructive by using the same type of “wiper” viruses they deployed across South Korea and at Sony Corp’s (6758.T) Hollywood studio.

The North Korean government has repeatedly denied accusations by security researchers and the U.S. government that it has carried out cyber attacks.

North Korean hackers could leverage knowledge about financial networks gathered during cyber heists to disrupt bank operations, according to Alperovitch, who said his firm has conducted “war game” exercises for several banks.

“The difference between theft and destruction is often a few keystrokes,” Alperovitch said.

Security teams at major U.S. banks have shared information on the North Korean cyber threat in recent months, said a second cyber security expert familiar with those talks.

“We know they attacked South Korean banks,” said the source, who added that fears have grown that banks in the United States will be targeted next.

Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang have been building after a series of nuclear and missile tests by North Korea and bellicose verbal exchanges between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

John Carlin, a former U.S. assistant attorney general, told the Reuters summit that other firms, among them defense contractors, retailers and social media companies, were also concerned.

“They are thinking ‘Are we going to see an escalation in attacks from North Korea?’” said Carlin, chair of Morrison & Foerster international law firm’s global risk and crisis management team.

Jim Lewis, a cyber expert with Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, said it is unlikely that North Korea would launch destructive attacks on American banks because of concerns about U.S. retaliation.

Representatives of the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the top U.S. banking regulators, declined to comment. Both have ramped up cyber security oversight in recent years.

For other Reuters Cyber Summit news click on www.reuters.com/cyberrisk

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Denise Simon

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