With the recent cyber security breach at Lockheed Martin earlier this month along with the comments made by the former head of cyber security for the Bush Administration, Richard Clarke, it seems that someone has finally acknowledged the elephant in the room that is America’s less than exemplary cyber security.
The comments, stemming from an interview published in the Wallstreet Journal, argued that Chinese government backed hackers are systematically attacking America’s digital infrastructure, planting “digital bombs” and attempting (and succeeding) in gaining access to R&D information as well as control of power grids and cell towers.
These revelations are coming out concurrently with Obama’s Rural Internet Act, which is a subsidy program that aims on bringing satellite internet to rural “off the grid” regions of the country. This would normally seem like a great idea, since the internet does facilitate people’s searches for good stuff like jobs, education, and porn, but it begs the question: should we focus on improving our cyber security first before we go ahead and bring the rest of the country online?
Think of it this way: if China steps it up with its digital bombing and succeeds in gaining control over power grids and cell towers in the future, the most urban cities would be the easiest and most likely targets. The last thing we’d want in a scenario like this is for the rest of the country to be as dependent on the net and therefore, vulnerable, as the major cities are.
It’s like in Battlestar Galactica, how the Galactica was the most ghetto ship in the fleet, but survived because they didn’t have the fancy technology that allowed the Robot Aliens’ to hack in the other ships.
I’m not advocating a denial of internet access to the rest of the country altogether… that would be absurd. I’m simply questioning the priorities of a government that is showing an increasingly evident vulnerability to cyber warfare while making efforts to put more areas of the country at risk.
What do you think? Is America setting itself up for a cyber smack down by bringing the rest of the country online, or do the benefits outweigh the risks?
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