When Does a Hack Become an Act of War?

OPM

Large-scale cyberattacks have in recent years become effective national-security weapons

WASHINGTON— Damian Paletta reports: A tremendous number of personnel records—including some quite personal records—have likely been stolen by computer hackers. The White House won’t say who did it, but a number of U.S. officials and even some lawmakers have said all signs point to China.

“The Chinese government has denied it, but the staggering haul of records could amount to one of the biggest feats of espionage in decades.”

Right now, the White House and Congress are trying to ascertain what was stolen and how to protect people whose identifies have been compromised, not to mention their “foreign contacts” that are listed on the security clearance forms that could now be on the hard drives of the hackers.

But very soon a much different question will be asked in Washington: If the White House finds out who stole the information, what will President Barack Obama do about it?

US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-OBAMA-PROTEST

“Even though large-scale cyberattacks have been used for more than a decade, they have only become extremely effective national-security weapons in the past few years.”

In December, the White House accused North Korea of stealing and destroying a large amount of records from Sony Pictures Entertainment. President Barack Obama called it “cyber vandalism,” angering some of his critics who wanted the U.S. government to retaliate.

But cyberattacks by nation-states are a relatively new phenomenon, in which there isn’t a road map of deterrents and responses.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers have said in recent weeks that U.S. policy makers need to decide how they are going to respond to cyberattacks as countries become more brazen in their attempts…(read more)

WSJ

Write to Damian Paletta at damian.paletta@wsj.com

 



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