January 25, 2012
“So other nations aren’t allowed to perform cyber attacks, but it’s perfectly acceptable for the US?” –KTRN
The assumption that the US has the technological know-how to cripple a competing nation has always been just that: as assumption. In a recent sit-down interview, however, a former spy chief confirmed that America has already waged cyber attacks.
Mike McConnell, the former director of national intelligence at the National Security Agency under George W Bush, tells Reuters this week that cyber war is more than a distant possibility. According to the current vice chairman at Booz Allen Hamilton, the US has already launched attacks on the computer networks of other nations.
McConnell did not add any input as to what countries have been hit with American cyber warfare in the past, but he did confirm that the US has already used the ability. When asked by Reuters if the United States had the capability to destroy the computer system of an adversary, McConnell responded “Yes.” When asked if it worked, he confirmed “yes” as well.
“Do we have the ability to attack, degrade or destroy? Sure. If you do that, what are the consequences? That is the question,” added McConnell.
Although the former spy chief neglected to name any countries that have been the target of American attacks, the US is believed by some to be the culprit behind a virus that targeted computer systems in Iran in 2010. Stuxnet, an advanced computer worm discovered in June of that year, impacted the computers used in conjunction with Iran’s nuclear program. In a January 2011 article in the New York Times, an American nuclear intelligence expert speaking on condition of anonymity said that the Israelis were behind Stuxnet, placing the blame on one of America’s most important allies. The expert adds in the article that Israel did indeed work hand-in-hand with the US in perfect Stuxnet before sending it to the Iranian networks, but that Washington wanted “plausible deniability.”