We saw such an attack last week with an attack aimed at poisoning the water system in Tampa. Fla.
“It starts with a pointer that moves itself, sliding across a computer screen at the water treatment plant in Oldsmar, Fla. Someone remotely controlled the plant operator’s machine – and in a matter of minutes, they raised the sodium hydroxide level in the city’s drinking water by a factor of 100. After spiking caustic to unsafe levels , the hacker immediately left the system, ”reported NPR.
The Times correspondent Nicole Perlroth, author of a new book on the cyberar race with the ominous title “This is how they tell me the world is over,” predicted such an attack, and bad more, in a recent interview with me. Her thoughts: While we are good at cyberoffense, our cyberdefense has been significantly weaker, more vulnerable because we have the most things to steal.
And while we Americans dominated the world from a physical military perspective, against failed states like Russia during the Cold War, our adversaries and enemies were able to level the playing field in the field. digital field. It makes sense: If you can’t beat them, go look for them (and their data).
While Perlroth’s book points out a number of strategic mistakes the United States has made over decades – including facilitating the gray market in cyber weapons and the U.S. use of destructors. (remember Stuxnet? – should you) – she told me Washington lacked a good deterrent strategy, adding that “the problem is that we were too inclined to find other people’s secrets. without protecting your own secrets. “
How best to do that will be a huge debate in Washington next year, as the Biden administration tries to clean up SolarWinds’ failure.
Is new legislation required to require more interagency coordination to deal with attacks both domestically and globally? Should companies be forced to report cyber attacks against them, if only privately, to government agencies? And whether we need a single person, or perhaps an agency, to deal with all of our cybersecurity issues, which will only get worse when we join the system. or is it too creepy and potentially threatening the privacy of American Citizens?
I don’t have a good answer.
During Mr Trump’s impeachment trial this week, the Senate is tackling the horrifying physical attacks on the Capitol by the American movement. Senators are discussing how the culprits got into the building and who pressed their hot buttons.