08 Mar 2013

Full-Scale Cyber Conflict Would Cripple U.S. Military Systems, Report Says

U.S. military systems were deemed highly vulnerable even to moderate cyber-attacks, as an 18-month study by the military’s Defense Science Board (DSB) revealed major security flaws.

With most systems obsolete and using foreign-build hardware that may pose security risks, the report warns that not only military systems are compromised, but also key infrastructure components.

"The benefits to an attacker using cyber exploits are potentially spectacular," reads the DSB report published in January. "Should the United States find itself in a full-scale conflict with a peer adversary, attacks would be expected to include denial of service, data corruption, supply chain corruption, traitorous insiders, kinetic and related non-kinetic attacks at all altitudes from underwater to space."

Since many critical systems are “inherently insecure” and use deprecated technologies, the risk of a foreign intelligence service accessing and crippling vital military, transportation, and logistics systems is dangerously high and even a "modestly aggressive cyber-attack" could cause devastation.

"Typically, the disruption is so great, that the exercise must be essentially reset without the cyber intrusion to allow enough operational capability to proceed," reads the report.

Concluding that the U.S. is not fit to defend against or wage cyber-war campaigns against foreign states, the Defense Science Board says development of cyberspace security measures able to equal current cyber-warfare techniques should be an immediate concern.