Of course Russia did it. The recently discovered massive cyberattack on U.S. government and industry computer networks by a foreign adversary isn’t the first nor will it be the last such hostile action. While the Trump administration has strengthened U.S. defenses and revved up America’s cyber offense, it’s clear that the incoming Biden administration will need to do a lot more because the attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
The problem became obvious when Russia shut down Estonia with a devastating cyberattack in April 2007. Estonia revamped its entire cybersecurity structure. Today NATO’s cybersecurity center of excellence is based in Estonia.
So what happened here in America? Years of failure to invest in proper secure software and hardware left government networks vulnerable. Elected officials of both political parties can share the blame.
Importantly, the government computer networks that have been hacked are not the super-secret networks, which are more protected.
We know of a number of cyberattacks against the U.S. government in recent years.
James Clapper, who was then serving as director of national intelligence, told Congress that China was just engaged in "passive intelligence collection" and had not launched a real cyberattack. "You have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did" he said, in admiration of China’s technical skill.
Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and others have accelerated their cyberattacks in recent years and no doubt will continue to do so.
According to Crowdstrike’s "2019 Global Threat Report", there are "more than 240 billion events [computer hacks or attempted hacks] every 24 hours — more than the number of tweets Twitter processes in an entire year."
The Crowdstrike report shows that the Russians are masters of cyberattacks. Russian intrusions took on average just 18 seconds to break out from gaining entry into a computer network to spread through the network. China was slower at four minutes on average — but some Chinese attacks needed only 12 seconds.
Defenders have just seconds to respond. That’s getting harder and harder. Understand that while cyberdefense is important, the game has shifted. Cyberwar is a lightning duel of offense, intrusion and intimidation. The keys to success are automation to respond instantly and going on offense.
This is why Congress and President Trump gave the U.S. Cyber Command strong new powers in late 2018. Read more at Fox Opinion