By Andy Greenberg
February 25, 2010
How vulnerable would the U.S. be if a global cyberwar broke out today?
Vulnerable enough, according to Richard Clarke, former anti-terrorism
czar under Presidents Bush and Clinton, that he rates our odds behind
even those of our most Luddite adversary: North Korea.
That's because, as Clarke writes in a new book, Cyberwar: The Next
National Security Threat And What To Do About It , cyberwarfare
preparedness isn't just a matter of training a crack team of
superhackers. It's also a matter of how porous a nation's cyberborders
are. American corporations and government agencies are more integrated
into the Internet than their counterparts in North Korea, where most of
the country has access to only a tightly controlled Intranet known as
Kwangmyong. Clarke says that even China would be better prepared to
batten its digital hatches in the event that nations began hitting each
other with waves of Internet traffic designed to overwhelm servers
offline, as he writes:
China can limit cyberspace utilization in a crisis by disconnecting
nonessential users. The U.S. cannot...North Korea can sever its
limited connection to cyberspace even more easily and effectively
than China can. Moreover, North Korea has so few systems dependent
upon cyberspace that a major cyber war attack on North Korea would
cause almost no damage.
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