former Director of the National Cyber Security Division at the Department of Homeland Security
This [cybersecurity] has got to be in the top five national security priorities.
On August 8, 2008, an attacker activated an unspecified number of computers across the globe that had been infected with malware. All these unsuspecting systems were used to perpetrate an attack, sending so much traffic over the network to Georgia’s government data center that it overwhelmed the country’s network infrastructure, and all the networks went down in Georgia. Virtually no one could get through. The few users who could get access saw images on their screens that drew similarities between Hitler and Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili. Under the cover of this network communications blackout, Russian tanks rolled into Georgia.
The network attack, which was traced back to Russia, served the same purpose as strategic air strikes on enemy radars and communications antennae before a massive air attack. The assault on Georgia’s computer networks cut the country off from external communications and support. It was designed to cover the invasion, and it was the initial thrust of a coordinated military attack.
The motivation of North Korea’s attack on 22 South Korean and U.S. government sites in July 2009 is less clear. It might have been a ...