Last updated: April 25, 2011 - 8:37am
[Commentary] Many challenged my grim assessment early last year, when I called for America to develop a new strategy to address the kinds of cyberattacks that could cripple our nation’s infrastructure. If there were a cyberwar, I told Congress, we would lose. The unfortunate truth is that, a year later, we are no better prepared – and the stakes have risen.
Since then more details have emerged on the early 2010 attacks on Google and two dozen other companies, connecting them to China. Alongside the revelations about the Stuxnet attack on Iran and the WikiLeaks saga, the question today is no longer whether the cyberthreat is real – that was last year’s discussion. The challenge now is what to do about it, while balancing security, privacy, openness and innovation. We should immediately focus on protecting critical infrastructure – the power grid, financial networks, air traffic control and other transport infrastructure –– by realigning their use of the Internet. To do this we must create new “protected lanes” inside the global superhighway. I call this potential area “dot.secure”: a series of highly protected lanes for those operating vital infrastructure, within the free and open world of the .com global network. We must remember that cyberspace is more than just the Internet. It is a domain itself. For America to protect our economy and way of life as we have in the other domains, we cannot wait for the next big attack to shock us into action.
[McConnell was director of the National Security Agency in the Clinton administration and director of national intelligence in George W. Bush’s second term. He is executive vice-president of Booz Allen Hamilton]
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