Superpower status risks cyberattack

Cyberwarfare and other security threats simply come with the territory when

your country is the world's only remaining "superpower," Defense Secretary

William Cohen told a group of veterans this week.

"We're looking at what I call a "superpower paradox,'" Cohen said during

a speech Monday to the National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars

and The Ladies Auxiliary. "There is no other country that can challenge

us directly. So they look for indirect ways to challenge us.... That can

come in the form of chemical or biological or even cyber [warfare]."

Cohen said it is imperative for the United States to study what it means

to be a superpower in the Information Age.

In addition to the two dozen countries known to be pursuing technologies

that would enable them to produce weapons of mass destruction, threats to

the nation's critical infrastructure from cyberattacks are also high on

the administration's list of things to prepare for, Cohen said.

"We know that other countries are forming cells of professionals dedicated

to finding ways to interrupt our [information] infrastructure," Cohen said.

"If you can shut down our financial system, if you could shut down our transportation

system, if you could cause the collapse of our energy production and distribution

system just by typing on a computer and causing those links to this globalization

to break down, then you're able to wage successful warfare, and we have

to be able to defend against that," he said. "We're taking these measures."

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