Superpower status risks cyberattack
- By Dan Verton
- Aug 24, 2000
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."