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­U.S. Steps ­Up Effort on Digital Defenses


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The United States is engaged in an international race to develop both cyberweapons and cyberdefenses. Thousands of daily attacks on federal and private computer systems in the United States, some malicious and some testing for weak points in the U.S.'s firewalls, have prompted the Obama administration to review the nation's strategy. Efforts include developing a highly classified replica of the Internet of the future to simulate what would be needed for the country's enemies to shut down power stations, telecommunications, and aviation systems.

Obama is expected to propose a significantly larger cyberdefensive effort, including the expansion of a $17 billion, five-year program approved by Congress last year, as well as an end to the bureaucratic battle over who is responsible for defending the country's cyberinfrastructure. However, Obama is not expected to discuss the U.S.'s cyberoffensive capabilities, which has been a major investment area for the nation's intelligence agencies, as many of these cyberweapons remain classified. The White House declined to comment on whether Obama supports or opposes the use of U.S. cyberweapons.

Some exotic cyberweapons under consideration would enable a military programmer to enter a computer server in Russia or China and destroy a botnet, or activate malicious code that is secretly embedded on computer chips when manufactured, enabling the U.S. to take control of an enemy's computer system.

From The New York Times
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