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Monday, April 4, 2011

U.S. report: we'd lose potential cyberwar with China

A U.S. Air Force-published study warns China will soon be able to cripple U.S. military through cyber-attacks
Patrick Winn
Killing U.S. military communication networks, deading satellites, sending bogus orders to naval vessels.

What can't a Chinese cyberwarrior in the year 2020 do?

A report published in a U.S. Air Force academic journal (examined here by Computerworld) suggests China's rising cyber warriors will soon be able to do all that and more.

Written by a former U.S. Department of State IT specialist, the scenario imagines that China has already overtaken Taiwan and is making a go at the ethnically Chinese majority city-state Singapore. The U.S. comes to Singapore's aid until Chinese cyber-attacks shoot the military's communication systems right in the kneecaps.

Spoiler alert: Singapore stays independent, though a stunned U.S. is kept at arm's length. (Not as bad as you thought, right?)

The author, Christopher Bronk, told Computerworld that he doesn't envision a Red Dawn-style scenario with "cascading sets of attacks, where by the end of Day Three we are all sitting in darkness eating beans and heading out into the mountains with our guns."

His point is that, in any future conflict with China, cyber-attacks should be expected as part of the battle.

These hypothetical war scenarios pop up from time to time in U.S. military academia. In a previous career as a defense reporter with Gannett, I looked at this scenario: the Chinese "sucker punch" attack. This plan, to suddenly bomb our Pacific bases, kill key personnel and fry U.S. equipment with "e-bombs," is based on reports from actual Chinese-language military journals.

Are you trembling yet? I'm not. Dreaming up fictional war scenarios is what military academics do -- regardless of whether they're in the U.S. or China.

More worrisome is this Sunday Times report that suggests 55 percent of people polled in China envision a coming "cold war" with America and a Chinese general's assertion that he must "punish the U.S."

Your feedback is always welcome.
Thank you!

Cyber War - The Aurora Project

DIGITAL AGE - How Ready Are We For A Cyber-War?- Adam Segal. Feb. 28, 2010

Fault Lines: Fault Lines - Cyberwar

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