Panetta: Cyber threat is pre 9/11 moment
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
October 12th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Panetta: Cyber threat is pre 9/11 moment

By Pam Benson

The United States must beef up its cyber defenses or suffer as it did on September 11, 2001 for failing to see the warning signs ahead of that devastating terrorist attack, the Secretary of Defense told a group of business leaders in New York Thursday night.

Calling it a “pre-9/11 moment,” Leon Panetta said he is particularly worried about a significant escalation of attacks.

In a speech aboard a decommissioned aircraft carrier, Panetta reminded the Business Executives for National Security about recent distributed denial of service attacks that hit a number of large U.S. financial institutions with unprecedented speed, disrupting services to customers.

And he pointed to a cyber virus known as Shamoon which infected the computers of major energy firms in Saudi Arabia and Qatar this past summer. More than 30-thousand computers were rendered useless by the attack on the Saudi state oil company ARAMCO. A similar incident occurred with Ras Gas of Qatar. Panetta said the attacks were probably the most devastating to ever hit the private sector.

The secretary did not say who is believed responsible for those attacks, but senior defense officials who briefed reporters on the speech, said the United States knows, however they would not divulge the suspect.

And he warned America's critical infrastructure - its electrical power grid, water plants and transportation systems - are threatened by foreign actors.

"We know of specific instances where intruders have successfully gained access to these control systems," Panetta said. "We also know they are seeking to create advanced tools to attack those systems and cause panic, destruction and even loss of life."

For its part, Panetta said the Defense Department is "aggressively ... putting in place measures to stop cyber attacks dead in their tracks." The steps he outlined included both defensive and offensive responses.

He cited efforts to stop malicious code before it infects systems and investments in forensics to help track down who is responsible.

But defense isn't the only answer. "If we detect an imminent threat of attack that will cause significant physical destruction or kill American citizens, we need to have the option to take action to defend the nation when directed by the president," Panetta said.

Panetta also said the Defense Department is in the process of finalizing rules of engagement in cyberspace. In a telephone briefing with reports, a senior defense official would not provide any details about the proposed rules but did stress they involve what the response would be to a cyber attack on the United States "that would rise under international law to the level of armed attack."

Panetta's comments never used the word "offensive" and the senior defense officials who briefed reports about the speech under the condition of anonymity, were also reluctant to use the word. One official said it was important "to keep the maximum number of options on the table." Another official stressed the United States was prepared to take action if threatened, but added the Pentagon had previously acknowledged it has offensive cyber capabilities.

Cyber security is ultimately a team effort, and Panetta said the Defense Department was working closely with the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and others to protect the nation. He called on Congress to pass comprehensive cyber-security legislation now.

Over the summer, the Senate came up short when opponents of the Lieberman-Collins cyber bill blocked it from coming up for a final vote. A group of mostly Republican senators and the Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill because they believed it required too much of the private sector.

Panetta urged the business leaders to work with government to support stronger cyber defenses.

"We must share information between the government and the private sector about threats to cyberspace," Panetta said, adding everything would be done to protect civil liberties and privacy.

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Filed under: 9/11 • Congress • Cybersecurity • Military • Panetta • Secretary of Defense
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. djusticeofone

    OUR OWN FEDS ARE AMERICA'S CYBER TERRORIST FBI AND US MILITARY MORONS, http://WWW.DJUSTICEOFONE.WORDPRESS.COM STALKING MY FAMILY TRYING TO EXTORT MONEY WHILE KEEPING ME FROM WORKING AND USING MY FAMILY AS AMERICAN HOSTAGES WITH WHITE FED TRASH FROM CHICAGO IL.

    February 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  2. Joseph E. Espindola

    Syria should not have been attacked by the U.S.! Important to investigate Military & Pentagon current & former agents, officials, & personel!

    October 28, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Reply
  3. Joseph E. Espindola

    Destroy Pelosi, O'Conner, Welder, Melonie Sissamiz for causing a war that is disclosed to the public eye but are also responsible for the destruction of a US. military base in the Middle East which could have been avoided! Important to research!

    October 28, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  4. Mark J.

    I dont know if you guys have been reading the news but there already have been cyber attacks on our mission critical systems almost monthly now. Something must be done! Blocking a bill and limiting spending on cyber is a bad move because there has already been more lost due to cyber attacks and cyber crime than what is being spent on defending against it. Intellectual property, money, plans and designs for weapons systems etc. We are already behind the power curve on this one. It's one thing to have your own firewall, and for private companies to defend thier own networks, but that's pretty much useless if a zero day hit's or the economy crashes, or worse a long term blackout due to cyber attack occurs.

    October 17, 2012 at 7:31 am | Reply
  5. Chicken Shi'ite

    Save US! Save US!

    Please SAVE US from the cyber boogey man!

    And tap my phone while you're at it. And stick an RFID chip in me too so you can track my whereabouts.

    October 16, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
  6. Fubar

    Watch for a cyber False Flag attack against US infrastructure, which will be followed by new legislation that allows the US government to take complete control over the Internet.

    October 15, 2012 at 1:12 am | Reply
  7. bman

    Cyber Defense is code words for censorship of the internet.

    October 14, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Reply
    • chris

      censorship of what? your porn?

      October 15, 2012 at 12:48 am | Reply
      • Jim in PA

        If they want his porn, they'll have to pry from his warm clenched.... er.. never mind....

        October 15, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  8. Pat

    America always has a war against something so now it is this war . . . Why can't we just get on with our lives and spend money on true improvments for the needy in the US

    October 14, 2012 at 9:37 am | Reply
    • speaktruth

      Maybe because these are showing all the warning signs similar to pre 9/11 attacks? Its retards like you that cause tragedies like that in the first place, so when our critical infrastructure gets attacked and people die, the blood will be on your hands and all the people like you. We need to take action NOW and prevent another 9/11. You truly are brainless. Stupid republicans shot down that bill, just like the republicans ignored Clintons warnings for 9/11.. the blood will be on your hands once again.

      October 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Reply
      • bman

        It's cowards like you Speakfibs that with your paranoid xenophobia, that are afraid of their own shadow. Don't call others idiots until you've overcome your fears.

        October 14, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • SteveP

      Because Halliburton wouldn't be able to make enough money that way.

      October 15, 2012 at 1:14 am | Reply
  9. smako

    I, smako, king of the cyber domain will give the key to internet security for international connections. FREE Pull the plug. Why do our federal super computers need a direct plug into China?

    October 14, 2012 at 9:30 am | Reply
    • Jim in PA

      EXACTLY! No hacking or programming in the world can overcome a physical firewall. Having said that, it is thought that the US managed to spread the STUXNET worm to the Iranian nuclean facilities via a USB drive, because the Iranians had just such an isolated system. So infection is still possible, just more difficult.

      October 15, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  10. SixDegrees

    Yeah, well, it's good to want things. But the government is running an enormous, unsustainable deficit, and we don't have the money for new systems like this unless some other program takes a hit.

    Mr. Panetta could start with tanks. The military is receiving 2000 new tanks this year – which the military absolutely does not want, because it is running out of room to store them along with the thousands of other tanks it never asked for or used over the last many years. Panetta and Congress keep forcing these useless items on an unwilling military because there are tank plants in a lot of home states.

    Give up those useless, unwanted expenditures and there will be plenty of cash left over to both pay down the deficit and build new systems more suited to the modern age.

    October 14, 2012 at 7:04 am | Reply
    • speaktruth

      Useless? How scary is the thought that computers control all of our national infrastructure and our government basically admitted they have been hacked before and we have no defense measures in place. You really are like the brainless republicans who shot down that bill. And who ignored all of clintons warning for 9/11..Smart. One day when your family gets effected by this, youll be crying where was our government to protect us. Just another brainless repub.

      October 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
    • bman

      I'm tired of talking about cuts, sure Panetta may not need tanks but some Greedy rich SOB's need a serious tax hike.
      we aren't going to fix the problem with cuts, we'll only fix it when all pay a fair share.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Reply
  11. Brent

    Yeah.. maybe some research on how not to let a PFC walk off with gigs of top secret info on a USB stick.. would be good for starters. (try super glue for starters... – free advice)

    The biggest threat to 'cyber security' is usally a PEBCAK issue.. (Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard) Can't cure stupid with IT..

    And as various people have brought up... how about just NOT putting your super secret plans, nuclear plant controls or industrial secrets, on a network with Internet access...

    October 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Reply
  12. Akiltieu

    Why are we waiting for them attack and we have to be in defenses move?
    The US government and the rest of the world know China, Russian, and Iran are these us cyber attack to stolen our high technologies. My question is why, we are not attacking them first, why we not play a offenses attack or maybe bomping these facility to stopping they act?

    October 13, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Reply
    • Pat

      In English next time please?

      October 13, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Reply
      • mardjan

        we idi attack them first. Turns out they are just as computer smart as us.

        October 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • mardjan

      We did attack them first, but they seem to be just as computer smart as us!

      October 14, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Reply
  13. Sevensins

    Maybe instead of spying on everyone here in the USofA like they have been doing, and focusing on important stuff like this, we wouldn't get caught with our pants down! Get a budget together... Our intelligence isn’t so intelligent is it?

    October 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  14. Axe Tera

    Leon, you reap what you sow.

    October 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      Well put, Axe Tera. Thank you.

      October 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  15. lance

    stop buying and trading with communist china, our nation got along fine when china was a cold war enemy, now all china does is steals american jobs and technology but still builds its military like its ready to take us on.

    October 13, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
    • Lance

      I encourage readers to take this article by MJ Rosenberg of the Huffington Post, including my commentary and post it everywhere they want but particularly conservative web sites, sites of veterans, their personal Facebook pages and share with anyone that they can.
      Israel shares none of the USA 's values notwithstanding comments from Israel-Firsters. Like I said, Israel shares none of the good ole US of A's values – when was the last time that America leeched billions of dollars in aid from another country. Americans work hard to make better lives and defend themselves. America does not keep on leeching at the tax dollars of other hard working people for perpeptuity year after year after and counting now into the decades as Israel has leeched off the USA in an amount in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Yeah living is easy when it is at the expense of others. Oh well, America roads will continue to decay, schools will lack supplies, American children in their millions will live off food stamps and Israel-Firsters will keep on yammering about how Israel supposedly shares our values and how successful it is when the only thing that it is successful at is leeching as It takes the tax dollars of hard working Americans like a parasitic vampire.

      Increasing Israel Aid, Cutting Everything Else

      It's no longer news that the one item exempt from cuts in every budget slashing proposal (including Rep. Paul Ryan's "gut Medicare" offering) is aid to Israel.

      Actually it is hard to use the word aid about an annual multi-billion dollar gift that goes directly to the Israeli military. That word suggests that the recipient is needy, which the Israeli military most certainly isn't. (Virtually all our aid to Israel is military).

      U.S. "aid to Israel is, by far, the largest chunk of our foreign aid budget. That portion of the budget is increased (an extra billion in this year's budget) while real aid programs to the sick, hungry and impoverished in Africa, Asia, and Latin America is always on the budget cutters' chopping block. (Mitt Romney says China should provide non-military foreign aid, not us - the wealthiest nation on earth).

      It's no secret why Israel's gifts from the U.S. are immune. The Israel lobby uses its power to direct campaign contributions to ensure that no Member of Congress, or president for that matter, ever dares suggests that Israel take a hit as Americans do.

      You have to wonder why Israel, at least for propaganda purposes, does not offer to accept a cut given that so many Americans are hurting so badly. I suppose the Netanyahu government does not want to establish any precedent by which Israel aid goes any direction but up, regardless of how badly the U.S. economy is doing.

      The behavior of the Israeli government and its lobby toward this question reminds me of the scene inFiddler On The Roof in which a beggar complains to a passerby who just dropped a coin in his cup:

      Beggar: One kopeck? Last week you gave me two kopecks.
      Donor: I had a bad week.
      Beggar: So you had a bad week. Why should I suffer?
      That beggar needed a lobby.

      Anyone who doubts that the lobby keeps the money flowing to Israel through the selective use of campaign contributions should read this transcript. It is from 1992 and it comes from a tape in which the president of AIPAC boasts to a potential donor (who is secretly recording the conversation) about how AIPAC operates.

      The good news is that, at last, the Israel "aid" program is coming under scrutiny, from journalists if not from Congress.

      In Thursday's Washington Post, Walter Pincus asks why "the United States put[s] Israel's budget problems aheads of its own."

      He takes specific aim at a U.S-Israel deal in which:

      the United States will provide an additional $680 million to Israel over three years. The money is meant to help pay for procuring three or four new batteries and interceptors for Israel's Iron Dome short-range rocket defense program. The funds may also be used for the systems after their deployment, according to the report of the House Armed Services Committee on the fiscal 2013 Defense Authorization bill
      He also notes that:

      (1) The Iron Dome funds, already in legislation before Congress, will be on top of the $3.1 billion in military aid grants being provided to Israel in 2013 and every year thereafter through 2017."
      (2) The House committee version of the defense authorization bill... includes another $168 million "requested by [the] Government of Israel to meet its security requirements... This money is to be added to three other missile defense systems that have been under joint development by the United States and Israel. The $168 million is in addition to another $99.9 million requested by the Obama administration for those programs.

      I have no problem with the U.S. helping to fund the Iron Dome project, a missile defense system that has proven effective in defending Israeli civilians from missile attacks. I have a weakness for systems that defend civilians anywhere against missile attacks, including Palestinians who are defenseless against Israeli attacks.

      But I have to wonder if the overall U.S. aid program for Israel should not be cut in view of the horrific economic conditions here at home. After all, the House has voted to cut $36 billion from nutrition assistance programs, which would kick 2 million people off of food aid, cut benefits for 44 million more, and drop 280,000 low-income children from the free school lunch program.

      I am no fan of budget cuts in general but with everything else under the sledgehammer, it is nuts to exempt Israel (nor would it be exempted but for the power of the lobby).

      Then there is Pincus' final point.

      Although the U.S. is putting $900 million into Israel's missile defense program "the United States has no rights to the technology involved."

      Pincus concludes:

      So here is the United States, having added to its own deficit by spending funds that it must borrow, helping to procure a missile defense system for Israel, which faces the threat but supposedly can't pay for it alone.
      To add insult to injury, Pentagon officials must ask the Israeli government-owned company that is profiting from the weapons sales - including Iron Dome - if the United States can have a piece of the action.

      Are we the biggest suckers on earth or is it just the irresistible clout of the lobby. Read this transcript and you'll have your answer. Would you want to be the legislator who objects to this arrangement?

      October 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply
      • MarkA

        @Lance, interesting and valuable info here; I learned a few things. Question: It seems to me that the U.S. considers Israel an outpost of sorts. No? That nation is georgraphically and ideologically an island in the midst of some very treacherous seas; we want to support our outposts because they are effective, far-away buffers and serve us so well. Now why those seas are so treacherous is another thing, I suppose. We have become very adept at fomenting enemies among the Arab states, and this was not always so. My pet gripe there is our blind interventionist philosophy, which has no credible counter in the form of isolationism in today's political discourse. But the point is, if you're going to go around the world, throwing our weight around, you're going to make lots of enemies; and that will require you to equip others who represent you out there, which is extremely expensive. Pardon the non-political-scientist hack job.

        October 18, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • Frodo

      Actually it is not China. Hackers are Iranian students from Sharif U, testing the NA systems for broader attacks yet to come.

      October 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Reply
      • M Onger

        How do we know?
        We can't shut down spammers because we can't find them.
        So why couldn't these attacks originate in Israel, planted in Iranian servers?

        October 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  16. JM

    This looks like they are trying to pave the way to further erode our civil rights under the guise of fear and terrorism. Stay tuned for the upcoming internet censorship. Those RIA lobby dollars must be hard at work.

    October 13, 2012 at 8:54 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      JM, while I understand your concern we have to make choices. For once I agree with Panetta. We need to wake up to the very real probable consequences of a successful cyber attack on the nations debit system. Imagine one day you go to the grocery store and have no way to pay, panic sets in, cash is king – a run on food. Watch this develop and demand from reps like Joe Barton to pay attention. The pain of intrusion on our privacy has to balance on our need to live in peace and security.

      October 13, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
    • Jeff

      You called it. There will be some kind of cyber attack and all the sheep will demand the government protect them from the big bad Internet.

      October 15, 2012 at 1:19 am | Reply
  17. Shawn Irwin

    They have only themselves to blame . . . . they release malignant programs to damage Iran's infrastructure, and then expect that there will be no learning or response from the countries who dislike the USA? This is the same old story as using drones . . . . use them, and expect them used on you. Instead of creating treaties and bargaining with other nations, for a long time the USA has been strong-arming other countries . . . . and this creates a backlash . . . . and more enemies. When are the Washington clowns going to learn?

    October 13, 2012 at 5:19 am | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Why don't you saddle up and get a treaty signed with Iran? Come back here and let us know how that works out.

      October 14, 2012 at 7:06 am | Reply
  18. war will come

    muslim brotherhood head spiritual leader just calls for jihad to liberate jerusalem and all of "palestine", by force.

    so obama? whatcha gonna do......?????? give a speech?

    October 13, 2012 at 12:17 am | Reply
    • NorbertLives

      Bring it on man of the east. We have frodo and gandolf on our side.

      October 13, 2012 at 8:38 am | Reply
      • Lance

        Actually, for Israel-Firsters their PRECiOUS is Israhell, which has corrupted America's body politic and made American politicians become slaves of Israhell's special interest.....look at Mitt the Twit Rob-Me wants to outsource the job of the President of the United States of America to Nutty-Yahoo of Israhell and make this into the Jew-nighted States for Israhell....'Nuff said.....

        October 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Lance

      Mitt the Twit Rob-Me and Paul the Lyin Ryan Ryan are Israel-Firsters who would sell out the the USA for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Thanks to these AIPAC Als and other Republican and also Democratic politicians, they have made the US Congress Israhelli occupied territory as Pat Buchanan said. Rabbis and their Israel-Firster buddies have made American politicians their lapdogs. The USA has become a Rabbinate and Israel-Firsters try to make Americans think that the mullahs are taking over the USA when AIPAC already has!

      October 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  19. dd

    Well, Panetta knows that the first step is to remove Obama so that an incoming President can appoint intelligent, technology savvy people. Obama's educators have never had a real job! Look at the economy! Look at Obama's investments in failing solar firms. The US is be run by a peanut head or an empty chair.

    October 12, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Reply
  20. SayWhaaa

    All the key words there in droopy's statement to spark fear in the already fearful america to have them throw money at it. I just don't the American psyche, you send the stuknet worm or whatever that was admit to it and then when Iran retliates it is caused a "major escalation." What goes around comes around.

    October 12, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Reply
    • Lance

      Payback can be a b-tch. The USA thought it was okay to attack Iran with cyber-weapons but suddenly has a problem if any one thinks it is a useful tool to develop cyber-warfare capabilities against America. This is completely hypocritical...worse it is a criminal way of thinking especially given that the USA will always be far more vulnerable to cyber attacks than any other country in the world given our dependence on computers in every area of the economy and given that attacks can be made at multiple points on the system ranging from banks, power plants to the electrical grids to the transportation networks and so on....it was a stupid idea to attack Iran with cyber weapons and the USA should never have done it as we have opened a can of worms in an area where we will always be probably more vulnerable than any third world challenger .....the stupid Stuxnet attack by the USA and Israhell against Iran has leveled the playing field –against us!!!

      October 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  21. Kevin

    Hooch
    This is either a real threat, and that is possible, just look at all the junk that gets sent around the world or a government plot to keep up dependent on their wisdom (since the public is stupid), their protection (since the people are not capable of self defense) or help (since citizens are basically helpless).

    October 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  22. George Patton

    Now the right-wing idiots in Washington have found yet another way to try to scare the general public. It's these same idiots who started all this cyber militarization in the first place. How old this gets!!!

    October 12, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Reply
    • Maersk

      Have you noticed that Panetta's nose is getting bigger and longer?

      October 12, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Reply
      • Lance

        Yep....you sow the wind with Stuxnet and Duqu and you reap the wind with Shamoom and possibly more....

        October 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  23. heres an idea

    Why have "criticial infrastructure" online anyways doesnt that seem idiotic?

    Everything doesnt need to be "always online bluetooth compatible" to just work.

    Thats like placing a gasoline can next to a fire and wondering how it exploded.

    More Problem reaction solution from the numbnuts in washington whos motto is "never let a crises go to waste".

    The REAL reason they want to police the internet is because of kids downloading music and movies. The recording and movie industry has been stuffing the pockets of politicians with millions of dollars for this.

    And while were on the whole "terrorism" thing What happened to Bin Laden, why did they "bury him at sea" Wouldnt you think the victims of Sept 11 deserve to see the body of the one who ordered attacks on our country. "Habeas Corpus" Produce the body Can that whole "it'll infuriate muslims" Idea cos they Paraded Gaddafhi and Saddams corpse on screen for the world to see. I smell bullcrap.

    October 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Reply
    • speaktruth

      hmmm maybe because gadafi and saddam were both held captive by the people of their respective countries and not the United States? What I wanna know is does your demented brain actually believe these dellusional thoughts? Or does your demented brain actually think we are not smarter than all of your retarded propaganda comments? That may work in your third world country, but here in the States we are way smarter than youre education deprived people will ever be so that don't work here. Hahahahahahahahaha

      October 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • XYZ

      I think you hit the nail on the head. Lots of government propaganda out there. I'm enjoying the last few months of being able to post to web sites before the MPAA takes over the internet to protect us from all the terrorists.

      October 15, 2012 at 1:24 am | Reply
  24. Nightfury

    Hmmm. DOD should be the experts on this. Just ask Iran.

    October 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Reply
  25. jeff forsythe

    Americans seem to have forgotten their fallen sons and fathers who died in faraway places like Korea and Vietnam, trying to stop the spread of the evil Chinese Communist Party. Now, thanks to corporate greed, Americans are lining up to do business with the most brutal gangster regime that has ever existed.The worst crime of all is the crime against conscience. Thank you.

    October 12, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Reply
    • Ronei

      marzon:Any new camera with a fast shteutr (at least 1/1000) and good, quick auto focus can easily produce good action shots. When you're in the camera store, try to see which cameras take pictures the fastest from when you push the shteutr. True cameras will instantly take a picture, put some poorer quality P&S ones seem to take several seconds to actually take a photo.

      December 18, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  26. ted davey

    IF THE ECLECTRICAL GRID GOES DOWN ITS AN ACT OF WAR

    October 12, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  27. ted davey

    IF THE ECLETRICAL GRID GOES DOWN ITS AN ACT OF WAR

    October 12, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  28. thumbsIhave2

    01101110 01101111 00100000 01110011 01101000 01101001 01110100

    October 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Reply
    • Pharos

      Easy for you to say.

      October 12, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  29. Matt

    1) the military does have a separate network. Infact the Internet was once a private network, now it's a commercial project.
    2) We need an isolated secure network in the US that is only for these needs with no way to access the Internet from or add regular pc's or devices.
    3) Provide a way to isolate rogue networks or countries from the Internet.

    The Internet was once a US network, we should go back and put kill switches when needed to isolate the US so outside the US can't interfere with us under emergencies.

    October 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      Matt, it's not that simple. First of all you can't interfere with trade, how would you implement a filter and still provide for international commerce? Actually the answer is to protect and isolate the important networks FROM the open internet. Also, the debit system is a sitting duck, this should be our first priority.

      October 13, 2012 at 10:56 am | Reply
      • Matt

        Listen folks, I have designes, implemented ans managed some of the largest and high important networks in the world including financials in Ny. We have been fighting for years against the Chinese, Russians and middle east. They are continuously testing us and breeching our security. You cannot stop any persistent state that wants to cause problems or espionage. They will get in, it will happen. The only resource is to isolate the important networks vital to the security of our country and train our people in security. There is no other way.

        October 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  30. NNN

    This is just another cheap ploy to get more money out of Congress for this bankrupt department . DoD can't even secure their own IT but they pretend to assume the role of leadership in protecting the free world, what a joke.

    October 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  31. 28Mamerican

    totally agree. It would be no different not reacting to this known threat, then not reacting had we known pre 911. In fact this will be more devastating.

    October 12, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  32. old golfer

    Weapons of Mass destruction by another word. Cyber threat.

    October 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • Cao Ni Ma.

      What's so hard about disconnecting networks from the Internet? There is something called an "intranet" that gives you all the convenience without the connection to the outside world. Who cares if you can't hit google from your desk. Or check sports scores. Do it on your phone on your lunch break. FFS.

      October 12, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Reply
      • anonymous of heritage

        most companies need to send email outside :)

        October 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  33. T. W. A. T.

    You must spend enormous amounts of cash contracting with all your butt buddies in the military industrial complex to make more !%'ers even richer.

    Tell you what, when the 'cyber attack' begins, pull the damn plug morons. You could pay someone 15 dollars and hour to sit next to the plug prepared to pull it on a phone call.

    Jesus why does everything these clowns propose have to cost in the ba'zillions of dollars.

    October 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  34. marcus

    Why is our power grid plugged into the internet anyway? Why dont we have isolated networks for our utilities?

    October 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
    • fiftyfive55

      Yup.like for the ast 20 years,oh wait,I forgot,theyv'e only known about thes scenarios for 20 years.

      October 12, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  35. geeworker

    agree 100% but then again I work in cyber security so my opinion maybe a bit biased for the sake of future contracts

    October 12, 2012 at 11:43 am | Reply
  36. Markus

    9/11 was let it to happen so the US can attack a sovereign nation with international support. A Cyber Attack is for real and no such game play can be done as it was done with 9/11, PH, etc.

    October 12, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply
  37. sec

    Shamoon isn't a virus, it's known as a worm by Symantec and a Trojan by Sophos....Hacktivists claimed responsibility....

    October 12, 2012 at 10:48 am | Reply
  38. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Where are all the hackers? Why hasn't a hacker hacked into Romney's tax records and released them to the world yet. Come on guys, you're starting to look incompetent.

    October 12, 2012 at 10:33 am | Reply
    • RichGuy

      LOL. We don't pay axes, they're for the little people.

      October 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  39. James

    Yeah, right....

    A l a r m i s t P r o p a g a n d a

    This is being used to get people accustomed to the idea that we need stiff cyber-regulation, which we obviously don't. Don't buy into the bull.

    The internet doesn't need regulating, but control-freak politicians most certainly DO.

    October 12, 2012 at 10:31 am | Reply
  40. dutspup

    I’m afraid this has more to do with your freedom and anonymity on the internet than combatting cyber threats. Anything can be hacked or reverse engineered. The ONLY way to avoid attacks is to unplug from the internet. All this talk is tied to bills that expressly degrade your freedoms. The RIAA and MPAA are pushing it hard as well. To give them cart blanche to go drop a bomb on a nation because they are bugging you PC's and servers is ridiculous.

    October 12, 2012 at 9:44 am | Reply
    • James

      You're seeing through the veil.

      The history of America at war has been False Flag after False Flag after False Flag.

      Now, they will be saying that this country or that (that they want to bomb) is attacking our computers. Of course, it'll be our own intelligence agencies in one form or another doing the attacking! The people ARE waking up. They're gonna either have to get a whole lot smarter in their governmental con-games OR they're gonna have to start using some of those 1,600,000,000 bullets that they've ordered in the last 12 months alone.

      October 12, 2012 at 10:35 am | Reply
      • damon

        I'll bet that the country behind this supposed cyber attack will have lots of oil, too.

        October 15, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  41. Brett`

    Agressions in cyberspace should not be handled by DoD. Please dont go to "cyberwar". There is no capability for military "cyberwar" action on internet – uniforms and flags are irrelevant (as required for a war). Attacks on so-called mil/gov assets on the internet is untrue – military networks are behind protective gateways. Unfortunately, the only common denominator is cyber defenses. If it is important, it shouldnt be on the internet (military or power plant). If you absolutely "must" put on internet, then deal with it or manage risk. Still, it will be interesting to see how this new definitions is going to pan out. DoD and DHS are not appropriate for defending internet – internet is non-national and is not located in any nation. If we are serious about cyber security (really, about stability and civility) then raise a Department of Cyber with a Secretary of Cyber to properly manage.

    October 12, 2012 at 9:40 am | Reply
    • James

      The internet promotes freedom and transparency in world events.

      Example: The U.S. says that Assad is committing atrocities. Most start to believe the lamestream media. Thank GOD, the Syrians themselves sent video and commentary that, in fact, it was the U.S. supported rebels (foreign mercenaries) that were doing the atrocious attacks. The global banksters and corporate interests aren't interested in people getting actual news or they wouldn't have taken over CNN and made it a governmental mouthpiece.

      We've all been around awhile and have experienced the government. We already know that if there's something good, something really, really good like the internet, the government will be all over themselves trying to find a way to control it, tax it, and when possible, regulate it out of existence.

      October 12, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
    • damon

      Sure, let's create more bureaucracy and more government agencies. I'm sure that will work. I wonder if we can get China to loan us the money to fund this new federal agency that is being built to monitor Chinese government hackers.

      October 15, 2012 at 1:31 am | Reply
  42. Ralph S.

    Ummmmmm .... Maybe these critical infrastructures shouldn't be using the Internet, if security is of the utmost importance? And should be on separate "closed" systems?

    October 12, 2012 at 9:15 am | Reply
    • James

      It has nothing to do with actual safety... it has to do with using issues of safety as one of their (the government's) preferred methods for stealing liberties and freedoms from the people. Look at all we lost in the wake of 9/11. The world isn't one iota safer for Americans... it's worse!

      Benjamin Franklin warned us very clearly that they'd try to use SAFETY in order to steal away our liberty. He also said that if we allowed it to happen that we didn't deserve those liberties in the first place.

      We WERE warned.

      Panetta, eat me.

      October 12, 2012 at 10:44 am | Reply
  43. JustPassingBy

    Just don't call it SkyNet !!!!!!!

    October 12, 2012 at 9:11 am | Reply
    • johnny

      love your coment.

      November 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  44. txwiseman

    The Chinese are the biggest cyber hackers in the world. In fact, they pose much bigger threat to our security than even Al Quida.

    October 12, 2012 at 8:53 am | Reply
    • James

      Obvious troll... ALERT

      No, the Chinese are no great threat to us. No, we don't need to give up even more liberties for some imagined bogeyman.

      You're more likely to get hit by lightning, mid-air, wearing bermuda shorts while juggling than being "hurt" by Chinese hackers.

      R I D I C U L O U S !

      October 12, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
    • Joe

      Then why don't you invade them ?

      October 12, 2012 at 11:41 am | Reply
  45. DL

    Oh...you don't LIKE when others hack into OUR systems? Hey. what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

    October 12, 2012 at 8:39 am | Reply
    • up1652

      Does this mean you're a goose ?

      October 12, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
  46. Jack Martin

    Elazon is the world’s only Electronic Message Response and Remediation System, and mitigates all forms of unwanted electronic messages and behavioral advertising and facilitates good computing for both consumers and businesses.

    The system can easily overwhelm any ecosystem with automatic responses to unwanted messages.

    http://www.elazon.com/

    October 12, 2012 at 8:10 am | Reply
  47. BillD

    Panetta has some very good points.

    October 12, 2012 at 7:57 am | Reply
    • James

      They're not "points", they're called "lies".

      We don't need them. We don't need Panetta.

      All you governmental control freaks can go find another tree to bark up, because we're not interested in giving up any more freedoms under the guise of getting some safety from some made-up bogeyman.

      If we should fear Chinese hackers by the amount, X.... we should fear lie-spewing, control freak politicians like Panetta by the amount, 1,000,000 times X.

      October 12, 2012 at 10:49 am | Reply
      • Steve-O

        Amen, brother!

        October 15, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  48. michaelfury

    First tell us about this "pre-9/11 moment", Mr. Secretary:

    http://pulverizedtonearpower.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/pulverized-to-near-power/

    October 12, 2012 at 7:32 am | Reply
  49. Brad76

    I'm surprised this wasn't done long ago!!!

    October 12, 2012 at 5:56 am | Reply
    • Joe

      CIA was busy blowing up the twin towers before. You can't expect them to do hacking at the same time. But, now they are free.

      October 12, 2012 at 11:44 am | Reply

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