TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: US Concludes 'Cyber Storm' Mock Attacks

US Concludes 'Cyber Storm' Mock Attacks

Ted Bridis (
Sat, 11 Feb 2006 15:31:03 -0600

By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer

The government concluded its "Cyber Storm" wargame Friday, its
biggest-ever exercise to test how it would respond to devastating
attacks over the Internet from anti-globalization activists,
underground hackers and bloggers.


Participants confirmed parts of the worldwide simulation challenged
government officials and industry executives to respond to deliberate
misinformation campaigns and activist calls by Internet bloggers,
online diarists whose "Web logs" include political rantings and
musings about current events.

The Internet survived, even against fictional abuses against the
world's computers on a scale typical for Fox's popular "24" television
series. Experts depicted hackers who shut down electricity in 10
states, failures in vital systems for online banking and retail sales,
infected discs mistakenly distributed by commercial software companies
and critical flaws discovered in core Internet technology.

Some mock attacks were aimed at causing a "significant cyber
disruption" that could seriously damage energy, transportation and
health care industries and undermine public confidence, said George
Foresman, an undersecretary at the Homeland Security Department.

There was no impact on the real Internet during the weeklong exercise.
Government officials from the United States, Canada, Australia and
England and executives from Microsoft, Cisco, Verisign and others said
they were careful to simulate attacks only using isolated computers,
working from basement offices at the Secret Services headquarters in
downtown Washington.

The Homeland Security Department promised a full report on results
from the exercise by summer.

Foresman likened his agency's role during any Internet attack to an
orchestra conductor, coordinating responses from law enforcement,
intelligence agencies, the military and private firms. The
government's goal is a "symphony of preparedness," Foresman said.

Homeland Security coordinated the exercise. More than 115 government
agencies, companies and organizations participated. They included the
White House National Security Council, Justice Department, Defense
Department, State Department, National Security Agency and CIA, which
conducted its own cybersecurity exercise called "Silent Horizon" last

An earlier cyberterrorism exercise called "Livewire" for Homeland
Security and other federal agencies concluded there were serious
questions over government's role during a cyberattack depending on who
was identified as the culprit -- terrorists, a foreign government or
bored teenagers.

It also questioned whether the U.S. government would be able to detect
the early stages of such an attack without significant help from
private technology companies.

On the Net:

Department of Homeland Security:

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

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