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CIA War Games Simulate Electronic Assault

David Utter
Expert Author
Published: 2005-05-26

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The three day wargames will be an attempt to duplicate a massive online assault against American interests.

AP and other outlets have reported the CIA practicing extensive testing of American responses to an all-out cyber assault.

The attacks carried out in the operation dubbed "Silent Horizon" were set five years in the future, and targeted government and commercial networks and servers. No official details of the exercise were forthcoming; those quoted on the subject requested anonymity.

One question that may be answered as part of the exercise would be if government agencies could detect an attack without the assistance of private firms specializing in computer security.

Previous simulations have been done on a smaller scale, as the threat of cyberterrorism was thought to be less broad in scope than other threats like radiation or biochemical ones.

But a concern exists that another broad physical attack, like a bombing, might be done in conjunction with electronic attacks against communications. This goes against FBI Director Robert Mueller's contention that hackers "do not have the resources or motivation to attack the U.S. critical information infrastructures."

The exercise, believed to be staffed by around 75 people, mostly from CIA, shows a willingness by government agencies to think more creatively about the potential threats against America, and that a worst-case scenario may be tomorrow's headline.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

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