Cyberwar is Not Hypothetical. The US is Under Attack Today.

While it’s impossible to state with certainty that all electronics built in China or other foreign adversaries contain security threats, the risks are real. “We are under attack nearly every day,” said Captain Jeffrey Buss of the US Naval Academy’s Center for Cyber Security Studies. China and Russia are currently attacking the United States on a regular basis using cyber weapons. China is behind many serious data breaches and suspect them of such brazen acts as stealing the digital plans for the F-35 fighter jet and making an identical copy of the plane—denigrating the effectiveness of a $1.5 trillion weapons program in the process. [1]

Consider the following serious security breaches the United States is suspected to have suffered at the hands of Russia, China and perhaps North Korea:

  • The theft of the NSA’s most secret and critical hacking tools.[2]
  • The theft of hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic documents by an Army private and given to WikiLeaks, an entity with suspected ties to Russian Intelligence.
  • The theft of secret national security documents by NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
  • The theft of millions of electronic Federal employee personnel records.[3]
  • The breaching of three billion Yahoo email accounts, suspected to have been carried out by Russian agents.[4]
  • The theft of 145,000,000 customer records from the Equifax credit agency, most likely by a state-sponsored entity.[5]
  • The theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee, turned over to WikiLeaks by Russian Intelligence.[6]

These are the known incidents. One would have to imagine there are many more. Add to these the dozens of major breaches of American retailers, financial services firms, healthcare providers and so forth. Russia and China seem to have free run over all data and systems in the US government, private sector and military. Add to this the virtual certainty that every major US corporation will suffer a major data breach in the near future—coupled with the open secret, amongst security executives, that in most cases the hackers are already inside their networks, undetected.

The implications of these serious attacks are under-examined. They are attacks on American sovereignty—blatant, audacious acts of espionage. And, they’re likely connected. The theft of government personnel records and Equifax data are probably intended to enable a foreign power to amass a huge trove of personal information on American officials. This could enable impersonation, blackmail and command chaos. (Picture a military officer getting an order from a hacker impersonating a General.)

[1] Paganini, Pierluigi – “Snowden reveals that China stole plans for a new F-35 aircraft fighter,” Security Affairs, January 19, 2015

[2] Shane, Scott, Perlroth, Nicole and Sanger, David – “Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the N.S.A. to its Core, New York Times,  November 12, 2017


[3] Nakashima, Ellen – “Hacks of OPM databases compromised 22.1 million people, federal authorities say,” Washington Post, July 9, 2015

[4] Goel, Vindu and Lichtblau – “Russian Agents Were Behind Yahoo Hack, U.S. Says,” New York Times, March 15, 2017

[5] Riley, Michael, Robertson, Jordan and Sharpe, Anita – “The Equifax Hack Has the Hallmarks of State-Sponsored Pros,” Bloomberg, Sept 29. 2017

[6] “Intelligence Agencies Say Russia Ordered ‘Influence Campaign’ to Aid Donald Trump in Election,” The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 6, 2017 7:17