[ISN] CIA Overseeing 3-Day War Game on Internet
isn at c4i.org
Thu May 26 13:10:15 EDT 2005
By TED BRIDIS
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON May 26, 2005 - The CIA is conducting a secretive war game,
dubbed "Silent Horizon," this week to practice defending against an
electronic assault on the same scale as the Sept. 11 terrorism
The three-day exercise, ending Thursday, was meant to test the ability
of government and industry to respond to escalating Internet
disruptions over many months, according to participants. They spoke on
condition of anonymity because the CIA asked them not to disclose
details of the sensitive exercise taking place in Charlottesville,
Va., about two hours southwest of Washington.
The simulated attacks were carried out five years in the future by a
fictional alliance of anti-American organizations, including
anti-globalization hackers. The most serious damage was expected to be
inflicted in the war game's closing hours.
The national security simulation was significant because its premise a
devastating cyberattack that affects government and parts of the
economy with the same magnitude as the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide
hijackings contravenes assurances by U.S. counterterrorism experts
that such far-reaching effects from a cyberattack are highly unlikely.
Previous government simulations have modeled damage from cyberattacks
"You hear less and less about the digital Pearl Harbor," said Dennis
McGrath, who helped run three similar war games for the Institute for
Security Technology Studies at Dartmouth College. "What people call
cyberterrorism, it's just not at the top of the list."
The CIA's little-known Information Operations Center, which evaluates
threats to U.S. computer systems from foreign governments, criminal
organizations and hackers, was running the war game. About 75 people,
mostly from the CIA, gathered in conference rooms and reacted to signs
of mock computer attacks.
The government remains most concerned about terrorists using
explosions, radiation and biological threats. FBI Director Robert
Mueller warned earlier this year that terrorists increasingly are
recruiting computer scientists but said most hackers "do not have the
resources or motivation to attack the U.S. critical information
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