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Dec 1, 2012 Comments Off on Inside ‘Plan X:’ The Pentagon’s Cyberweapon Central Infidel

Excerpted from Fox News: The Pentagon plans to bring warfare into the 22nd century, creating a new system to “map” the digital battlefield of cyberspace, defining a playbook for deploying cyberweapons and designating a management facility in Arlington, Va. to bring it all together.

It’s called Plan X, and it makes one thing very clear: Cyberwar is the future.

On Nov. 20, Pentagon research arm DARPA — short for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — released a document called “Foundational Cyberwarfare (Plan X),” a 52-page outline of how to fight a cyberwar. Its heart is a new map of cyberspace, a real-time rendering of the world of computers and how they connect — switches, bridges, nodes and so on. It then seeks “support platforms” that can deploy cyberweapons, measure damage, strengthen defenses and communicate.

“The Department of Defense (DoD) has developed superior capabilities over decades in the physical domains of land, sea, air, and space,” the document explains. “When called upon, the U.S. military must have equally superior capabilities to rapidly plan, execute, and assess the full spectrum of military operations in cyberspace.”

These range from espionage against private industry to attacks like the Stuxnet worm that hit Iran’s nuclear efforts in 2010. And it’s the new world of warfighting, said Andrew Serwin, a member of the advisory board of the Naval Post Graduate School’s Center for Asymmetric Warfare and an expert on cyberwarfare.

“You’re at a time where large physical war is winding down, and that physical domain is giving way to the cyberdomain,” Serwin told FoxNews.com.

He believes the document is evidence of a shift in focus for the Department of Defense. The agency is unlikely to fight a major “cyberwar” — if such a thing could ever really take place — instead eyeing the security holes posed by corporations and infrastructure.

In other words, while a hostile nation is unlikely to drop an A-bomb on Arkansas, they might hire someone to attack the computers governing the water supply.

“When does a cyberattack become cyberwar?” Serwin asked. “Is there really a distinction if you kill a bunch of people via a cyberattack, something you do to their water supply, versus if you drop a bomb on them? The threat vectors are no longer something the public sector can control.”

Roy Hadley, a partner at law firm Barnes & Thornburg where he heads the cybersecurity practice, pointed as evidence to the 2010 dust-up between Google and China. It’s widely believed that Chinese hackers compromised the Web giant’s servers, leading Google to seek government support.

“If Google doesn’t have the resources to withstand a cyberattack, probably very few companies in the United States will have that capability,” he told FoxNews.com.

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