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Another cyber 'intrusion': Is an attack next?

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Sunday, May 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A Chinese hack of a database that details vulnerabilities of about 8,100 major U.S. dams reveals President Obama's recent executive order to boost infrastructure protection and cyber security as mere talk — and America's cyber defenses as still inadequate.

The Washington Free Beacon reports U.S. intelligence agencies have traced the unauthorized January intrusion into the Army Corps of Engineers' National Inventory of Dams to China's government or military. That's a distinction without a difference.

About 2,500 U.S. dams generate hydroelectric power, so this hack heightens concerns that go beyond just dams' security, as former National Counterintelligence Executive Michelle Van Cleave wrote in an email to The Beacon.

“In the wrong hands, the Army Corps of Engineers' database could be a cyber attack roadmap for a hostile state or terrorist group to disrupt power grids or target dams in this country,” she said.

And with the Obama administration aiming to expand “green” hydroelectric power by 15 percent, it should view this hack as Chinese reconnaissance for a cyber attack targeting long-term U.S. energy security, too.

Chinese hands definitely are “the wrong hands” to hold this information. The Obama administration must go beyond empty rhetoric to prevent Chinese cyber attacks or repel them before sensitive data can be stolen.

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