ShareThis Page

Another cyber 'intrusion': Is an attack next?

| 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.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.