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Snowden: NSA Making Cyberattacks On US More Likely And Costly

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In an interview with NOVA that has yet to air, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden claims that the NSA is actively working to weaken US security by refusing to disclose vulnerabilities the agency finds in America’s cyberinfrastructure. Furthermore, Snowden claims that the NSA and its partners have developed and deployed offensive cyberwarfare weapons that have stoked a global cyberarms race.

Snowden reasons that because the US is more reliant on the internet and digital technology than many other places in the world, particularly its enemies, the US has the most to lose by fomenting a global cyberwar which makes the current agenda self-defeating for US interests.

Snowden was interviewed by journalist James Bamford and detailed how he believes the US government through the NSA and other intelligence agencies helped “start the trend” with the launching of Stuxnet.

Bamford: Thanks. One other thing that the article gets into, which is what we’re talking about here today, is the article quotes the new NSA director, who is also the commander of Cyber Command, as basically saying that it’s possible in the future that these cyber weapons will become sort of normal military weapons, and they’ll be treated sort of like guided missiles or cruise missiles and so forth.

Snowden: Cruise missiles or drones.

Bamford: What are your thoughts about that, having spent time in this whole line of work yourself?

Snowden: I think the public still isn’t aware of the frequency with which these cyber-attacks, as they’re being called in the press, are being used by governments around the world, not just the US. But it is important to highlight that we really started this trend in many ways when we launched the Stuxnet campaign against the Iranian nuclear program. It actually kicked off a response, sort of retaliatory action from Iran, where they realized they had been caught unprepared. They were far behind the technological curve as compared to the United States and most other countries. And this is happening across the world nowadays, where they realize that they’re caught out. They’re vulnerable. They have no capacity to retaliate to any sort of cyber campaign brought against them.

The public got a quick lesson in how fast the turnaround could be when the US launched a cyberattack on North Korea in response to the – as yet unvalidated – belief that North Korea was responsible for the hacking of Sony’s film division in retaliation for Sony producing a film called The Interview in which the leader of North Korea is assassinated. President Obama announced the US would respond on a Friday and by Monday North Korea’s internet was down.

The US cyberattack on North Korea did not go unnoticed and now every state power in the world knows it has to develop a cyberweapons arsenal to be taken seriously in the new security order. And, perhaps more notably, every state power knows that have to be prepared to use that arsenal.

Combine the aggressive stance of US cyberwarriors with the NSA withholding information that would make US businesses and infrastructure more secure and it is not hard to see how much worse the problem gets if the status quo continues. America will be constantly under vicious attack and not have the capabilities to protect itself as well as it could otherwise.

Then again, that won’t be bad for everyone’s bottom line.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Snowden: NSA Making Cyberattacks On US More Likely And Costly

{!hitembed ID=”hitembed_1″ width=”500″ height=”281″ align=”none” !}

In an interview with NOVA that has yet to air, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden claims that the NSA is actively working to weaken US security by refusing to disclose vulnerabilities the agency finds in America’s cyberinfrastructure. Furthermore, Snowden claims that the NSA and its partners have developed and deployed offensive cyberwarfare weapons that have stoked a global cyberarms race.

Snowden reasons that because the US is more reliant on the internet and digital technology than many other places in the world, particularly its enemies, the US has the most to lose by fomenting a global cyberwar which makes the current agenda self-defeating for US interests.

Snowden was interviewed by journalist James Bamford and detailed how he believes the US government through the NSA and other intelligence agencies helped “start the trend” with the launching of Stuxnet.

Bamford: Thanks. One other thing that the article gets into, which is what we’re talking about here today, is the article quotes the new NSA director, who is also the commander of Cyber Command, as basically saying that it’s possible in the future that these cyber weapons will become sort of normal military weapons, and they’ll be treated sort of like guided missiles or cruise missiles and so forth.

Snowden: Cruise missiles or drones.

Bamford: What are your thoughts about that, having spent time in this whole line of work yourself?

Snowden: I think the public still isn’t aware of the frequency with which these cyber-attacks, as they’re being called in the press, are being used by governments around the world, not just the US. But it is important to highlight that we really started this trend in many ways when we launched the Stuxnet campaign against the Iranian nuclear program. It actually kicked off a response, sort of retaliatory action from Iran, where they realized they had been caught unprepared. They were far behind the technological curve as compared to the United States and most other countries. And this is happening across the world nowadays, where they realize that they’re caught out. They’re vulnerable. They have no capacity to retaliate to any sort of cyber campaign brought against them.

The public got a quick lesson in how fast the turnaround could be when the US launched a cyberattack on North Korea in response to the  – as yet unvalidated – belief that North Korea was responsible for the hacking of Sony’s film division in retaliation for Sony producing a film called The Interview in which the leader of North Korea is assassinated. President Obama announced the US would respond on a Friday and by Monday North Korea’s internet was down.

The US cyberattack on North Korea did not go unnoticed and now every state power in the world knows it has to develop a cyberweapons arsenal to be taken seriously in the new security order. And, perhaps more notably, every state power knows that have to be prepared to use that arsenal.

Combine the aggressive stance of US cyberwarriors with the NSA withholding information that would make US businesses and infrastructure more secure and it is not hard to see how much worse the problem gets if the status quo continues. America will be constantly under vicious attack and not have the capabilities to protect itself as well as it could otherwise.

Then again, that won’t be bad for everyone’s bottom line.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.