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AAAS S&T Policy Forum Takes a Closer Look at Cyber-Warfare
There are oft-discussed fears that terrorists or hostile nations could launch cyber-attacks against critical sectors of the American economy, but what about the possibility the United States might conduct cyber-attacks of its own, defensive or otherwise?
The prospect of offensive U.S. cyber operations, generally a classified subject, was discussed at the recent AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy. Herbert Lin, chief scientist for the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board at the U.S. National Research Council (NRC), said there should be more attention to the legal, ethical and policy issues surrounding cyber-attack as an instrument of U.S. policy.
“Mostly the talk you hear about in the press is that we’re the victim of cyber-attacks coming in from other places, and we’re in big trouble,” Lin said. “While I don’t dispute that statement, there’s a whole other dimension to this that involves our launching attacks” on other parties in cyberspace.
Some cyber attacks will be conducted over infrastructure largely owned and operated by the private sector, noted Gerald Epstein, director of the AAAS Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy and moderator of the 14 May Forum session. “In the cyber arena, perhaps as in no other, the fundamental coupling of national security, private infrastructure, and individual choice really comes to the fore,” Epstein said.
To learn more about the Forum’s session on science and national security, read the full story.