Entries in Nuclear Security (2)


Nation's Infrastructure Vulnerable to Cyber Attack

John Foxx/Stockbyte(WASHINGTON) -- In past wars, a hostile army would send troops to sabotage a bridge. Now a terrorist can send a suicide bomber to attack a mass transit system. In the future, experts are worried that malicious hackers -- perhaps even working for China, Iran or North Korea -- could bring down America's critical infrastructure with a few keystrokes.

Nuclear reactors, the national electric grid and the banking sector are all attractive targets, according to testimony Tuesday before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations by the director of information security issues at the Government Accountability Office. And while foreign attackers have yet to launch a serious attack on U.S.-based infrastructure, some security experts say that terrorists are looking for ways to make it happen.

The GAO didn't name specific foreign adversaries, but one security expert that spoke to ABC News provided insight into who is trying to obtain high-tech hacking tools.

"We know that North Korea wants it, we know that Iran wants it and that some of the terrorist groups are interested in it," said Jim Lewis, who is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The testimony came on the heels of a report from the security firm McAfee that showed evidence of a five-year cyber data-stealing operation likely conducted by a nation state that targeted more than 70 different governmental, non-profit and corporate entities. While the security firm didn't point any fingers, many other security experts have read the data and suspect China as the point of origin.

The Department of Homeland Security released a warning Thursday that Stuxnet, a worm that used in July 2010 to breach an Iranian nuclear reactor network, could be re-purposed to attack other systems with a similar configuration.

DHS is currently working with the private sector to share information on prevalent attacks, but further legislation is needed to ensure a clear chain of command in the event of a crisis.

Lawmakers in Congress are stalled on legislation that would overhaul the nation's cyber security. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, R-Nev., sent a letter Wednesday to Senate Republican leaders urging them to put cyber security back on the agenda.

In a speech on July 14, Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn III said it was "clear" terror groups were "intent on acquiring, refining, and expanding their cyber capabilities."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama to Announce Center for Nuclear Security in China

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is expected to announce Wednesday an agreement between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China to establish a “Center of Excellence” in China to promote effective nuclear security and safeguards, ABC News has confirmed from Obama administration sources.

The Center of Excellence, to be jointly financed, will be a place where technical information can be shared, training courses can be offered, and collaborations can be promoted to “enhance nuclear security in China and throughout Asia,” the White House says.  “It will also help meet the training needs for China’s expanding nuclear sector, and promote nuclear security best practices throughout the region.”

The White House says that the agreement will allow the Pentagon and the National Nuclear Security Administration -- which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy -- to work with officials of the China Atomic Energy Authority to develop a central site “for training in all aspects of nuclear security.”

A memorandum of understanding has already been signed by U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and CAEA Chairman Chen Qiufa, who also serves as Director of China’s State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense as well as Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio