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NSA Chief Says America Is Ready to Cyberattack


For the first time, NSA chief and head of the U.S. Cyber Command Gen. Keith Alexander admitted America is ready to attack in cyberspace. Never before has a U.S. official acknowledged that the U.S. government is working on or is in possession of malware capable of attacking a foreign nation in a cyber conflict, despite the fact that at least one attack — the famous Stuxnext worm — has been attributed to the U.S.

On Wednesday, in his annual testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, Alexander took the cyberwar rethoric coming out of Washington up a notch. “I would like to be clear that this team, this defend-the-nation team, is not a defensive team,” he said. “This is an offensive team.” In other words, this cyber army is ready to retaliate in case of a cyber attack against the United States.

As part of the expansion of the cyber security force, Alexander also said that he is adding 40 teams, 13 focused on offensive operations and 27 for surveillance and training. Thanks to the expansion, the cyber command will grow from 900 to a corps of more than 4,000 employees.

As previously reported, the new command will have three arms: two defensive ones that will secure critical infrastructure and the Pentagon’s own system, and an offensive one. This expansion, Alexander explained, is justified by the imminent threat of a cyber attack on U.S. critical infrastructure, like its power grid or the financial system. According to Alexander, this kind of attack poses a major threat, even bigger than a terrorist attack.

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