Principal Cyber Advisor at the Department of the US Navy Christopher Cleary warned this week that the US could lose a cyber war if the government was unwilling to fund the cyber domain.
As reported by the US news outlet MeriTalk, while many of the US’ key organisations have tried to protect their organisations in the cyber domain with an array of defensive techniques and measures, Cleary suggests that there is little limit to how sophisticated malicious state-based and criminal hacking groups can become in this domain.
The warnings come following months of cyber intrusions across the United States, including the Colonial Pipeline attack as well as the Microsoft Exchange hack. Recently, Australia joined a chorus of 30 nations holding the CCP responsible for state-sanctioned cyber attacks, which enabled cyber criminals to exploit loopholes in Microsoft.
“Cyber security is an infinite game. There’s no perfect tool that’s going to come out,” Cleary was quoted as saying in MeriTalk.
“One of the things as a realist in the environment, I would acknowledge zero trust is a great construct … [but] zero trust is not the last construct we’re going to see. It’s just the thing we’re focused on now.”
Indeed, one of the crucial factors that Cleary noted was that cyber groups are able to impact considerable damage with constrained funding.
“The only way that you that you fall out of the infinite game is you either lose the will or the resources to continue,” Cleary continued.
“If you find yourselves in the crosshairs of a sophisticated adversary, you could have every tool on the market, you could have every product … but do you have the time and resources to train your people appropriate to use those products for more than a security standpoint ... when you have to transition into more of a dynamic defensive standpoint, which is really where the art of our adversaries are coming at us.”
Indeed, according to MeriTalk, cyber criminals can inflict widescale damage to organisations without requiring costly infrastructure.
“Somebody somewhere is making cyber, a very, very expensive problem for the Department of Homeland Security, for the Department of Defense. You know, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I’m also not a dummy,” Cleary said in the publication.
“Warfare is simply about getting your adversary to succumb to your wants, needs, and desires. We always saw that through the engagement of kinetic military actions that’s going to get my adversary to eventually succumb to my will. Well, now we’re finding there’s a lot of other ways our adversaries can get us to succumb to their will. This is very much one of them.”