American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
February 16th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

Testing our nation's cyber security

You can call them war games for the 21st century, testing our nation's cyber security like never before. Today, a Washington think-tank is launching a simulated "cyber shockwave" against the United States.

An all-star lineup of the country's top security and policy experts are at the ready. Scenarios could include a large-scale failure of the power grid or an attack on something that we can't imagine living without at this point – the cell phone grid.

One of the masterminds of it all, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, joined us on Tuesday's American Morning along with one of the participants, our very own national security contributor Fran Townsend, who was a homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush.

Program note: CNN has exclusive access to the situation room during today's cyber security drill. You can see all the action as it unfolds in a two-hour special on CNN this Saturday and Sunday from 8 to 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Tech
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Christiaan

    Does anyone know where you can watch the documentary online?
    Can't find it on the CNN site

    February 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  2. SA

    Um, people we know CNN wouldn't be able to broadcast in this case. I think it's supposed to give us a glance into what could go on behind closed doors. And I guess anyone with a car and radio signal can get some kind of broadcast, isn't that why they do emergency test messages on tv stations?

    February 21, 2010 at 12:16 am |
  3. William

    I find it ironic that CNN is giving this story and causing worry for everyone. Here is the rub. If the cell phones, Internet and Power Grids are infected because of a Cyber attack then it is very likely that CNN would not be able to broadcast the story as they portrayed during this test.

    It is also likely that Satellites would be a more likely target for a Cyber Warfare attack. After all, which is more critical to information sharing the Internet or a satellite launched by the military or NASA.

    The bottom line is this, the Internet is a threat to CNN viewership as more and more people are getting their entertainment from the Internet and more and more digital televisions are being manufactured to accept a Internet connection.

    Uh oh, there goes the TV advertising dollars and the phone company monopolies.

    What is left, create a dire circumstance such as a cyber attack that will affect everything but the cable networks.

    When are you going to tell the viewers (video) that your news feeds run over the same fiber network that carries telephone (voice) and Internet (data) traffic and as such is a very important piece missing from the networks that crashed and the chaos that was portrayed by this study?

    February 17, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  4. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    An EMP will knock our aircraft out of the sky because their electronic system will be burned out! A Cyber-Attack. Even if you had a few thousand people to try and knock out individual system it can be stopped by unplugging our system form the net and disconnecting them from our telecommunications systems. Plus is take far too much time to do it individually, why not knock them all out a one fell swoop with an EMP Electromagnetic Pulse)! If they fail to protect our country form that type of attack our country could easily fall to third world status if attacked buy that type of non-lethal weapon.

    February 17, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  5. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    A Cyber-Attack is a total joke what we should be trying to stop is a EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse), which is a burst of electromagnetic radiation, or a wide band a suddenly fluctuating magnetic fields. These magnetic fields or radiation can knock out must of today's cars, computers, telecommunications equipment, they will wipe out all of our banking records, our hard drives will be wiped clean, and television broadcasts will be ended, so that there will be no command and control, the government will be totally handicapped.

    A Cyber -Attack is five to ten year behind the times, this is yet another time when the government is unable or even to perceive what will be the next type of attack that could put our country at risk, and make us completely open to a ground attack when none of our equipment works that can be used to protect our people. Our government needs to stop fighting past attacks or wars and look toward the future as to how to keep our people safe!

    February 17, 2010 at 7:35 am |
  6. A. Smith, Oregon

    The chances the HACKER attacking, hacking and attempting to gain unauthorized access to your company files and personal computers private information is a member or hired affiliate of the CIA, FBI, NSA or US Federal Govt. agency is much higher than any foreign country and any teenage hacker combined.

    You have a much greater chance of being hacked by the US Gov. and its nefarious agencys than any questionable foreign hacker.

    Teams of captured US hackers have been routinely extorted and blackmailed by the CIA, FBI, NSA and other US Agencys into applying their skills to target American's, American business's, bank transfers and bank accounts domestically and internationally.

    These same nefarious agencys routinely blackmail and extort US software developers and US software corporations into placing a hidden backdoor into their software which these agencys make full use of. Recently the previous director of Homeland Security failed to gain the NSA's cooperation in removing their backdoor routine in Homeland Security's own personal computer's software and RESIGNED out of disgust.

    Solution, all computer security software should be purchased from Non-USA software writers and corporations who are beyond US threats, extortion and blackmail used against their American counterparts and do not contain CIA,NSA,FBI backdoor routines. A popular alternative is to purposefully go for open source security software where thousands of software developers around the world work on the same product which again makes it impossible for the CIA, NSA and FBI to threaten, extort and blackmail all of the developers into adding a hidden back door into the product.

    February 17, 2010 at 12:34 am |