Every system has weaknesses. The bigger the system, the more weaknesses there are.
The SolarWinds hack is the latest in a series of attacks by foreign state hackers, mostly China and Russia, who keep exploring our systems, finding vulnerabilities and exploiting them. While these attacks are all individually preventable, there are always going to be weaknesses, and when foreign enemies can spend millions to score billions in secrets, cyberwarfare remains a great investment. In the last two decades, America has lost a fortune in government and private sector secrets.
And that’s not counting the smaller scale ransomware and fraud attacks that are not necessarily carried out by states, but that foreign governments turn a blind eye to.
Playing defense is not a cyberwarfare strategy. The only way to change the dynamic is to go back to the old Cold War MAD principles. It’s either that or keep getting hit over and over again.
America has suffered the equivalent of massive military strikes from China and Russia without fighting back. And that means they’ll only escalate.
When it comes to cyberwarfare, we should not repeat the same mistakes made in the War on Terror and go directly to the source. When enemy nations hack us, they should pay a price, not in sanctions, but in real losses that are at least equivalent to those they caused. There are many ways to do that, but at the very least attacks on our cyber infrastructure should lead to massive disruptions of their infrastructure.
President Trump innovated a Space Force. It may be time to build a Cyber Force. One that’s capable of not only playing defense, but going on the offense.