Hackers target Pentagon computers
Cyber 'war' over access under way
March 5, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Defense Department computers are under a "coordinated, organized" attack from hackers, according to Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pennsylvania), who held a classified hearing on the problem.
Weldon told CNN Thursday night that Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre briefed lawmakers at last week's hearing on a specific breach of cyber security that represents a "coordinated, organized" attempt to gain access to classified information in Pentagon computers.
"There is an attack under way. You can basically say we are at war," said Weldon.
Trail leads to Russia
Pentagon sources say investigators traced a number of the attacks to sites in Russia, but it was not known whether the sources were government or non-governmental.
Investigators also could not rule out the possibility the computer attacks were coming from elsewhere and were simply channeled through Russia.
Classified Air Force computer systems at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, came under attack on January 7 and 8 from a number of locations around the world, sources told CNN, but they were detected and stopped by newly developed Defense Department systems.
Weldon says this was "not a typical hacker," and that the attacks seemed to be targeting specific systems.
Solar Sunrise: Preparation for attack?
Pentagon officials say no classified computer systems have been breached, but Rep. Weldon said there was fear that the attackers may have penetrated systems that could lead to access to classified systems.
A year ago, Hamre told lawmakers about Solar Sunrise, a series of attacks in February 1998 that targeted Pentagon computers.
"The attacks were widespread, systematic and showed a pattern that indicated they might be the preparation for a coordinated attack on the Defense Information Structure," said Hamre of Solar Sunrise in his unclassified written testimony Tuesday.
Guarding cyber Pentagon
"The attacks targeted key parts of Defense Networks at a time we were preparing for possible military operations against Iraq."
The Solar Sunrise incident led to the establishment of 24-hour, 7-days-a-week online guard duty at important military computer sites.
This increased vigilance has led, in turn, to increased reports of cyber attacks, officials say.
Preparing for World War Web
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