BALTIMORE — The Defense Department is finalizing policies that will determine what the military can do in the event of a cyber attack as the government figures out who should have the power to shut down computer networks seized by an enemy nation, terrorist group or hacker.
Gen. Keith Alexander, who heads U.S. Cyber Command, said Thursday that attacks against critical systems are increasingly carrying destructive viruses or malware. Alexander, who also is director of the National Security Agency, said the Pentagon and intelligence agencies must do more to protect computer systems and coordinate with companies to safeguard public networks.
Security officials say cyber attackers are using the Internet to steal money, ferret out classified secrets and technology, and disturb or destroy important infrastructure, from the electrical grid and telecommunications networks to nuclear power plants and transportation systems.
Alexander said defense and intelligence agencies will move to cloud computing, which would use highly secure, encrypted banks of remote computers to store data.