The Pentagon has named the country’s next battleground: cyberspace. With so much of American life being digitized, officials are seeking to increase protection, naming the nation’s first Internet security monitor.
What and how much power this new military authority will have, however, is shrouded in secrecy.
Gen. Keith Alexander will head up the United States Cyber Command, or USCybercom, the first position of its type. It will help guard future electronic voting systems, nuclear plant networks and mass transit grids that could all be at risk.
Still, skeptics fear abuse of the new power. “There is a need to defend the military and our national infrastructure,” said Princeton Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs Edward Felten. “How far they plan to go is another question.”
Cybercrime is real. A University of Northern Florida computer was recently hacked, compromising the data of nearly 107,000 students, potential students and employees. It was one of 56 universities hacked this year, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.