Cyber-Vandalism, Cyber-Crime, and other Digital Threats to the U.S.

Jan 16, 2015

Several U.S. military social media accounts were hacked this week by those claiming allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.

The hacking was deemed "cyber-vandalism" by U.S. Central Command, as the hackers posted threatening messages, videos, and military documents. So, what does this latest cyber attack say about the online security of the U.S. government?

"Cyber-Caliphate, the handle they used as the ISIS attacker, really went after a soft target," says Zach Nunn, referring to U.S. Central Command's Twitter and YouTube accounts. Nunn is a former Director of Cybersecurity Policy on the National Security Council for the White House.

"In the realm of cyber warfare, the biggest challenge is not necessarily being able to defend against every attack, but how damaging that attack can actually be."

Nunn says that there are so many cyber threats from both countries and individuals, there is not much concern over any one group.

"Cyber-Caliphate is one of just many heads of a Hydra that will appear to represent both ISIS and other cyber hackers or threats," he says. "Ultimately it doesn't matter what the name of it's going to be, there are always going to be these kinds of perennial threats out there."

Zach Nunn is a sixth-generation Iowan, Altoona native, and Drake University graduate. He is currently serving his first term in the Iowa House of Representatives as the Republican legislator for House District 30. He also spoke with River to River host Ben Kieffer about cyber security legislation, the largest digital terrorism threats, and the impact of cybercrime, especially on the financial sector.