The federal government has made significant progress in identifying who is responsible for complex cyber attacks, a fundamental first step in determining whether the United States should retaliate and whom to strike, anonymous officials told The Associated Press.
The growing cyber threat has prompted a greater governmentwide emphasis on collecting intelligence related to cyber crimes, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence gathering. The broad approach runs the gamut of electronic surveillance and satellites to international collaboration and the everyday tactics and techniques undercover agents employ, AP said.
“Attribution is a difficult thing to do, but we’re working very hard on it,” said Gen. Kevin Chilton, who oversaw the standup of Cyber Command. “We’re getting better,” he added, which helps military leaders decide how to respond to individual incidents or attacks.
Identifying cyber attackers has been vital for both the civilian and military investigations. Shawn Henry, the FBI’s executive assistant director, said there has been a general perception in the cyber underground that they could attack the United States and not get caught.
However, with a number of high-profile cyber cases solved, the FBI is noting a deterrent effect.
“We’ve seen a lot of international criminals, have been able to reach out and touch them, and that message has gotten out,” Henry said