Kerry: Cyber penetrations like nukes

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Network penetration is "the 21st century nuclear weapons equivalent," said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) while testifying Jan. 24 during a Senate hearing held over his nomination to be secretary of state.

Nuclear bombs caused between 150,000 and 246,000 deaths when the United States detonated two over Japan to cause the end of World War II; network penetrations have led to no known deaths, although some websites have been taken down or defaced. Foreign countries, or at least hackers widely thought to be encouraged by foreign governments, have also stolen intellectual property--acts that have caused the Defense and Homeland Security departments to create cybersecurity information sharing pilots, but which have also yet to be traced to someone's death.

"I mean, there's a long list of grievances with respect to what this marvel of the Internet and--and the technology age has brought us," Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

What's needed, he added, is "cyber-diplomacy and cyber-negotiations" in order to "try to establish rules of the road that help us to be able to cope with this challenge."

For more:
- go to the hearing webpage (prepared testimony and webcast available)

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