Obama signs secret directive to help thwart cyberattacks
One of those tools was Stuxnet, a computer virus jointly developed by the United States and Israel that damaged nearly 1,000 centrifuges at an Iranian nuclear plant in 2010. If an adversary should turn a similar virus against U.S. computer systems, whether public or private, the government needs to be ready to preempt or respond, officials have said.
Since the creation of the military’s Cyber Command in 2010, its head, Gen. Keith Alexander, has forcefully argued that his hundreds of cyberwarriors at Fort Meade should be given greater latitude to stop or prevent attacks. One such cyber-ops tactic could be tricking malware by sending it “sleep” commands.
Alexander has put a particularly high priority on defending the nation’s private-sector computer systems that control critical functions such as making trains run, electricity flow and water pure.