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More Year of the Hack: Government Based Cyber Security Threats

In a prominent lead opinion piece on June 15, 2011 in the Wall Street Journal, Richard Clarke, former Chair of the federal government's Counter-terrorism Security Group in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, makes the case that the Chinese government is actively involved in cyber attacks on U.S. businesses. Mr. Clarke also notes prior threats that have been identified to the power grid.

Mr. Clarke, to be sure, is a controversial figure, but he has not been hesitant to criticize even administrations in which he served on matters involving national security. Mr. Clarke observes: "Congress hasn't passed a single piece of significant cyber security legislation." Noting the muted response of governmental officials to issues in the face of Chinese government denials, Mr. Clarke states that if explosives were found in our infrastructure, a strong response could be expected, but if "the explosive is a digital bomb that could do even more damage, our response is apparently muted—especially from our government."

Mr. Clarke's concerns are not limited to the power grid infrastructure or the defense industry. He notes that cyber criminals tend to go after banks and credit card companies, not defense contractors.

Mr. Clarke's thoughts represent a cautionary tale for all companies dependent upon information technology -- which would probably include most companies. At this point, do not assume that the government is going to protect you. Be sure your defenses are up and that you have plans in place in the event of a breach.

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About this Author

Joan Long, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Chicago and Grand Rapids, Intellectual Property and Litigation Law Attorney
Of Counsel (Retired)

Joan L. Long is retired of counsel in the Chicago and Grand Rapids offices of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, where she is a member of the Intellectual Property Department and chaired of the Advertising and Marketing Group. Ms. Long’s practice focused on intellectual property protection and enforcement with an emphasis on Lanham Act compliance and enforcement.

Ms. Long provided clients with advice and evaluation in connection with advertising claims, including assessment of the substantiation for the claim and potential liability for false or...

312-214-4576
Jeffrey M. Peabody Corporate and Energy Law Attorney Barnes Thornburg Law Firm Indianapolis
Partner

Jeffrey M. Peabody is a partner in the Corporate and Government Services and Finance Departments in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Indianapolis office.

Mr. Peabody’s practice area is focused on electricity, natural gas, water and wastewater utilities. He represents a wide range of public utilities, including investor-owned utilities, not-for-profits, municipal utilities, and privately held companies. He represents utilities in rate cases, periodic rate adjustment (tracker) proceedings, environmental compliance matters and other filings before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). Mr. Peabody is a member of Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Renewable Energy, Pipeline, and Cloud Computing & Cyber-Security practice groups.

Mr. Peabody has served as the Chair Elect and Chair of the Indiana State Bar Association’s Utility Law Section Electricity Division. He is also a member of the Indiana State Bar Association’s Technology and Written Publications Committees. Mr. Peabody also serves as president of the Board of Directors for Mental Health America of Hendricks County, a United Way agency that addresses mental health and wellness issues in Hendricks County.
 

317-231-6465