(MintPress) – In the face of success by hacktivist groups like Anonymous and threats from foreign governments, the U.S. government is ramping up its cyber security operations.
The Department of Defense (DOD) said its Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) is stressed and in need of more staff and units to combat the growing threats.
The Pentagon has approved the expansion, paving the way for a program that will allow five times the ability to combat threats to the government’s computer systems and will allow not only defensive measures, but also offensive measures against cyber threats.
The Washington Post reported the planned expansion this week, citing anonymous officials who claimed the decision was made in late 2012 in response to an increased number of attacks on the government’s computer systems.
The secretive hacktivist organization, Anonymous, has claimed responsibility for a number of recent attacks on government websites, representing its ability to hack the government’s cyber security measures, which it does as a method of activism and retaliation for what it sees, primarily, as unjust treatment of U.S. civilians.
Its reasons are varied, although largely have to do with concerns over the government’s erosions of constitutional freedoms. Anonymous has cited the government’s violation of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms, along with its violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection from unreasonable searches and seizures as reasons for its actions. A common theme is a concern that the government has overstepped its boundaries, restricting Americans’ freedoms.
“Given the malicious actors that are out there and the development of the technology, in my mind, there’s little doubt that some adversary is going to attempt a significant cyber attack on the United States at some point,” William J. Lynn, former deputy defense secretary who worked with the Pentagon in its cybersecurity operations, told the Washington Post. “The only question is whether we’re going to take the necessary steps like this one to deflect the impact of the attack in advance or … read about the steps we should have taken in some post-attack commission report.”
Most recently, Anonymous hacked the Department of Justice (DOJ) website, claiming it was an act of retaliation for the treatment of lawyer and internet activist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide after a lawsuit was launched against him by the DOJ. Anonymous, along with other activists, claimed the DOJ used a heavy-handed approach to intimidate Swartz and did not follow the due process of law.
Anonymous has also taken credit for hacking files relating to individual members of the government and has said it has the power to infiltrate vulnerable government machines and that it had access to files of the government’s interest.
“The time has come to show the United States Department of Justice and its affiliates the true meaning of infiltration,” it states in the video. “The time has come to give this system a taste of its own medicine.”
Anonymous released another video in the midst of the presidential inauguration, essentially declaring war on the U.S. government, calling on the citizens of America to join in a fight for freedom, and promising that it had no plans in lifting its actions on the government.