Major cyber incidents


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1994-03month, year16 year old British student charged with cyber attacks after breaching the Air Force’s Rome LabAn intrusion was detected in the Air Force’s Rome Lab that left behind traces of an online “handle.” The young hacker by the handle name “Data Cowboy” was tracked down with the help of Scottland Yard and observed from Rome Lab, hacking into over 150 companies and government sites, defrauding phone companies and even accessing data from the South Korean Atomic Research Institution. What was known  in the ’70’s and ’80’s as “phreaking,” a way to make long distances calls by simulating dial tones, had now become the first way to use dial-up internet connections to mask cyber attacks.  square_2.png25http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RL30735.pdf
1996-07month, yearPresident’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection (PCCIP) identified cyber threats at criticalA commission is established that reports to the President the nature and scope of vulnerabilities and threats to the nation’s critical infrastructures. The focus was primarily on cyber threats. The commission is tasked to recommend a comprehensive national policy and implementations strategies.square_1.png25http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo13010.htm                                                                                              
1997-06month, yearSimulated cyber attack named “Eligible Receiver” shows vulnerability in DOD computer networksThe cyberwar game is the first of its kind. It simulated a North Korean attacker targeting the Pacific Command Systems. The U.S. system did poorly in the exercise.square_2.png25http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/eligible-receiver.htm
1997-10month, yearPCCIP report released, highlighting government role in monitoring and disseminating latest-threat information to cyber companiesThe report becomes known as the “Marsh Report” after commission chairman Robert Marsh, a former Air Force General. The report cites no immediate threat to infrastructure but a need for cybersecurity action due to rapid growth of computer-literate population, inherent vulnerabilities of common protocols in computer networks, easy availability of hacker “tools and same technology being used by general population as hackers. The commission recommended greater cooperation between private and government sectors and highlighted the governments role collecting and disseminating latest threat information to private companies (intrusion techniques, threat analysis, and ways to defend against hackers).square_1.png25http://www.fas.org/sgp/library/pccip.pdf                                                                                                                           
1998-02month, yearDepartment of Defense (DOD) network attacked, dubbed “Solar Sunrise”A series of attacks on DOD unclassified networks named Solar Sunrise. The attackers used an exploit in the system to install collection software and went back into the system later to retrieve the information. This attack confirmed the results of “Eligible Receiver.square_2.png25http://www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=704
1998-02month, yearNational Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) is createdThe Marsh Report, the Eligible Receiver exercise, and the Solar Sunrise investigation lead the Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI  Director Louis Freeh to create the NIPC on February 26, 1998. The NPIC was tasked with protecting the all nationally critical infrastructure network systems for the government and private sector. The NPIC was a multi-agency effort ran and housed out of the FBI. The NPIC was divided into three sections- Computer Investigations and Operations; Training, Administration, and Outreach; and Analysis and Warning. Private industry were encouraged to join private-government partnerships on a voluntary basis to better coordinate protection schemes and disseminate threat information.square_1.png25http://ecommerce.hostip.info/pages/770/National-Infrastructure-Protection-Center-NIPC.html
1998-05month, yearPresidential Decision Directive (PPD)  No. 63. to implement National Infrastructure Assurance PlanGroups are setup within the federal government to develop and implement plans to protect government-operated infrastructures. It also calls for a dialogue between government and the private sector to develop a National Infrastructure Assurance Plan to protect the nation’s critical infrastructures by 2003. Each federal agency was made responsible for securing its own critical infrastructure.  The National Plan Coordination Staff were organized into the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office (CIAO) and tasked  to develop the plan while the Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) was setup, modeled after FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center, for current threat information sharing. The major focus is on cyber threats and the  critical infrastructure sectors were determined to include:  Information and Communications, Banking and Finance, Water, Transportation, Emergency Law Enforcement, Emergency Fire Service, Emergency Medicine, Electric Power, Gas, and Oil, Law Enforcement and Internal Security, Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, National Defense.square_1.png25http://www.cybercrime.gov/white_pr.htm                                                                                          
1999-07month, yearNational Infrastructure Assurance Council, or NIAC, established under Clinton Exec. Order 13130 (order is rescinded by Bush before council can convene)The Council is tasked with enhancing the partnership between public and private sectors,  develop ways to encourage private industry to conduct risk assessments of critical processes, monitor the development of Private Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (PSISACs) and provide recommendations to the National Coordinator and the National Economic Council on how these organizations can best foster improved cooperation among the PSISACs, the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), and other federal government agencies.square_1.png25http://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/displayEO.cfm?id=EO_13130_
1999-12month, yearClinton released Version 1.0 of a National Plan for Information Systems ProtectionThe plan is solely focused on cybersecurity and touts a plan for “A Real Public-Private Partnership…Not Dictated Solutions” and holds educated personnel as the key to success. It lays out 10 programs to achieve the goals laid out in PPD 63 and notes that the government systems should be the model.square_1.png25http://clinton4.nara.gov/media/pdf/npisp-execsummary-000105.pdf
1999-12month, yearPrivate sector actors voluntarily convene Partnership for Critical Infrastructure SecurityThe goal is to share information and strategies and to identify interdependencies across sectorial lines. It was a private sector initiative, with the CIAO providing administrative support for meetings. Sector liaisons from lead federal agencies were considered ex officio members.square_1.png25http://www.energetics.com/resourcecenter/products/communication/samples/Documents/ci-security-factsheet.pdf
2001-10month, yearBush signs the Patriot Act, which includes definition of critical infrastructureIn the Patriot Act, section 1016 “Critical Infrastructures Protection Act of 2001,” defines “critical infrastructure” as “systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.square_1.png25http://epic.org/privacy/terrorism/hr3162.pdf
2001-10month, yearBush establishes Office of Homeland Security and the Homeland Security Council by Executive OrderSection (3ei) & (3fi) gives the Office the task of “protecting critical infrastructure from the consequences of terrorist attacks” and “coordinate efforts to respond to and promote recovery from terrorist threats or attacks within the United States” to include telecommunication.square_1.png25http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo/eo-13228.htm
2001-10month, yearBush Re-Creates NIAC with Executive Order 13231- Critical Infrastructure Protection in the Information AgeNational Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) is enacted by with the same goals and acronyms the council that was rescinded as President Bush took office. This allowed Bush to appoint twenty-four different advisors. The order is issued “to ensure protection of information systems for critical infrastructure, including emergency preparedness communications, and the physical assets that support such systems, in the information age.”square_1.png25http://www.ncs.gov/library/policy_docs/eo_13231.pdf
2002-07month, yearFirst National Strategy for Homeland Security releasedExpands upon the listing of sectors considered to possess critical infrastructure to include public health, the chemical industry and hazardous materials, postal and shipping, the defense industrial base, and agriculture and food. While the main focus is on physical terrorist attack security, “Securing Cyberspace” is one of eight major initiatives identified and is listed under potential terrorist threats. The report also sites the upcoming National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace as what will “describe our initiatives to secure our information systems against deliberate, malicious disruption.”square_1.png25http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/nat_strat_hls.pdf
2002-09month, yearBush announces appointments to NIACMembers selected for NIAC represent major sectors of the economy – banking and finance, transportation, energy, information technology, and manufacturing. The Council also includes representatives from academia, state and local government, and law enforcement. The Council works closely with the President’s National Security and Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). Members make recommendations regarding the security of the cyber and information systems relating to national security and economic critical infrastructures. The Committee examines partnerships to enhanced and improve cyber security between the public and private sectors.square_1.png25http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2002/09/20020918-12.html
2002-11month, yearCongress passes Homeland Security Act establishing a Department of Homeland Security (DHS)The act consolidated within one department a number of agencies that had, as part of their missions, homeland security-like functions (e.g., Border Patrol, Customs, Transportation Security Administration). The act kept the language of DHS being responsible for “critical infrastructures” to include telecommunications. This left the responsibility overlapping with previous attempts to police cyber crime by the FBI and NSA.square_1.png25http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/hr_5005_enr.pdf
2003-02month, yearThe National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace releasedThe strategy is an extension of the National Plan for Information Systems Protection created under the Clinton Administration in 1999, now referred to as Version 2.0. This strategy addressed all interested parties in the nation’s information infrastructure, from home users to the international community, and included input from the private sector, the academic community, and state and local governments. It was criticized for lacking regulations which rendered it “toothless.”square_1.png25http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001-984697.html
2003-12month, yearBush’s Presidential Directive 7 creates the Critical Infrastructure Protection Policy Coordinating CommitteeThe Directive further defines the relationship between the DHS and other agencies. DHS maintains a cyber security unit and the Director of the Office of Management remains responsible for overseeing government-wide information security programs and operating the federal cyber incident response center within DHS.  The Critical Infrastructure Protection Policy Coordinating Committee to advise the Homeland Security Council on interagency policy related to physical and cyber infrastructure security was created.square_1.png25http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/laws/gc_1214597989952.shtm
2005-02month, yearInterim National Infrastructure Protection Plan releasedA general document that aims to ” provide the framework and sets the direction for implementing this coordinated, national effort.” The plan listed “cyber infrastructures” as high priority as well as coordinating with private industry, across agencies and foreign governments.square_1.png25http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/csd3754.pdf
2006-03month, yearDHS creates Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC) with private industryCIPAC is created to support the implementation of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP). DHS acts as the Executive Secretariat of meetings. Members include federal, state, local, and tribal government entities that belong to their respective government coordinating councils. Private industries are covered under an array of committees that include ;Chemical Sector Committee Membership; Commercial Facilities Sector Committee Membership; Communications Sector Committee Membership; Critical Manufacturing Sector Committee Membership; Dams Sector Committee Membership; Defense Industrial Base Sector Committee Membership; Emergency Services Sector Committee Membership; Energy Sector Committee Membership; Financial Services Sector Committee Membership; Food and Agriculture Sector Committee Membership; Government Facilities Sector Committee Membership ;Healthcare and Public Health Sector Committee Membership; Information Technology Sector Committee Membership; National Monuments and Icons; Nuclear Sector Committee Membership; Postal and Shipping Sector Committee Membership; State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Government Coordinating Council; Transportation Sector Committee Membership; Water Sector Committee Membership.square_1.png25http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/cipac/cipac_charter.pdf
2006-06month, yearNational Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP)The Plan presents the process by which DHS intends to identify specific assets most critical to the U.S. across all sectors, based on the risk associated with their loss to attack or natural disaster, and then to prioritize activities aimed at maximizing the reduction of those risks for a given investment. The NIPP also calls for implementation plans for these risk reduction activities, with timelines and responsibilities identified, and tied to resources. Each lead agency is to work with its sector to generate Sector Specific Plans, utilizing the processes outlined in the NIPP. The sector-specific plans are to address impacts to physical, human, and cyber assets.square_1.png25http://www.naruc.org/Publications/NIPP_Plan4.pdf
2006-07month, yearVeteran’s Affairs loses laptop containing personal data on 26.6 million veterans and their familiesThe laptop is stolen in a burglary from a Maryland analyst’s home, the analyst later admits he had been working remotely with the adta from home for three years.square_2.png25http://epic.org/privacy/vatheft/
2006-11month, yearAir Force Cyber Command createdThe Air Force Cyber Command is created to implement coordinated offensive and defensive electronic warfare.square_1.png25http://fcw.com/articles/2006/11/13/air-force-to-create-cyber-command.aspx
2007-03month, yearIdaho National Laboratories hacks and crashes a generatorThe Idaho National laboratory demonstrates the ability to physically destroy a power generator through hacking into its control systems. The Laboratories setup a simulated system that mirrored the systems utilized by U.S. energy companies and caused a generator to “shudder, smoke and shut down.”square_2.png25http://articles.cnn.com/2007-09-26/us/power.at.risk_1_generator-cyber-attack-electric-infrastructure?_s=PM:US
2009-02month, yearFederal Aviation Administration (FAA) admits breachForty-eight files are stolen, including one containing information on 45,000 current and former FAA employees.square_2.png25http://fcw.com/articles/2009/02/23/faa-data-breach.aspx
2009-05month, yearCybersecurity Policy Review completed by NSA and DHSObama directs the National Security Agency  and Department of Homeland Security Advisors to Conduct Cyber Security policy review for a “clean slate” start on addressing cyber threats. The Policy recommended a cybersecurity advisory position to the president. The appointment of Howard Schmidt, who was Bush’s cybersecurity advisor for a very short time before the position was abolished, reestablished as the cyber security coordinating function within the White House.square_1.png25http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/AdvisorsToConductImmediateCyberSecurityReview    
2010-10month, yearStuxnet Virus wreaks havoc on Iranian nuclear facilities , later reports inplicated U.S. involvement in development.The Stuxnet virus is reported to have shut down over a thousand centrifuges and possibly destroy over 400 at an Iranian nuclear enrichment facility.square_2.png25http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/11/stuxnet-clues/
2011-04month, year$11 million lost in cyber bank fraudThe FBI put out an alert noting that $20 million was attempted and  $11 million had actually been stolen from small to medium size businesses. The money in each case was wired to a port town in China near the Russian border.square_2.png25http://www.ic3.gov/media/2011/ChinaWireTransferFraudAlert.pdf
2011-05month, yearObama- Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal releasedThe proposal takes into consideration some 50 independent cyber legislative proposals that had been introduced in the previous session of Congress. The proposal received lack luster reviews with some claiming it didn’t have any “teeth,” while others say it didn’t address privacy concerns clearly enough.square_1.png25http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/12/fact-sheet-cybersecurity-legislative-proposal                                                  
2011-07month, yearDOD releases cyber strategy and  admits 24,000 defense contractor files recently stolen through its own systemsDeputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn reveals in a speech introducing DOD’s cyber strategy that 24,000 files including information on including aircraft, surveillance and satellite communications systems had been stolen from their classified network.square_2.png25http://www.defense.gov/news/d20110714cyber.pdf       
2011-09month, yearAir Force UAV control stations hackedUnmanned aerial vehicle systems at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada were infected with a “key logger” malware. Both unclassified and classified systems were infected and took several attempts to remove. The malware did not inhibit or affect the operation of the drones.square_2.png25http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/virus-hits-drone-fleet/
2011-10month, yearGAO releases Government wide information security reportThe GAO’s report “Weaknesses Continue Amid New Federal Efforts to Implement Requirements” details the escalation of cyber attacks on government systems and saying that attacks have increased “over 650 percent over the past 5 years.”square_1.png25http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-137
2011-12month, yearNSTC releases Cyber Security reportThe National Science and Technology Center release  a strategic plan that “defines a set of interrelated priorities for the agencies of the U.S. government that conduct or sponsor research and development (R&D;) in cybersecurity.” The plan lays out priorities to fund projects that close current and future cybersecurity threats and expedite the products to market.square_1.png25http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/fed_cybersecurity_rd_strategic_plan_2011.pdf
2012-02month, yearCybersecurity Act of 2012 bill releasedThe Cybersecurity Act was a bipartisan bill that had been about three years in the making. Similar to the proposal by the White House in 2011, the bill was criticized by some as a potential liberties threat, applauded by some, with some others believing it’s reliance on voluntary disclosure and compliance and lack of increased cyber crimes penalties made the bill weak. Lead by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Republican opposition to a largely bipartisan researched and introduced bill was almost immediate.square_1.png25http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/download/the-cybersecurity-act-of-2012-s-2105                                                                                                                                                                                 
2012-03month, yearNASA admits systems have been hackedNASA’s Inspector General, Paul K. Martin, in testimony before the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology reported that 13 advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks successfully compromised NASA’s computers in 2011. In one attack, the intruders stole 150 user credentials. Another attack targeted the Joint Propulsion Laboratory from a China-based IP who were able to gain “full functional control over these networks.”square_2.png25http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/hearings/HHRG-112-SY21-WState-B001262_20120229.pdf
2012-04month, yearThe Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passes the HouseThe bill faces widespread opposition from online privacy advocates because broad language would likely have given the government access to anyone’s personal information with few privacy protections. It languished in the Senate.square_1.png25http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/04/27/472990/need-to-know-cispa/
2012-10month, yearDefense Secretary Leon Panetta warns of “cyber-Pearl Harbor” as White House readies cybersecurity executive orderSecretary Panetta also claims cyberattacks could be “just as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11”  and noted “[a]n aggressor nation or extremist group could use these kinds of cyber tools to gain control of critical switches… They could derail passenger trains, or even more dangerous, derail passenger trains loaded with lethal chemicals. They could contaminate the water supply in major cities, or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country.square_1.png25http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/11/14/1189311/obama-signed-secret-directive-to-thwart-cyberattacks-in-mid-october/
2012-11month, yearRevealed President Obama secretly signed Presidential Policy Directive 20, designed to thwart cyberattacks, in mid-OctoberThe directive on cyberattack defense was designed to enable military personal to act more aggressively in thwarting attacks on public and private networks, known as Presidential Policy Directive 20 in mid-October.square_1.png25http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/11/14/1189311/obama-signed-secret-directive-to-thwart-cyberattacks-in-mid-october/
2013-01month, yearMajor U.S. newspapers hacked in apparent Chinese-espionage programThe New York Times, Washington Post and others reveal they were the victims of relentless cyber-assaults, likely part of a coordinate campaign by the Chinese government.square_2.png25http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/02/technology/washington-posts-joins-list-of-media-hacked-by-the-chinese.html
2013-02month, yearGovernment Accountability Office audit reveals Federal Communications Commission internal networks were breached in August 2011, and efforts to update network security were not properly managedThe $10 million Enhanced Security Network project started by the organization that regulates online communication was mismanaged by the agency and outside contractors, highlighting the shortage of cybersecurity expertise in government.square_2.png25http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/02/11/1569031/fcc-gao-cybersecurit-esn/
2013-02month, yearWhite House Cybersecurity Executive Order releasedThe executive order opens up the voluntary Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program to other sectors participating in critical infrastructure beyond the defense industrial base, creates new information sharing programs under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, to provide threat and attack information to U.S. businesses, and tasks the National Institute of Standards and Technology with designing and implementing a cybersecurity framework to reduce the cyber risks to critical infrastructure. The Presidential Directive, President Obama’s second directive in a row dealing with cybersecurity, outlines three major imperatives for the Department of Homeland Security to pursue to improve the resiliency of the federal government’s critical infrastructure against cyberattack, and clarifies the role of various federal agencies in pursuing those imperatives.square_1.png25http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/02/13/1579731/cybersecurity-executive-order/
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Timeline: List View

1994-0316 year old British student charged with cyber attacks after breaching the Air Force’s Rome LabAn intrusion was detected in the Air Force’s Rome Lab that left behind traces of an online “handle.” The young hacker by the handle name “Data Cowboy” was tracked down with the help of Scottland Yard and observed from Rome Lab, hacking into over 150 companies and government sites, defrauding phone companies and even accessing data from the South Korean Atomic Research Institution. What was known  in the ’70’s and ’80’s as “phreaking,” a way to make long distances calls by simulating dial tones, had now become the first way to use dial-up internet connections to mask cyber attacks.  
1996-07President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection (PCCIP) identified cyber threats at criticalA commission is established that reports to the President the nature and scope of vulnerabilities and threats to the nation’s critical infrastructures. The focus was primarily on cyber threats. The commission is tasked to recommend a comprehensive national policy and implementations strategies.
1997-06Simulated cyber attack named “Eligible Receiver” shows vulnerability in DOD computer networksThe cyberwar game is the first of its kind. It simulated a North Korean attacker targeting the Pacific Command Systems. The U.S. system did poorly in the exercise.
1997-10PCCIP report released, highlighting government role in monitoring and disseminating latest-threat information to cyber companiesThe report becomes known as the “Marsh Report” after commission chairman Robert Marsh, a former Air Force General. The report cites no immediate threat to infrastructure but a need for cybersecurity action due to rapid growth of computer-literate population, inherent vulnerabilities of common protocols in computer networks, easy availability of hacker “tools and same technology being used by general population as hackers. The commission recommended greater cooperation between private and government sectors and highlighted the governments role collecting and disseminating latest threat information to private companies (intrusion techniques, threat analysis, and ways to defend against hackers).
1998-02Department of Defense (DOD) network attacked, dubbed “Solar Sunrise”A series of attacks on DOD unclassified networks named Solar Sunrise. The attackers used an exploit in the system to install collection software and went back into the system later to retrieve the information. This attack confirmed the results of “Eligible Receiver.
1998-02National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) is createdThe Marsh Report, the Eligible Receiver exercise, and the Solar Sunrise investigation lead the Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI  Director Louis Freeh to create the NIPC on February 26, 1998. The NPIC was tasked with protecting the all nationally critical infrastructure network systems for the government and private sector. The NPIC was a multi-agency effort ran and housed out of the FBI. The NPIC was divided into three sections- Computer Investigations and Operations; Training, Administration, and Outreach; and Analysis and Warning. Private industry were encouraged to join private-government partnerships on a voluntary basis to better coordinate protection schemes and disseminate threat information.
1998-05Presidential Decision Directive (PPD)  No. 63. to implement National Infrastructure Assurance PlanGroups are setup within the federal government to develop and implement plans to protect government-operated infrastructures. It also calls for a dialogue between government and the private sector to develop a National Infrastructure Assurance Plan to protect the nation’s critical infrastructures by 2003. Each federal agency was made responsible for securing its own critical infrastructure.  The National Plan Coordination Staff were organized into the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office (CIAO) and tasked  to develop the plan while the Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) was setup, modeled after FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center, for current threat information sharing. The major focus is on cyber threats and the  critical infrastructure sectors were determined to include:  Information and Communications, Banking and Finance, Water, Transportation, Emergency Law Enforcement, Emergency Fire Service, Emergency Medicine, Electric Power, Gas, and Oil, Law Enforcement and Internal Security, Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, National Defense.
1999-07National Infrastructure Assurance Council, or NIAC, established under Clinton Exec. Order 13130 (order is rescinded by Bush before council can convene)The Council is tasked with enhancing the partnership between public and private sectors,  develop ways to encourage private industry to conduct risk assessments of critical processes, monitor the development of Private Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (PSISACs) and provide recommendations to the National Coordinator and the National Economic Council on how these organizations can best foster improved cooperation among the PSISACs, the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), and other federal government agencies.
1999-12Clinton released Version 1.0 of a National Plan for Information Systems ProtectionThe plan is solely focused on cybersecurity and touts a plan for “A Real Public-Private Partnership…Not Dictated Solutions” and holds educated personnel as the key to success. It lays out 10 programs to achieve the goals laid out in PPD 63 and notes that the government systems should be the model.
1999-12Private sector actors voluntarily convene Partnership for Critical Infrastructure SecurityThe goal is to share information and strategies and to identify interdependencies across sectorial lines. It was a private sector initiative, with the CIAO providing administrative support for meetings. Sector liaisons from lead federal agencies were considered ex officio members.
2001-10Bush signs the Patriot Act, which includes definition of critical infrastructureIn the Patriot Act, section 1016 “Critical Infrastructures Protection Act of 2001,” defines “critical infrastructure” as “systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.
2001-10Bush establishes Office of Homeland Security and the Homeland Security Council by Executive OrderSection (3ei) & (3fi) gives the Office the task of “protecting critical infrastructure from the consequences of terrorist attacks” and “coordinate efforts to respond to and promote recovery from terrorist threats or attacks within the United States” to include telecommunication.
2001-10Bush Re-Creates NIAC with Executive Order 13231- Critical Infrastructure Protection in the Information AgeNational Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) is enacted by with the same goals and acronyms the council that was rescinded as President Bush took office. This allowed Bush to appoint twenty-four different advisors. The order is issued “to ensure protection of information systems for critical infrastructure, including emergency preparedness communications, and the physical assets that support such systems, in the information age.”
2002-07First National Strategy for Homeland Security releasedExpands upon the listing of sectors considered to possess critical infrastructure to include public health, the chemical industry and hazardous materials, postal and shipping, the defense industrial base, and agriculture and food. While the main focus is on physical terrorist attack security, “Securing Cyberspace” is one of eight major initiatives identified and is listed under potential terrorist threats. The report also sites the upcoming National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace as what will “describe our initiatives to secure our information systems against deliberate, malicious disruption.”
2002-09Bush announces appointments to NIACMembers selected for NIAC represent major sectors of the economy – banking and finance, transportation, energy, information technology, and manufacturing. The Council also includes representatives from academia, state and local government, and law enforcement. The Council works closely with the President’s National Security and Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). Members make recommendations regarding the security of the cyber and information systems relating to national security and economic critical infrastructures. The Committee examines partnerships to enhanced and improve cyber security between the public and private sectors.
2002-11Congress passes Homeland Security Act establishing a Department of Homeland Security (DHS)The act consolidated within one department a number of agencies that had, as part of their missions, homeland security-like functions (e.g., Border Patrol, Customs, Transportation Security Administration). The act kept the language of DHS being responsible for “critical infrastructures” to include telecommunications. This left the responsibility overlapping with previous attempts to police cyber crime by the FBI and NSA.
2003-02The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace releasedThe strategy is an extension of the National Plan for Information Systems Protection created under the Clinton Administration in 1999, now referred to as Version 2.0. This strategy addressed all interested parties in the nation’s information infrastructure, from home users to the international community, and included input from the private sector, the academic community, and state and local governments. It was criticized for lacking regulations which rendered it “toothless.”
2003-12Bush’s Presidential Directive 7 creates the Critical Infrastructure Protection Policy Coordinating CommitteeThe Directive further defines the relationship between the DHS and other agencies. DHS maintains a cyber security unit and the Director of the Office of Management remains responsible for overseeing government-wide information security programs and operating the federal cyber incident response center within DHS.  The Critical Infrastructure Protection Policy Coordinating Committee to advise the Homeland Security Council on interagency policy related to physical and cyber infrastructure security was created.
2005-02Interim National Infrastructure Protection Plan releasedA general document that aims to ” provide the framework and sets the direction for implementing this coordinated, national effort.” The plan listed “cyber infrastructures” as high priority as well as coordinating with private industry, across agencies and foreign governments.
2006-03DHS creates Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC) with private industryCIPAC is created to support the implementation of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP). DHS acts as the Executive Secretariat of meetings. Members include federal, state, local, and tribal government entities that belong to their respective government coordinating councils. Private industries are covered under an array of committees that include ;Chemical Sector Committee Membership; Commercial Facilities Sector Committee Membership; Communications Sector Committee Membership; Critical Manufacturing Sector Committee Membership; Dams Sector Committee Membership; Defense Industrial Base Sector Committee Membership; Emergency Services Sector Committee Membership; Energy Sector Committee Membership; Financial Services Sector Committee Membership; Food and Agriculture Sector Committee Membership; Government Facilities Sector Committee Membership ;Healthcare and Public Health Sector Committee Membership; Information Technology Sector Committee Membership; National Monuments and Icons; Nuclear Sector Committee Membership; Postal and Shipping Sector Committee Membership; State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Government Coordinating Council; Transportation Sector Committee Membership; Water Sector Committee Membership.
2006-06National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP)The Plan presents the process by which DHS intends to identify specific assets most critical to the U.S. across all sectors, based on the risk associated with their loss to attack or natural disaster, and then to prioritize activities aimed at maximizing the reduction of those risks for a given investment. The NIPP also calls for implementation plans for these risk reduction activities, with timelines and responsibilities identified, and tied to resources. Each lead agency is to work with its sector to generate Sector Specific Plans, utilizing the processes outlined in the NIPP. The sector-specific plans are to address impacts to physical, human, and cyber assets.
2006-07Veteran’s Affairs loses laptop containing personal data on 26.6 million veterans and their familiesThe laptop is stolen in a burglary from a Maryland analyst’s home, the analyst later admits he had been working remotely with the adta from home for three years.
2006-11Air Force Cyber Command createdThe Air Force Cyber Command is created to implement coordinated offensive and defensive electronic warfare.
2007-03Idaho National Laboratories hacks and crashes a generatorThe Idaho National laboratory demonstrates the ability to physically destroy a power generator through hacking into its control systems. The Laboratories setup a simulated system that mirrored the systems utilized by U.S. energy companies and caused a generator to “shudder, smoke and shut down.”
2009-02Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) admits breachForty-eight files are stolen, including one containing information on 45,000 current and former FAA employees.
2009-05Cybersecurity Policy Review completed by NSA and DHSObama directs the National Security Agency  and Department of Homeland Security Advisors to Conduct Cyber Security policy review for a “clean slate” start on addressing cyber threats. The Policy recommended a cybersecurity advisory position to the president. The appointment of Howard Schmidt, who was Bush’s cybersecurity advisor for a very short time before the position was abolished, reestablished as the cyber security coordinating function within the White House.
2010-10Stuxnet Virus wreaks havoc on Iranian nuclear facilities , later reports inplicated U.S. involvement in development.The Stuxnet virus is reported to have shut down over a thousand centrifuges and possibly destroy over 400 at an Iranian nuclear enrichment facility.
2011-04$11 million lost in cyber bank fraudThe FBI put out an alert noting that $20 million was attempted and  $11 million had actually been stolen from small to medium size businesses. The money in each case was wired to a port town in China near the Russian border.
2011-05Obama- Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal releasedThe proposal takes into consideration some 50 independent cyber legislative proposals that had been introduced in the previous session of Congress. The proposal received lack luster reviews with some claiming it didn’t have any “teeth,” while others say it didn’t address privacy concerns clearly enough.
2011-07DOD releases cyber strategy and  admits 24,000 defense contractor files recently stolen through its own systemsDeputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn reveals in a speech introducing DOD’s cyber strategy that 24,000 files including information on including aircraft, surveillance and satellite communications systems had been stolen from their classified network.
2011-09Air Force UAV control stations hackedUnmanned aerial vehicle systems at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada were infected with a “key logger” malware. Both unclassified and classified systems were infected and took several attempts to remove. The malware did not inhibit or affect the operation of the drones.
2011-10GAO releases Government wide information security reportThe GAO’s report “Weaknesses Continue Amid New Federal Efforts to Implement Requirements” details the escalation of cyber attacks on government systems and saying that attacks have increased “over 650 percent over the past 5 years.”
2011-12NSTC releases Cyber Security reportThe National Science and Technology Center release  a strategic plan that “defines a set of interrelated priorities for the agencies of the U.S. government that conduct or sponsor research and development (R&D;) in cybersecurity.” The plan lays out priorities to fund projects that close current and future cybersecurity threats and expedite the products to market.
2012-02Cybersecurity Act of 2012 bill releasedThe Cybersecurity Act was a bipartisan bill that had been about three years in the making. Similar to the proposal by the White House in 2011, the bill was criticized by some as a potential liberties threat, applauded by some, with some others believing it’s reliance on voluntary disclosure and compliance and lack of increased cyber crimes penalties made the bill weak. Lead by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Republican opposition to a largely bipartisan researched and introduced bill was almost immediate.
2012-03NASA admits systems have been hackedNASA’s Inspector General, Paul K. Martin, in testimony before the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology reported that 13 advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks successfully compromised NASA’s computers in 2011. In one attack, the intruders stole 150 user credentials. Another attack targeted the Joint Propulsion Laboratory from a China-based IP who were able to gain “full functional control over these networks.”
2012-04The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passes the HouseThe bill faces widespread opposition from online privacy advocates because broad language would likely have given the government access to anyone’s personal information with few privacy protections. It languished in the Senate.
2012-10Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warns of “cyber-Pearl Harbor” as White House readies cybersecurity executive orderSecretary Panetta also claims cyberattacks could be “just as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11”  and noted “[a]n aggressor nation or extremist group could use these kinds of cyber tools to gain control of critical switches… They could derail passenger trains, or even more dangerous, derail passenger trains loaded with lethal chemicals. They could contaminate the water supply in major cities, or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country.
2012-11Revealed President Obama secretly signed Presidential Policy Directive 20, designed to thwart cyberattacks, in mid-OctoberThe directive on cyberattack defense was designed to enable military personal to act more aggressively in thwarting attacks on public and private networks, known as Presidential Policy Directive 20 in mid-October.
2013-01Major U.S. newspapers hacked in apparent Chinese-espionage programThe New York Times, Washington Post and others reveal they were the victims of relentless cyber-assaults, likely part of a coordinate campaign by the Chinese government.
2013-02Government Accountability Office audit reveals Federal Communications Commission internal networks were breached in August 2011, and efforts to update network security were not properly managedThe $10 million Enhanced Security Network project started by the organization that regulates online communication was mismanaged by the agency and outside contractors, highlighting the shortage of cybersecurity expertise in government.
2013-02White House Cybersecurity Executive Order releasedThe executive order opens up the voluntary Enhanced Cybersecurity Services program to other sectors participating in critical infrastructure beyond the defense industrial base, creates new information sharing programs under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, to provide threat and attack information to U.S. businesses, and tasks the National Institute of Standards and Technology with designing and implementing a cybersecurity framework to reduce the cyber risks to critical infrastructure. The Presidential Directive, President Obama’s second directive in a row dealing with cybersecurity, outlines three major imperatives for the Department of Homeland Security to pursue to improve the resiliency of the federal government’s critical infrastructure against cyberattack, and clarifies the role of various federal agencies in pursuing those imperatives.

This timeline was published by the Center for American Progress

” As the world is increasingly interconnected, everyone shares the responsibility of securing cyberspace. “

Newton Lee


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