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Cyber attacks warrant more action

Members of Congress are eager to provide military hardware to the Pentagon, whether the armed forces want it or not. The recently approved $1.1 trillion spending bill, including between $3 billion and $5 billion for warplanes, tanks, etc., the Defense Department did not request, is proof of that.

But what about an area of national security in which the United States is exceedingly vulnerable – cyber attacks?

Officials of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. have been left shaken and intimidated by an invasion of company computers conducted over a period of several months by hackers who may work for the North Korean government.

So cowed were the Hollywood executives that they canceled the planned New York City premiere of a movie to which the North Koreans object and delayed its release.

For various reasons, including leaked email messages that embarrassed Sony, the company might lose millions of dollars because of the attack.

Defending the private sector against cyber warfare has been left largely to the private sector. Given the government’s success with programs such as the Affordable Care Act website, that may not be a bad thing.

But what, exactly, is the government doing to defend Americans against cyber attacks and retaliate against those mounting them? Not enough, clearly. Perhaps the next Congress should cancel funding for a few dozen unneeded fighter planes and use the money for cyber defense.

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