More than 50 people attended the Greater Brighton Chamber of Commerce's Wednesday breakfast event at Crystal Gardens in Howell to hear U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, speak about threats to national security.
Rogers touched on the recent Middle Eastern riots, the murder of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and on the possibility of a nuclear Iran, but his main topic was the threat of cyber attacks on the United States.
The discussion on cyber security came a year after Rogers first addressed the topic with the Brighton chamber.
Rogers said the U.S. is losing the cyber war today and that the government knows of the problem, yet has no defense against it.
The House passed a bill that Rogers introduced last year to allow sharing of covert intelligence information with the private sector, to allow businesses to protect themselves against potential cyber attacks. Rogers said the bill is currently stalled in the Senate.
Robert Kamal, owner of KoHorto IT Services in Brighton, said he thought Rogers' talk was dead on about cyberspace.
"That's the real war we're fighting now," he said.
Kamal said his company, which provides monitoring and data solutions, is attacked by little programs called "bots" about every 15 seconds. The bots are trying to grab code and steal programs to compete against Kamal's business in overseas markets. Kamal said they traced the source back to a military base in China.
Kamal said he and his programmers had a little fun, leaving a trap called a "honeypot," where they moved all of their programs to a different server, then populated the old server with viruses and let the bots download those instead. The trap only stopped the attacks for about a week, he said.
"It's a temporary fix, and it takes time and energy, when my programmers could be doing something else," Kamal said. "It was for our own enjoyment."
Kamal said he is really interested in the pending cyber security legislation to share information.
"It's a really good idea to help us be aware of stuff sooner," he said. "But I'd also like to speak to him (Rogers) because there are things we can do to make things more difficult for them (hackers), because we've been doing this already."