In his testimony given before the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, cited Apple's iPad, which costs $499 and up, as an example of the challenges the nation faces as it attempts to operate in a global and amorphous cyber space.
Alexander, who bought an iPad shortly after Apple put it on the market in April, told the hearing the device illustrates advances in technology during the past two decades. "Its capability surpasses
that of even NASA computers of 20 years ago," he said.
The iPad packs millions of lines of code into a consumer product, Alexander said, which may help understand "the complexity of our new world and the ways in which our economy and society have shifted to an information culture, where wealth is less and less rooted in the physical ability to manipulate objects than it is in the knowledge of how those objects work together."
The information economy has a lot of bad actors, who can also afford technology, he said. Alexander views the best cyber defense is one based on culture and procedures, rather than technology.
"Purely technological advantages are likely to be fewer and less lasting in our networked world," he said. "Our advantage has to lie in how we put these tools together in systems, especially systems of people, protocols and machines that can operate reliably together at high speeds to identify vulnerabilities, share information, assess risks, devise countermeasures and apply new solutions," without providing details.
What's next? An iPad cyber defense app?