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Cracking the code: Defending against the superweapons of the 21st century cyberwar

On Monday, the Obama administration acknowledged the promises and risks of information technology by rolling out a new international strategy for cyberspace. And along with  language about open, reliable and secure networks, there was this tough talk: “The United States will respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as we would to any other threat to our country.”

The threat of attack has been a growing concern to national security experts for some time. Imagine what would happen if a malicious hacker could take out a power grid or cause the meltdown of a nuclear plant. Critics of the administration’s cyber-security plan question whether it goes far enough to protect us from the next generation of cyber-superweapons — including one devastating computer virus, Stuxnet, that’s already been unleashed in a foreign country.

Related: Play the role of cyber-warrior in this interactive quiz