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Law of Armed Conflict To Apply To Cyberwar

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the logic-bombs-vs-smart-bombs dept.

Security 242

charter6 writes "Gen. Kevin Chilton, the head of STRATCOM, just declared that the Law of Armed Conflict will apply to cyberwar, and that the US won't rule out conventional (read: kinetic) responses to cyber-attacks. This means that we consider state-supported 'hackers' to be subject to the Geneva Conventions and Customary International Law, including the rules of proportionality and distinction (i.e. if we catch them, we can try them for war crimes). Incidentally, it also means we consider non-state cyber-attackers to be illegal enemy combatants, which means we can do all kinds of nasty stuff to them."

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Awesome (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27883471)

This seems like a great idea, until you realize that any american geek who prods too deeply will be branded an enemy combatant.

Who knows what happens to enemy combatants.

Re:Awesome (4, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883505)

Who knows what happens to enemy combatants.

Cyber Guantanamo. Maybe they could swipe a small beach from Cyber Yugoslavia [juga.com]

Re:Awesome (5, Funny)

netruner (588721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883571)

Cyber Guantanamo - wouldn't that be like making them use AOL over a 9600 baud modem? Or would that be considered torture by the Geneva Convention?

Re:Awesome (4, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883607)

Cyber Guantanamo - wouldn't that be like making them use AOL over a 9600 baud modem? Or would that be considered torture by the Geneva Convention?

Sir, you're replying to a comment submitted via GPRS on the Worcester-London train. I now officially hate you.

Re:Awesome (1)

machineghost (622031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883771)

>>Or would that be considered torture by the Geneva Convention?
Feh, nobody cares about that thing anymore anyway ;-)

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27883855)

Or would that be considered torture by the Geneva Convention?

So Cyber Guantanamo, then.

Re:Awesome (1)

kulakovich (580584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883991)

Yes, and in the future they'll be trying to follow the chain of command back to who authorized Bulletin Boarding.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884253)

Phyber Optik did his best work with a C-64.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884377)

torture enough to get them to talk... albeit slowly.

Re:Awesome (5, Insightful)

chris098 (536090) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883511)

The whole "illegal enemy combatant" thing is immoral regardless of whether the "attacks" are physical attacks or just attempts made to disrupt digital communications.

They do have a point though - communications infrastructure is very important both for the economic wellbeing of the country, and to allow other branches of the military to coordinate and defend the country.

There really shouldn't be any reason to not consider traditional armed responses to digital attacks. People can cause damage. A teenage hacker may not have the same violent intent as a suicide bomber or a rogue nation plotting a traditional war, but that doesn't stop them from doing something malicious with serious repercussions.

It sounds good in theory, but like the parent, I also look at our country's history of using good judgment in situations like this, and worry.

Re:Awesome (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883713)

the modern treatment of "illegal enemy combatant" by the US has been immoral. But, it allows for the summary execution of saboteurs, spies, etc. during times of war.

In my mind, that means sending in the spooks or SpecFor guys and capping them, rather than black-bagging them and torturing the crap [literally & figuratively] out of them. Save that for their hardware.

But, we couldn't really find the Timothy McVeighs almost 20 years ago, and probably couldn't now, either, despite the PATRIOTACT, NSA spying, etc.

Look what a couple of disgruntled kooks from Salem, OR, did a few months ago to a bank in Woodburn, OR. I'm sure their purchase of pre-paid cell phones showed up somewhere (they sure identified them through purchase records fast enough), but not enough to tie that in with whatever else they bought along the way to preempt their plans...

Re:Awesome (1, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883915)

...it allows for the summary execution of saboteurs, spies, etc. during times of war.

Someone hacking a Pentagon computer from, say, Europe is not doing it from a country that is at war with the US. However, if the US response to that hacker is to blow up his house it sounds like a very good way to end up in a state of war with lots of countries. If local law enforcement will not handle such threats then a proportionate response would be to threaten to break all network ties with that country. Apart from solving the problem there are not many countries who's economies would not suffer greatly from such action (and if they go via another country you either gain an ally against them or ban them as well). It is a shame that subtlety and proportionate response never seem to be strong suits of the US government.

Re:Awesome (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883861)

The whole "illegal enemy combatant" thing is immoral

Like many state-sponsored practices which are immoral, it's designed to intimidate.

There really shouldn't be any reason to not consider traditional armed responses to digital attacks. People can cause damage. A teenage hacker may not have the same violent intent as a suicide bomber or a rogue nation plotting a traditional war, but that doesn't stop them from doing something malicious with serious repercussions.

Assuming that your top priority is punishing those who perpetrate such attacks, this makes a great deal of sense. Now, if your top priority is to prevent computer and network intrusions, I think our efforts and resources would be better spent towards hardening machines and networks, identifying insecure practices, and holding personally responsible the people who are supposed to keep those systems secure.

What I mean by "priority" is that we can do this and still try to locate and arrest the perpetrators, it would just have a lower priority than securing our systems to prevent such intrusions in the first place. In other words, they're not mutually exclusive even though I believe one of those options makes a lot more sense. I just think it's silly to believe that stiff penalties alone are going to prevent the intrusion attempts that anyone running any sort of server already accepts as inevitable.

It sounds good in theory, but like the parent, I also look at our country's history of using good judgment in situations like this, and worry.

I think that if you cut through all the peripheral issues and locate the core principle, this goes back to the idea that "freedom isn't free." What people seem to want is the perfect ability to secure us against all sorts of threats while retaining all civil liberties and preventing the abuse of power. That just isn't realistic and history, particularly that of the 20th century, has been the story of why that doesn't work and isn't going to work. Personally, I'd rather retain my civil liberties and have a government that doesn't have so many easily-abused powers, even if that means that some criminals who do real damage might get away with it (though more likely than not, they'd just be dealt with using the criminal justice system instead of the Gitmo system).

It seems evident that people who value freedom more than a need to "get those bastards", more than their party platform, more than their desire to feel safe from a threat be it real or imagined, more than even life itself, are becoming rare. I am forced to regard that as cowardice. When it comes to the motivation behind poor decision-making, few things are quite so effective as cowardice.

Re:Awesome (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883881)

They do have a point though - communications infrastructure is very important both for the economic wellbeing of the country, and to allow other branches of the military to coordinate and defend the country.

And how do you plan to take down the internet? Its design criteria included the capability to survive WW3.

Re:Awesome (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884067)

And yet it's still held together by gaffer tape.

Just because something is designed to survive something, doesn't mean it will!

Re:Awesome (4, Informative)

Weedhopper (168515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884201)

The whole "illegal enemy combatant" thing is immoral regardless of whether the "attacks" are physical attacks or just attempts made to disrupt digital communications.

No, it's very much moral and necessity. The application of it by the previous administration, however, is outright criminal.

The Laws of Armed Conflict and the Geneva Conventions that provides the clause for "illegal enemy combatants" as a classification to exist, exist for a reason. It's to prevent war from descending to absolute fucking barbarism. War is ugly and brutal enough as it is when everyone follows the rules.

You have no idea how inhuman the actors who play outside of those rules can be unless you've seen it for yourself. The terrible things that criminal things soldiers have done pale in comparison to the gutwrenchingly and heartbreakingly deplorable acts that armed people will do in the absence of good order and discipline.

That we're using illegal combatant status as a loophole legal justification for torture IS immoral, but the rules were there to try to force everyone to behave with some semblance of human civility, no matter how small.

Re:Awesome (2, Funny)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883517)

No, those rules are just for THE OTHER guys, not us 'mericans!

(We have domestic law enforcement spying on us)

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27883741)

For a moment there I was right with you. Then I started to get all introspective... not a good idea, I know. But we must consider what we perceive as our basic freedom to "interfere" can be very disruptive. Are we just too used to getting away with intrusive efforts?

Re:Awesome (4, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883765)

I thought the whole point of "enemy combatants" was to get around the whole human rights for POW and prisoners. Hence why when the japs waterboarded POWs it was a terrible thing to do (even if they were trying to prevent an attack on civilians involving a WMD), but when the US waterboraded "enemy combatants" it was just enhanced interrogation.

Re:Awesome (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883947)

I think you meant to say "... who ignorantly commits crimes and thinks he should not be responsible for his actions."

Know what you are doing or don't do it.

Re:Awesome (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884169)

Not quite, but it does mean that an American kiddie who defaced cnn.com would be guilty of High Treason.

Re:Awesome (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884177)

- Remember kids (by the camp fire, outside of the burned remains of the White House), once upong a time there was these things called criminal law and international cooperation. There was also this entity called "administration" which controlled the thoughts of the majority.
- Inconceivable! (gasping)
- One of the administrations invented the necessary concepts to militarize every part of the criminal law and so the Withusoragaistus was born. The ueberish leader at the time was called the Bush.
- Hehe, bush, hehe. (around the fire)
- I know (smiling). Anyway, at the time the Withusoragaistus was only a thought and it took several decades to materialize as the then nations Controller.
- The Controller, huh. (shivering, filled with fear) What happened to the international cooperation?
- You see? (waving hand towards the remains) Well, kids, why don't we eat some of those delicious anticuchos. They look well made already.

Re:Awesome (1)

FishOuttaWater (1163787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884223)

I thought the whole point of having separate legal rules for war situations was that it was a battlefield with thousands of guys running around shooting people. You can't really apply the normal American legal process on that scale. There aren't enough judges, prosecutors, jurors, and, thankfully, lawyers in the world to do it. It just doesn't seem like this rationale applies to hacking. Still, play it safe, guys. If you must hack military sites, for God's sake, wear a uniform!

Re:Awesome (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884359)

Or worse... it gives our government pretty much any reason to attack any other country.

Our servers were hacked by your people.. We're carpet bombing Dubai in response.

Sorry, but this is utterly insane. Cyber-warfare is a joke. Its' a dirty secret joke us hackers thought up decades ago, and now some dipshit in the pentagon wants to fricking launch missles in response to it.

Jeebus, I can thwart a full on "cyber attack" by yanking a single ethernet cable.

The response is to hire competent IT security people and make a "cyber attack" worthless, not to nuke a hemisphere.

Copyright army (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27883501)

Finally, Hollywood can have all those file sharers declared state enemies. "They could be sharing terrorist plans. Ummmm, yah! That's it"

Re:Copyright army (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27883711)

Anyone else notice slashdot isn't showing comment info on the front page anymore?

Oil Barons (2, Funny)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883509)

This completely explains [wikipedia.org] what happened to my Commodore 64 cluster...

Re:Oil Barons (0, Offtopic)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883657)

Is it just me, or is Slashdot confusing your Firefox into displaying the 'live bookmarks' page all the time? This is after Slashdot was down, then slow, for ages today. It's wrong on my IE and Opera 9.5 mobile on windows mobile, as well as Firefox on Ubuntu 9.04.

Re:Oil Barons (1, Insightful)

wampus (1932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883737)

Slashdot's interface is an abortion and makes javascript jebus cry.

I'd be okay it with if only... (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883557)

...if only I get to personally witness the death by execution of the people who write malware, run botnets and spam the hell out of the planet.

Those those trade freedom for security deserve neither. But I would gladly trade some freedom for some revenge against the bastards that really bring hell to the masses.

You'll see it on the news, not in person (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883593)

Sorry, when the Pentagon comes for the hackers and delivers their "kinetic response" you won't be there to see it live.

You may be able to see the smoking crater of what's left of them and their botnet command and control center on CNN though.

I do hope you won't be too disappointed.

Re:You'll see it on the news, not in person (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883645)

I wouldn't be so sure of that. We got to see Saddam hanged. My god! What a defiant-to-the-end asshole. (We set'm up! We knock'm down!)

Re:I'd be okay it with if only... (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883653)

You sure have a strange definition of hell. Maybe stop using IE, HotMail/Yahoo mail, etc.?

I'll keep my comfortable air-conditioned, running water & effective sewage treatment, food distribution, job, etc., even if I have to deal with the occaisional spam e-mail (hey, GMail is pretty effective at filtering out that crap) intruding into my personal life when I can choose to use my computer, or not, and still have an enjoyable life, versus living in some intolerant Taliban-controlled backhole, a refugee camp in , any prison, etc., where day-to-day existance is very fragile, indeed.

Re:I'd be okay it with if only... (1, Flamebait)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883745)

Card-carrying Linux user here. I am not vulnerable. It's the "environment" that has become a trashed-out hell. Every machine from government, business of all sizes to your next door neighbor's are the ones being exploited. To put it another way, you can keep your house painted and your lawn delicately landscaped all you want, but that won't save your property value when you've got gang members, white trash, an over-populated house of hispanics and a black woman with 6 kids from 8 different child-support paying fathers living close by.

Re:I'd be okay it with if only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27883843)

You live across the street from me, don't you?

Re:I'd be okay it with if only... (1)

Nicholas Evans (731773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884047)

with 6 kids from 8 different child-support paying fathers

That's a neat trick. I also believe it's possible to do in several states...

Re:I'd be okay it with if only... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884105)

Oh yes... seen it. In Pennsylvania, you can be married to a woman and be completely, medically sterile and you will be responsible for child support if your wife cheats on you and gets pregnant before the divorce is complete. And on top of that, she could move to another state and charge the biological father with paternity and collect from him as well. That's a 2-for-1 and it is completely legal.

I love that I was modded down as flamebait by pointing out truth in its extremes. "Bad neighbors" bring down property values. It's a fact. The examples of bad neighbors I cited are valid, accurate and all too common. What's more, they are covered in a pretty fair and even spectrum.

Re:I'd be okay it with if only... (3, Insightful)

Whatsisname (891214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883975)

Right, because goverments of the 20th century killing 200 million people isn't what really brings hell to the masses! My email inbox being flooded with V1AGR4 is so much greater a crime against society!

Re:I'd be okay it with if only... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884141)

The two things you stated are completely unrelated. You may as well have brought up kids with cancer as being worse than spam. NOT RELATED. Mass murder is bayud m'kay? But completely irrelevant. Want to make a point? Keep it relevant.

and the hacker thinks.... (4, Funny)

eatvegetables (914186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883559)

"Incidentally, it also means we consider non-state cyber-attackers to be illegal enemy combatants, which means we can do all kinds of nasty stuff to them."

the hacker thinks to himself ...hmmmm, if I hack the military, they might

1. stick me in a cold, dark, room.

2. feed me old, stale food.

3. keep me away from friends, family, and girls.

4. keep me awake all night.

...(pause), ALRIGHT! Woohooo!. I wonder if I get to play WoW too!/p?

Re:and the hacker thinks.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27883577)

lol!

Re:and the hacker thinks.... (1)

markana (152984) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883775)

So, they give you a job as a Sysadmin????

(and the high-value prisoners they make Windows admins???)

Re:and the hacker thinks.... (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883801)

the hacker thinks to himself ...hmmmm, if I hack the military, they might
...
3. keep me away from friends, family, and girls.

Oops, too late for that one.

Re:and the hacker thinks.... (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883867)


  the hacker thinks to himself ...hmmmm, if I hack the military, they might

1. stick me in a cold, dark, room.

2. feed me old, stale food.

3. keep me away from friends, family, and girls.

4. keep me awake all night.

5. do a low level reformat on them from orbit.

That said, I personally think it's long overdue that we started treating these botnets and hacking rings as criminal organizations.

Re:and the hacker thinks.... (1)

djcapelis (587616) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884243)

> That said, I personally think it's long overdue
> that we started treating these botnets and
> hacking rings as criminal organizations.

I agree. However this policy treats them as foreign military which is much different.

Very few hacking incidents these days (not that we have terribly good data on this) are military operations. Criminal ones are likely to be far more common. It is important to preserve the distinction and hopefully there will be some effort to do so.

Re:and the hacker thinks.... (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883913)

  ...(pause), ALRIGHT! Woohooo!. I wonder if I get to play WoW too!/p?

No, it's not on the list. I'm afraid you can only choose one of these:

List Games

FALKEN'S MAZE     GUERRILLA ENGAGEMENT
BLACK JACK        DESERT WAREFARE
GIN RUMMY         AIR-TO-GROUND ACTIONS
HEARTS            THEATREWIDE TACTICAL
BRIDGE               WAREFARE
CHECKERS          THEATREWIDE BIOTOXIC AND
CHESS                CHEMICAL WAREFARE
POKER             GLOBAL THERMONUCLEAR WAR
FIGHTER COMBAT

tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe
tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe
tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe tic tac toe

Re:and the hacker thinks.... (4, Insightful)

catmistake (814204) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884045)

if the hacker has any sense, he'll hack the U.S. Constitution and restore the backups of Habeas corpus

"State-Supported" Hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27883573)

From the the summary:

This means that we consider state-supported 'hackers' to be subject to the Geneva Conventions and Customary International Law,...

I really don't know what any of this means. First, what's with the "state-supported" bit? Why would that matter? Second, what does it mean to be subject to the Geneva Conventions - that we can't torture them if we catch them?

Originally, the Bush administration argument was that the people it was capturing were not subject to the Geneva Conventions (so it didn't have to treat them as POWs) but then later it decided to try them for war crimes. Then again, the Bush administration wasn't exactly known for avoiding contradictions.

International law is a mess - and doubly so when it comes to the international laws of war.

Re:"State-Supported" Hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27883707)

I really don't know what any of this means.

You don't know because you're ignorant. What it means is that a state-supported 'hacker' will receive the same exact treatment as a uniformed soldier from the attacking country. The Geneva Convention has very specific rules and regulations regarding treatment of enemy POWs belonging to an army.

... that we can't torture them if we catch them?

Precisely.

Originally, the Bush administration argument was that the people it was capturing were not subject to the Geneva Conventions (so it didn't have to treat them as POWs) but then later it decided to try them for war crimes.

And they were (technically) correct. As none of the captured combatants represented a specific country, obeyed the 'rules of engagement', nor wore distinct clothing or markings identifying them as combatants as opposed to regular civilians, they were not subject to the same protections afforded to armed forces by the Geneva Convention, among other things.
However, they could still be tried for war crimes, and punished accordingly.
If anything, the Bush administration was very cautious in how they handled those they captured; the british weren't nearly as easy-going with the IRA militants they captured back in the '80s.

Then again, the Bush administration wasn't exactly known for avoiding contradictions.

As opposed to the current administration. Right.
   

Re:"State-Supported" Hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884123)

Originally, the Bush administration argument was that the people it was capturing were not subject to the Geneva Conventions....

And they were (technically) correct.

That actually depends on which version of the Geneva Conventions you think apply. The USA ignores some of the additional protocols that deal with civil war and insurgency.

...none of the captured combatants represented a specific country, obeyed the 'rules of engagement', nor wore distinct clothing or markings identifying them as combatants...

One (old) school of thought is that the Geneva Conventions are treaties between countries, in that sense the Geneva Conventions only apply if your country has ratified the Geneva Conventions and if you are acting in an official capacity for your country. Basically, if you're not a soldier in the military of a country that has ratified the Geneva Conventions then you are neither protected by the Geneva Conventions nor can you be in violation of the Geneva Conventions (be guilty of war crimes).

A more modern school of thought is that the Geneva Conventions apply to everyone. But then there's the problem that countries don't agree on what constitutes the full Geneva Conventions (in particular, the additional protocols that the USA has not ratified).

The reason this matters is that the additional protocols go into detail about how to apply the Geneva Conventions in civil war and insurgency. In particular, according to the additional protocols, the requirements for distinctive markings, etc. are substantially relaxed. Basically, if you can tell that the guy is a combatant while he is actively attacking you then that is enough to qualify him for POW status.

However, they could still be tried for war crimes, and punished accordingly.

You assert this without any rationale or justification.

It's gets very complicated and, in a certain sense, a local township could pass a law declaring illegal parking to be a war crime but the short answer is that if someone is enough of a combatant to be guilty of war crimes then that person is also entitled to POW status until a fair trial to determines that they are guilty of war crimes. Specifically, the Geneva Conventions do not allow a country to capture people and torture them into confessing to war crimes - which is what the Bush administration was doing.

Re:"State-Supported" Hackers (2, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883805)

From the the summary:

This means that we consider state-supported 'hackers' to be subject to the Geneva Conventions and Customary International Law,...

I really don't know what any of this means. First, what's with the "state-supported" bit? Why would that matter? Second, what does it mean to be subject to the Geneva Conventions - that we can't torture them if we catch them?

It means a foreign government is attacking the United States, either directly or by outsourcing the task to private contractors. This decision says that just because they're doing the attack over the Internet instead of physically doesn't mean we should treat it any differently.

On the other hand, if it's just some Chinese script kiddie in his basement, acting alone (without the support of the Chinese government), we're not going to retaliate by bombing Beijing, because that would be stupid.

Re:"State-Supported" Hackers (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884171)

I really don't know what any of this means. ... what does it mean to be subject to the Geneva Conventions - that we can't torture them if we catch them?

The traditional responses to spys [wikipedia.org] and saboteurs [wikipedia.org] varied, summary execution was very popular, especial after prolonged torture to extract information. This wasn't the pseudo-torture we're seeing in modern times, but real stuff [wikipedia.org] like thumb-screws, racking, eye-googing ect. The Geneva Convention applies to uniformed combatants engaged in declaired hostilities between states.

Re:"State-Supported" Hackers (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884305)

The Geneva Convention also gives a much lower standard of protection, if any at all, to those combatants who DON'T go around in uniforms, work for a nation or non-nation organization that can negotiate a cease-fire surrender which the combatant will honor, adhere to the principles of the Geneva Convention themselves, etc. Spies and saboteurs are still largely fair game.

This is at least partly to encourage everybody to play by the same rules.

With apologies to Martin Niemoller... (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883587)

the US won't rule out conventional (read: kinetic) responses to cyber-attacks.

So, with geolocation services, we could finally make all the jokes about ICBM addresses [catb.org] come true?

Incidentally, it also means we consider non-state cyber-attackers to be illegal enemy combatants, which means we can do all kinds of nasty stuff to them."

First they tortured the terrorists,
And I felt kinda iffy about that,
Even though it worked on TV.

They they tortured Iraqi civilians,
And I felt pretty embarassed,
Even though I was safe at home in America.

Then they tortured people they thought were suspicious,
And I started to get scared,
Even though I didn't hang out with anybody like that.

Then they started torturing the spammers, the botnet herders, and the malware authors,
And I'm sorry, Professor Niemoller,
But that makes up for everything!

Re:With apologies to Martin Niemoller... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884065)

And then they tortured you, because spam originated from your subnet.

Have a good day.

more reasons.. (1)

anonymousNR (1254032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883659)

to bomb more countries.

Re:more reasons.. (1)

david.emery (127135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883667)

OK by me...

Re:more reasons.. (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883817)

You must be a weapons contractor.

Re:more reasons.. (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884273)

You're buying the bombs? Jesus H. Fucking Christ, you must be rich!

Hey! (2, Informative)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883695)

Isn't "illegal enemy combatant" a new term invented by Bush administration to describe people they sent to Guantanamo prison in violation of Geneva Convention and pretty much all other laws or treaties relevant to those people?

Re:Hey! (2, Insightful)

bkpark (1253468) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883791)

Isn't "illegal enemy combatant" a new term invented by Bush administration to describe people they sent to Guantanamo prison in violation of Geneva Convention and pretty much all other laws or treaties relevant to those people?

Bush administration may have invented the term, but you can't really blame them. After all, you have to call them something. They are not uniformed soldiers. They don't even have any affiliation with any sovereign nations as far as their actions go, and if the allegations about what any of these detainees did or planned to do turned out to be true, they sure weren't "innocent civilians".

So, Bush administration can call them either "illegal enemy combatant", or "terrorists", or if they really wanted to, even "freedom fighters". It's just words. It doesn't change the essence of what (a good majority of) these people are.

Re:Hey! (0, Troll)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883949)

They don't even have any affiliation with any sovereign nations as far as their actions go

So as long as instead of declaration of war the aggressor declares that it no longer recognized a nation, it's OK to shove everyone who resists into a death camp? What about attacking states without universally recognized government or disputed territories, like, say, Taiwan or Somalia? How about South Ossetia? (Oh wait, US client state tried that -- by firing rockets at civilians' houses covering the whole capital city).

So, Bush administration can call them either "illegal enemy combatant", or "terrorists", or if they really wanted to, even "freedom fighters". It's just words. It doesn't change the essence of what (a good majority of) these people are.

Members of a military that has been or is being defeated?
Armed resistance fighters?
Violent criminals?

All those categories are protected under those treaties.

Re:Hey! (1)

GuloGulo2 (972355) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884245)

"So as long as instead of declaration of war the aggressor declares that it no longer recognized a nation, it's OK to shove everyone who resists into a death camp? "

Um, no. And nobody said anything about that but you.

Take you meds guy, seriously.

Re:Hey! (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884069)

Bush administration may have invented the term, but you can't really blame them.

Are you nuts? That's what blame is. You find who started the craze, and you point a finger at them so that everybody knows.

Re:Hey! (2, Insightful)

bkpark (1253468) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884307)

To clarify what I mean, Bush administration invented term because they had to.

They had to call these guys something, and they had to do something about these guys. Perhaps some of the things Bush administration did weren't the best they could have done in the hindsight, but then, no one claimed they were perfect.

To set the record straight, no American started "the craze". Some 19 terrorists did. What we did was by no means unprovoked—and, for some time, the world agreed with us.

Re:Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884363)

It's just words. It doesn't change the essence of what (a good majority of) these people are.

But it does change how less-than-informed people perceive them.

Re:Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27883863)

Yes and no. The term has been used to refer to unlawful combatants for a long time [wikipedia.org] , but was brought into the mainstream in 2006 when it was specifically defined in the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [wikipedia.org]

Also, sending those people to Guantanamo Prison was not a violation of the Geneva Convention by any means. The Geneva Convention has very specific rules regarding treatment of those defined as POWs, and since none of those sent to Guantanamo fell into the definitions, they technically were not entitled to the protections afforded by the Geneva Convention.

One thing you ignorant buffoons need to understand is that if someone doesn't play by the rules, they can't claim to be protected by them when shit hits the fan.

Re:Hey! (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883889)

since none of those sent to Guantanamo fell into the definitions

Says who, Bush and Gonzales?

Re:Hey! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27883945)

No, says Article 4 of the Geneva Convention [unhchr.ch]
Since those captured do not fall under the definitions of Article 4, they're not subject to the protections granted by it.

It's pretty simple, if you get off the 'blame Bush' mode for a few minutes and check the facts.

Re:Hey! (4, Interesting)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884059)

1. They are definitely members of "organized resistance movement" -- otherwise how can they be declared to be "combatants" in the first place?

2. When the war is claimed to be waged against "terrorists", it would require some very special kind of logic to claim that "terrorists" (again, by attackers' own definition) fighting it are not a party to the conflict.

3. The intent of Geneva Convention is not to exclude any category if people that may be captured during a war that is not already protected by other laws. It is assumed that whoever is not protected by Convention, would be protected under local laws related to civilian population. Treating Geneva Convention as an invitation for loophole hunt is nothing but word games on part of Bush administration.

Re:Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884193)

1. They are definitely members of "organized resistance movement" -- otherwise how can they be declared to be "combatants" in the first place?

You conveniently ignore the entirety of the statement where "organized resistance movement" is defined in Article 4:

2. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) That of carrying arms openly;
(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

Since they do not fulfill those conditions, they cannot be considered to be 'members of organized resistance'.

2. When the war is claimed to be waged against "terrorists", it would require some very special kind of logic to claim that "terrorists" (again, by attackers' own definition) fighting it are not a party to the conflict.

This is such a naive statement that borders on the ridiculous.

3. The intent of Geneva Convention is not to exclude any category if people that may be captured during a war that is not already protected by other laws.

No, what the Geneva Convention does is define a set of rules regarding the treatment of the wounded, civilians, shipwrecked and prisoners of war. Of course, there are some guidelines in the four treaties that specify who falls under what category.

You cannot be afforded the protections of the treaties if you do not follow the rules in them. That's the trade-off.

In this case, you're dealing with a group of combatants that do not follow the rules of engagement, and have no problems with beheading their prisoners (for example). While we may not do the same to those we capture, it is naive to suggest that they should be given rights that exceed their legal status.

The Bush administration faced a dilemma: what do we do when we catch these guys? They looked at the law, and acted in accordance with the law, and if you feel-good types can't follow simple logic, you might have a comprehension problem.

Re:Hey! (0, Troll)

Lakitu (136170) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884143)

"Bush and Gonzalez" say they do not fall under the definitions of Article 4.

Do you really believe that? The idea that they don't meet any of those definitions is tenuous at best, and a downright lie at worst. It hinges almost entirely on the definition of "regular" in "regular armed forces", or upon the specifics of those who were captured, such as that every single one of them was captured in a way that they were not "respecting the laws and customs of war", or maybe not openly carrying arms.

Do you really believe for a second that these Taliban men captured in Afghanistan were not any kind of organization nor were carrying arms?

The idea that they do not fit the definitions above is almost entirely a repeated assertion, without much factual merit, by the Bush administration.

Re:Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884375)

No, says Article 4 of the Geneva Convention [unhchr.ch]

But then Protocol I (of 1977) [wikipedia.org] says differently.

Here's a couple quotes:

As of 14 January 2007 it had been ratified by 167 countries, with the United States, Israel, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iraq being notable exceptions. ... The main objection of the United States is that the protocol, in some circumstances, extends the protection of "combatant's immunity" from prosecution to fighters who do not wear uniforms or marks distinguishing them from the civilian population, including some fighters for non-state armed groups. This may include individuals considered to be terrorists or unlawful combatants by the U.S.

Re:Hey! (1)

Opyros (1153335) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884379)

Not entirely. It's essentially a synonym for "unlawful combatant", a term for persons engaged in hostile activities without having the legal right to do so; see the Wikipedia article. [wikipedia.org] (Neither term is used in either the Geneva or Hague conventions, though.)

Beware... (4, Funny)

warlock (14079) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883697)

Launching an ICMP attack might get an ICBM response...

Time to update the RFCs.

Re:Beware... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27883887)

Redirect!

What this really means (0, Flamebait)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883747)

HaX0rz, when you p0wn a computer, you cannot have sex with it. Even if it's got a pretty custom case.

Re:What this really means (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884073)

Actually, with a Real Doll case mod [techfo.info] , some misunderestimated types may be able to.

Rules of Engagement would still apply (3, Informative)

NimbleSquirrel (587564) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883767)

Those in charge of US CyberCommand have stated for a long time now they want the ability to a physical attack in response to a cyber attack.

They state that they want the Law of Armed Conflict to apply. This would also mean that the Rules of Engagement would apply as well. Generally, the Rules of Engagement state that they are only allowed to use deadly force if there is an imminent threat of death or injury. That means they won't be dropping bombs on hackers' houses anytime soon. But then the US military does have a record or "shoot first, ask questions later".

What they want is for a cyber attack ot be deemed an act of War. This is hardly going to stop attacks from China (where a large proportion of the attacks currently originate). Needless to say that sending a cruise missile into mainland China to take out a hacker's house would be a very bad move for the US in the current climate.

Re:Rules of Engagement would still apply (2, Funny)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883815)

Needless to say that sending a cruise missile into mainland China to take out a hacker's house would be a very bad move for the US in the current climate.

Well, unless you thought the Fallout games were a training simulator.

Re:Rules of Engagement would still apply (1)

REggert (823158) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884093)

Needless to say that sending a cruise missile into mainland China to take out a hacker's house would be a very bad move for the US in the current climate.

I'm intrigued. In what climate _would_ doing that be a good move?

Re:Rules of Engagement would still apply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884231)

Generally, the Rules of Engagement state

Weasel words there. You're being very misleading.

You give the impression that there are fixed "Rules of Engagement" specified somewhere that are always applied to everything. Actually, Rules of Engagement are very flexible and tailored to specific theaters, missions and combatants.

You give the impression that these rules always constrain combatants to minimum use of force in response to direct threats. That is not the case. Rules have been crafted to permit extraordinary discretion including such things as "targets of opportunity" where absolutely no immediate threat exists.

I suspect your world view would have every martial act constrained by a codified set of restrictive and precisely defined rules signed by Gandhi himself, and anything that doesn't meet that standard is criminal. Fortunately, you don't run the world.

Win! (1)

Lady Serena (1461615) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883849)

Epic win. I was wondering when they'd grow some fangs for this.

Try other countries for war crimes? (1)

sealfoss (962185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883875)

How in the hell is the United States government going to try ANYBODY for "War Crimes" ??? note- I am a American, and I am an OIF Veteran.

Re:Try other countries for war crimes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884365)

I agree completely. The Geneva Convention has been completely flaunted by the US, both covertly and overtly.

To suggest that the US would enforce the very rules it has so flagrantly ignored is asinine.

thank god for a change... (0, Flamebait)

pig-power (1069288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883877)

The US of A went from being total warmongering fucking idiots
to totally insane warmongering fucking idiots.
Shoo...
The Change is working already!

Re:thank god for a change... (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884001)

How is it insane to begin regarding cyber attacks as equal to any other already-addressed form of attack (such as military, terrorism, and intelligence)? Cyber attacks are damaging and disruptive to a degree that SHOULD be taken seriously.

Let me guess, you will care when the internet faces intermittent shutdowns and your investments are dropping because the companies you've invested in have suffered massive database damages and cannot maintain progress...

If I deleted all your digital photos, or I go to your house and stole/burned all your photographs I could find.... Whats the difference?

Re:thank god for a change... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884187)

Espionage is damaging, too, however it is never treated as an act of war.

It's necessary and inevitable.. (1)

slenver (644088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27883905)

I think we've all seen the Terminator.

whoa! whoa! whoa! whoa! whoa! (0, Flamebait)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884033)

Am I to understand that using a computer can now get you bombed?

From what I understand, these machines only have control of things that can affect money.

why is money more important than human life?

What's to stop our government from suspending habeus corpus just because a hacker isn't wearing a uniform?

declaring them enemy combatants for doing nothing more than typing on a keyboard?

hacking is either about money or principle. Never war. No one hacks to cause bodily damage to others.

Since ALL of our money is in the form of bits, one can simply undo any transaction at any time.

Any computer systems that control things like the electrical grid shouldn't have access internet access at all.

When you think about it, its the unintelligent waging war on the intelligent simply because it's the only thing they know how to do.

If we really wanted to end the cyber-war, we would destroy their computers, not their bodies.

Re:whoa! whoa! whoa! whoa! whoa! (1)

slenver (644088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884281)

From what I understand, these machines only have control of things that can affect money

Whoa, 1983 called etc...

So now (1)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884049)

We make our lives so subservient to the machines we must imprison and kill people to protect them? Does this mean robots are allowed to kill humans? Uh oh.

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

scruffy (29773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884063)

it also means we consider non-state cyber-attackers to be illegal enemy combatants

Categorizing all those in Gitmo "illegal enemy combatants" has really worked out well for us.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884077)

OK, I'm coining the phrase "World Wide Web War" 1-20. (WWWWI, WWWWII,WWWWIII,...) I should make a site and sell the domain for millions.

Methods of torture... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884079)

1. Make them use nothing but dial-up.
2. Have them build a house out of AOL CDs.
3. Make them install Windows Vista on their computers.
4. Limit their TV viewing to streaming video... on a DSL line.

in worst case.... (1)

dezent (952982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884135)

Geeks will either get their house bombed, or get deported to AOL

Was written about almost 10 years ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884149)

This is not news. Most of the original work on this was done by Walter Gary Sharp.

http://www.mcgeorge.edu/documents/publications/jnslp/sharp.pdf

http://www.amazon.com/Cyberspace-Use-Force-Walter-Sharp/dp/0967032601

Reasonable response! (3, Insightful)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884167)

I think it's a perfectly good answer. You don't want to tell China that a physical response is off the table, otherwise they'll get the idea that they can contine their cyber attacks without any danger of real consequences. So long as the response is in proportion to the offense, then there is no issue.

Remember if we can't consider it an act of war, then a physical response means we just started the war.

What happens if for example, they escalate from simple intrusions and information theft to destructive acts like dropping power grids or destroying systems. If it involves significant loss of life or property? Do we simply ignore it and pretend they haven't just committed an act of war? Do we cyber-hack them back? We'd probably target the building full of PLA that are actively hacking us with something stronger than an internet feed (and yes, we already know who they are and where they are operating out of).

Damn Wozniak and those Homebrewers! (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884261)

Who'd a thought that the Homebrewers would create something that people who like to kill would like to kill for!

World's a crazy place.

Next World War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884355)

In the next world war, which is going to begin in less than 10 years, the first thing that is going to be shutdown is the...yes, time to buy a ham radio.

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