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US Cybersecurity Plan Includes Offense

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the take-aim-at-their-internets,-soldier dept.

Security 101

z4ns4stu writes "Shane Harris of the National Journal describes how the US government plans to use, and has successfully used, cyber-warfare to disrupt the communications of insurgents in Iraq. 'In a 2008 article in Armed Forces Journal, Col. Charles Williamson III, a legal adviser for the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency, proposed building a military "botnet," an army of centrally controlled computers to launch coordinated attacks on other machines. Williamson echoed a widely held concern among military officials that other nations are building up their cyber-forces more quickly. "America has no credible deterrent, and our adversaries prove it every day by attacking everywhere," he wrote. ... Responding to critics who say that by building up its own offensive power, the United States risks starting a new arms race, Williamson said, "We are in one, and we are losing."'"

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101 comments

what about anonymous? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30097666)

Who needs a botnet when you have a labotomized group of internet hooligans who only need a target worth harassing?

Re:what about anonymous? (2, Interesting)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097728)

Because you can't budget for internet hooligans. You need to put them on specific payroll if you are to create your own personal fiefdom. Never forget, there is no incentive to save when your organization has no real limits on its "funding". When all you have to do is declare that people will pay you more, and they either do, or you declare that your going to take a loan out on their behalf, there may be an overall percieved need to "keep costs down" but, never "in our department".... no... because from the point of view of its own chartered purpose, a department must expand because there is always more within its mandate to do.

So a general need to cut costs may be realized, but, never acted upon because, every actor believes he needs more money to do his job.

And yet... they keep creating them.

-Steve

Re:what about anonymous? (3, Insightful)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097830)

Because you can't budget for internet hooligans.

In the 90s the military establishment began to realize and fear that the methods we had in place were dedicated to force on force conflicts but that terrorists - especially postulated nuclear ones - had no solution. Within a decade, that proved prophetic (although thankfully, not the nuke part).

From TFS:

Williamson echoed a widely held concern among military officials that other nations are building up their cyber-forces more quickly.

Looks like déjà vu all over again.

No one is ever ready for the upcoming threat - they're too busy safeguarding against the last surprise.

Re:what about anonymous? (1, Interesting)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098110)

In the 90s the military establishment began to realize and fear that the methods we had in place were dedicated to force on force conflicts but that terrorists - especially postulated nuclear ones - had no solution.

Ironically we did. But there are too many organizations and the one dealing with military threats clearly wasn't aware of the others. The best way to deal with terrorists is secret service. They only need tweaking and infiltrating. Pay a few officials, assassinate a few others, done. The idea that any army can stop terrorists is ridiculous.

Oh and failing SS you can attempt to change the region to be something that doesn't hate you. BTW, the secret is NOT bombing them. Ask the british, french or the romans, most of the countries they conquered don't hate them... and the US was just liberating countries. Something to do with trade, peace, talks, cultural exchange, improving the country and oh... not killing them in droves followed by massively dropping the standard of living.

Re:what about anonymous? (4, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099002)

Ask the british, french or the romans, most of the countries they conquered don't hate them... and the US was just liberating countries. Something to do with trade, peace, talks, cultural exchange, improving the country and oh... not killing them in droves followed by massively dropping the standard of living.

The British , French, and Romans killed lots of natives building their empires, they had no compunctions about doing it, and they certainly didn't feel bad about it after. So did the Spanish, for that matter. They also imposed their own laws on other cultures, and taxed their new "subjects", drawing more wealth out of the colonies than they put in, thereby driving down the local economy. The primary reason for being a colonial power has always been to exploit someone else's wealth.

The US has built (or rebuilt) a lot of infrastructure in the wake of its various invasions. The standard of living in these places would be a lot higher if said infrastructure wasn't still being blown up, this time by people other than the US.

Not justifying invasions or civilian deaths, just saying I don't agree with your comparison.

Re:what about anonymous? (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100080)

Agreed. The places the US out and out invades usually get rebuilt pretty well, from Germany and Japan through 1990s and 2000s Iraq and 200s Afghanistan.

The ones that don't actually get invaded though... those are the ones that really generate the anti-US sentiment. From all the destabilizing and dictator installing that was done in South America to the fooling around in Afghanistan and Iran and Iraq in the 80s.

Re:what about anonymous? (2, Interesting)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101776)

The US seems to be a complete dichotomy with regards to its Empire. Inside the US, the citizens struggle to maintain democracy and the laws of their constitution against those who want to restrict and change them. They support the rule of law (although of course differ on what that means), and are very concerned with the rights of their individual citizens. Its a fascinating process to watch (I am Canadian).

Outside the US, anything goes and the Munroe Doctrine supports that. While usually US foreign policy is explained away as a desire to spread the virtues of Democracy (and the American Way(tm)) to other nations, the reality is that the US has usually acted to support US companies in other countries, and well, if democracy breaks out, so much the better. So the US has supported a horde of South American dictators who abused their people, supported those who later turned out to be terrorists, and generally run roughshod over the rights of other nations and peoples in a cavalier manner that belies the principles they supposedly hold dear.
Right now the US is an Empire, like it or not. Rather than compare it to the British or other Colonial empires though, I think the empire of ancient Athens is a closer match. Athens had the first democracy for its citizens, but relied in many ways on slave labour (nowadays thats third world workers, illegal immigrants) to maintain its strong standard of living, and it controlled city-states all over the Mediterranean (nowadays the largest buildup of foreign military bases ever built by any nation in history) that it could use to suppress rival powers. By and large the actions of the US are directed at securing economic stability and control over resources. If that means they need to invade somewhere to achieve those goals, historically that's what tends to happen. Of course the US has also abrogated to itself the role of the World's Policeman.

Now, don't mistake me, I understand this process I think, and I don't entirely disapprove. I just wish sometimes that you could call a spade a spade and avoid the obfuscation. "We are invading Iraq because we need to secure control over the oil in that area", "We are not stopping the genocide in Rwanda because there are no resources there, and well, the people are black", "We are invading the Dominican Republic because the interests of US Sugar are threatened", etc.

Some of the many conflicts the US has gotten involved in were entirely justified in my opinion of course, Afghanistan where Canada is heavily involved for instance. I think rooting out the Taliban and breaking their control over the people there can only be a good thing for the people of Afghanistan and the world in general.

Not that anyone will read this, or care :P

Re:what about anonymous? (2, Insightful)

mister_dave (1613441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101222)

You seem to assume that all empires other than the USA were patterned after the Belgian Congo.

Didn't the British Empire leave an infrastructure of railways, telegraphs, hospitals and universities? Is the export of trial by jury, common law, and parliamentary democracy a legacy to be reviled? Are people forced to play soccer, rugby, and cricket?

Re:what about anonymous? (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103780)

Sure people died but in almost every single case the standard of living shot up massively and economically was good for both sides.
Romans killed a certain chunk of a country, mainly military since collateral damage is rarer with a spear. At worst they'd decimate a group (That means 1/10th btw) to show they mean business.

After that they would make the leaders sign fealty or w/e. They'd leave a few troops there. And set about bettering the country. They would tax the country some for their own benefit. Then they would build. The barbarians they conquered were given roads, theaters, sometimes written word, law, aqueducts, plumbing, foods. They would also filter in goods from other countries they took that these people had never even seen. Silks, metals, exotic animals, fruits, carpets, statues. They also had a cultural exchange.

Within a handful of years the country they decimated was much much MUCH better off. The two countries were bound together almost as kinsmen. At times these nations would even fight together in wars, Rome letting trusted nations build a military.

In many ways it was like the EU cept enforced. I can't imagine any two countries in the EU going to war anytime soon. Same with many of the great historical empires.

The US instead lopped the head off the enemy and then said fend for yourselves (for the most part). This just resulted in strife. If you wanted them to respect you I think firmly making decisions and showing control was in order. Getting mired in conflict and failure ruined it for the US.

Re:what about anonymous? (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30105340)

Sure people died but in almost every single case the standard of living shot up massively and economically was good for both sides. Romans killed a certain chunk of a country, mainly military since collateral damage is rarer with a spear. At worst they'd decimate a group (That means 1/10th btw) to show they mean business.

I would debate the economically good part. There are those who argue that the Roman Empire fell because it ran out of countries to invade and loot, and therefore could no longer afford the massive armies required to keep the hold on the lands they had taken. I can't imagine the outcry if the US "decimated" Iraqis to show we mean business.

After that they would make the leaders sign fealty or w/e. They'd leave a few troops there. And set about bettering the country. They would tax the country some for their own benefit. Then they would build. The barbarians they conquered were given roads, theaters, sometimes written word, law, aqueducts, plumbing, foods.

Which largely parallels what has happened in Afghanistan & Iraq. Elected governments have been set up. The elections are far from being problem-free, but things are on the right track. I think it is reasonable to expect that in the next few years as troops leave Iraq, it will continue to stabilize and grow more independent of our support. We'll probably have a few people on the ground there for the foreseeable future, but at a much, much lower level. Afghanistan is going to take longer. We have built & rebuilt infrastructure. Ultimately, the idea is to leave these countries as good / better than before.

Within a handful of years the country they decimated was much much MUCH better off. The two countries were bound together almost as kinsmen. At times these nations would even fight together in wars, Rome letting trusted nations build a military.

I don't know if the US and Iraq will ever consider each other "family", but if you consider our relations with a number of former enemies (the WW2 Axis powers for example), it's not out of the question.

The US instead lopped the head off the enemy and then said fend for yourselves (for the most part).

We wanted to avoid heavy-handed action that would backfire by polarizing the entire population against us, and the politicians here didn't want the political risks involved in waging big, expensive wars, so they convinced themselves that they could do it quickly and cheaply. In hindsight, a bad idea, at least in Iraq. I think that stepping lightly in Afghanistan was a good idea. Buying off warlords doesn't get you the best allies, but it's a whole lot better than trying to defeat the lot of them, and then convince them that you're their friend. But we didn't follow up sufficiently on our initial success there, and lost many of the advantages we first had.

This just resulted in strife. If you wanted them to respect you I think firmly making decisions and showing control was in order. Getting mired in conflict and failure ruined it for the US.

Well, any invasion is going to result in strife. The question is, what is the minimum strife necessary to achieve your goals.

The invasion plans in Afghanistan were surprisingly good, initially. We knew we would be dealing with a decentralized enemy, and that insurgency would be our key opposition, so we planned for that. But after our initial success, we turned our attention and resources elsewhere before finishing what we set out to do in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, we initially faced a conventional enemy, whose weapons and tactics were familiar to us, and whose hold on power was unstable. So, we planned a war we knew would be effective in defeating that kind of enemy, and again, initially we were very successful. We didn't count on Iraq degenerating into a guerrilla war, and it took some time to come up with a solution that would allow us to plan our withdrawal without triggering a complete collapse behind us.

I think your perception of the Roman empire is a little (please pardon the pun) romanticized. Granted, we shouldn't judge them through today's standards, but the Romans weren't particularly nice to those they conquered. They powered their empire not just by the material loot they stole, but also by the slaves they captured in conquered lands. The roads and other improvements were primarily so they could administer and control their new lands easily.

Within a handful of years the country they decimated was much much MUCH better off.

That's the plan in Iraq and Afghanistan. We'll see how it goes.

Re:what about anonymous? (3, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099304)

> In the 90s the military establishment began to realize and fear that the methods we had in place were dedicated to force on force conflicts but
> that terrorists - especially postulated nuclear ones - had no solution. Within a decade, that proved prophetic (although thankfully, not the nuke
> part).

Actually, I tend to think Lawrence Lessig's essay "Insanely Destructive Devices" addressed the issue quite nicely. Technology that can be used for good can always be turned for evil. As technology expands what a person may easily do, or what a small group of people may do, it MUST ALSO expand the amount of harm a person can do.

Its hard to argue that explosives and guns have not increased the damage of an individual with access to them going psychotic and deciding to kill. I am afraid that this threat is unavoidable. So too the threat of determined individuals with a rational or semi-rational goal of destruction are even more amplified. Terrorism *IS* rational from a soldier at war's viewpoint.

So, in the end, the ONLY viable solution, besides attempting to raise the bar just enough to mitigate as much as possible the "crazy lone wolf" threats, is decreasing the rationality of terrorism. ONLY by stopping such groups from forming in the first place and growing will they be stopped.

This is why I actually believe that things like torture programs get more people killed. The hypocrisy of championing due process, the rule of law, and civil rights and then instituting secret programs of detention, rendition, and torture are not lost on the enemy. They join up BECAUSE they know we are hypocrites, it is why they joined.

Hearts and minds are the only battlefields that matter in the end. The rest is just those victories and defeats playing out.

-Steve

Re:what about anonymous? (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099774)

It's a nice utopia but there's a simple flaw: decreasing the rationality of terrorism is no easier than decreasing the rationality of full-scale war.

That's not to say that you're not right - removing the incentive is key. But it's wise to avoid appeasement as well - and as we didn't have rational policies in place to prevent this outcome, and now face hatred, many, from what I've seen and read, translate reducing motivation into appeasement.

The other problem with the concept is that it's bad enough that the US has been guilty of things - subsequent propaganda enflames things beyond apology or fix.

It's a common myth, for some folks, that we're just all people and that we can all learn to get along. The sad reality is that the world's socio-economic / cultural divides are so incredibly great that that makes many apparently probative solutions wrong. Some cultures simply have batshit crazy values - and both sides of that looking at each other think so.

Then, add in that there will always be another megalomaniac around the corner - history's taught us that. Forget social forces and yadda yadda - the irrational criminal mindset will always exist.

So - the student's example response in Lessig's article sounds great - but it's impractical in the real world.

It requires rationality. Our electorate isn't rational - they don't even vote, much less get non-propaganda education on the issues - so how will our elected officials suddenly be rational? And if we consider mid-East terrorists, driven by a religious oligarchy then they're no better than the oligarchy of our religious right.

Sad.

Some helpful links:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.04/view_pr.html [wired.com] (scroll down for Lessig's essay)

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/joy.html [wired.com] (spawned Lessig's essay)

Re:what about anonymous? (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099946)

You covered a lot of territory, hence, my multiple replies.

This is why I actually believe that things like torture programs get more people killed.

We were supposed to be the good guys, as in Geneva Convention. We were supposed to have learned from past mistakes that some killing - and other abominations - don't stop when the bell rings. It creates an unending situation. World War II is the outcome of World War I and that was the outcome of the Franco-Prussian conflict of Kaiser Wilhelm I's days.

Resentment doesn't die. Torture creates resentment. The North Koreans actually seem to believe that American soldiers ate their babies. Many Chinese were apparently taught that Tibetans were cannibals and that the Tibetan takeover was a good thing, a liberation. Hopefully, in time, that propaganda can be overcome. But a single, innocent Uncle Achmed showing his wounds and telling his stories firsthand will never be forgiven or forgotten.

And all of that is the aside to torture being immoral - it's a path taken because of its occasional effectiveness (an unpleasant, but highly true, fact).

They join up BECAUSE they know we are hypocrites, it is why they joined.

That's a gross oversimplification of who started what. Many join up because of indoctrination and nationalism, and throughout time, the causes for that are never single-point (one-dimensional).

National socialism.

Those words sound incredibly good together. You can sell a lot of ideas based on that. And unfortunately, ever since that son of a bitch learned how to pitch that and expound on Mussolini's methods, that's what's being sold.

Worldwide.

It's all Babylon.

Re:what about anonymous? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098030)

That tactic <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_cyberattacks_on_Estonia">worked</a> against Estonia a couple of years ago. People is easy to manipulate, at least in big numbers, and paying a few comunicators could be less expensive than paying thousands of normal users.

Of course, building a botnet is per se an aggressive move, either against your own citizens or to foreing (enemy or not) countries, if it spreads over their computers. And the easiest way to get attacked by your own tools (no need to get to skynet, just smart infiltrating in the c&c channel)

Re:what about anonymous? (1)

Talisman (39902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097798)

Oh, I think you know why not Anonymous.

NOT YOUR PERSONAL ARMY.

plase do this (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100538)

then we shall take it over and aim it all govts for a day
haha

Re:what about anonymous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103438)

inb4 personal army... too late...

Well (1, Insightful)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097686)

Well, why wouldn't it include an offense? If someone is putting videos of nutjobs cutting the heads off of people, we damn well ought to be able to take their servers down.

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

hansraj (458504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097724)

You know what's a better idea? Leave those damn servers alone and let everyone see for themselves what a nutjob your enemies are. Bringing their servers down won't bring the poor sod in the video back to life, but it might make sure that next time you have something tangible to act on (like invading a "rogue" country) other countries will root for you.

Re:Well (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103490)

Generally, I think it would be a bad idea to allow an enemy to freely spread propaganda (unless it works for you)... besides, what's the saying? All's fair in love and war? Their servers are fair game, IMHO.

Re:Well (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30097730)

But it's perfectly fine when American "news" channels show American troops killing Afghanis or Iraqis?

You've got a filthy double standard, paco. It's hypocrisy like yours that has made America and American foreign policy a joke around the world.

Re:Well (3, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099478)

First: American news outlets generally avoid graphic scenes. Other news organizations may report more explicit content, but I think you're confused.

Second: Any rational, independent-thinking person knows there is a considerable difference between filming action between armed combatants on a battlefield, and the producing a video of the execution of an innocent, helpless, non-combatant hostage. Furthermore, in the first situation the video is a by-product of the main action. If anything, knowledge that the battle is documented may inhibit excessive violence. In the second situation, the video is the primary aim of the action, and because the nature of the video is to cause terror, it encourages greater inhumanity in its actors. But then again, you already knew that.

The hypocrisy and filthy double standard here is in those who would equate the actions of nameless, faceless terrorists with those of the US military. While they are far from perfect, all branches of the US military bring court martials against those in their command believed to have committed atrocities. There are those who would argue that little has resulted from them, (and they would mostly be right) but that misses the point: No terrorist organization holds (or attempts to hold) itself to nearly the same standards that the US does. No member of al Quaida has ever faced a disciplinary hearing for bombing a mosque, market or school. No insurgent has ever been indicted by his own organization for intentionally targeting innocent civilians. Far from being despised, they are called heros. But then again, you already knew that.

There are times the US should listen more closely to other voices in the world. Just not to yours. Quite frankly, I wonder why you think the US should give a damn about your opinion, or the opinion of people like you. Not because you think differently, or because we're evil, or we don't listen to our neighbors, but because you obviously care more about your anti-American agenda than you do about dialog. But then again, you already knew that.

Re:Well (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101374)

I understand that yours is a commonly respected opinion. I just don't happen to respect it.

When you send a gang of thugs over to kill someone it doesn't matter to me whether it's called a gang or an army. What matters is that it's going there to kill someone. Or torture them to death. And shooting someone and leaving them to die I count as torturing them to death, even if you don't watch. That you did it by dropping bombs from a safe distance doesn't make it any better....except for you.

If something is immoral for one person to do, then it's immoral for a thousand people to do it. Or a few million.

This, naturally, means that standard morality doesn't work very well in the current world. So it's important to try to figure out what a workable morality would be that would lead to a world that it would be decent to grow up in. I don't claim to have a good answer to that, but some things are clearly NOT part of a good answer. And torturing people to death is one of them. I'm not sure about killing people. There might be circumstances where that would be necessary. But always remember, an immoral action doesn't become moral just because it's being done by a state.

BOTH sides were blatantly immoral in this case. But I think that side that killed more people was probably the less moral.

I'm not sure why, but this strikes me as an issue of morality rather than ethics. I'm not really sure how I differentiate the two, but they are different.

Re:Well (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30106858)

I understand that there are many who share your view as well, and while I do not agree with you, I certainly respect your right to do so, and I enjoy having the chance to have discussion on it.

I'm not sure why, but this strikes me as an issue of morality rather than ethics. I'm not really sure how I differentiate the two, but they are different.

Well, they deal with the same thing; defining right vs. wrong, good vs. evil. Morals tend to be a personal set of standards, ethics tends to be a more commonly held, and/or codified set of standards.

When you send a gang of thugs over to kill someone it doesn't matter to me whether it's called a gang or an army.

The difference isn't just in the name. The difference is in their actions, and the ethical standards they hold themselves to. And yes, there are ethical standards that the US military holds itself to. They avoid killing civilians where possible. They don't execute people for shock value. They try to strike a balance between defeating and/or controlling an enemy, and humane treatment. They prosecute those members who violate their values.

What matters is that it's going there to kill someone.

I don't agree that all killing is equally immoral. There are shades of gray. Who you kill, how you kill, why where and when you kill all matter. The consequences of killing matter.

Or torture them to death. And shooting someone and leaving them to die I count as torturing them to death, even if you don't watch.

I disagree with your use of the word 'torture'. As painful as death by gunshot can be, it's intent in battle is not to extend suffering. It is intended to destroy an opponent; an opponent who is presumably armed and trying to do the same to you. Torture is predicated on one controlling the other; there is no balance of power, or ability to defend oneself anymore. Instead of applying enough force to overcome your enemy, you are applying gratuitous force to an enemy who has already been overcome.

I can understand why you feel that way, but in my mind if we equate warfare with torture, don't we create a dangerous slippery slope that could cut both ways?

On one hand, if we don't differentiate between legitimate military action and truly horrible abuse, won't that lead to greater abuses?

And on the other hand, equating war with torture forces us to question the morality of having a military at all. Do we live in a world where that is a safe or responsible option? If the military is necessary, what are its rules of combat?

If something is immoral for one person to do, then it's immoral for a thousand people to do it. Or a few million.

I wouldn't argue that the number of people killing other people makes it any more moral. Killing is still killing, however, in each case the details of how/who/why/etc do matter.

This, naturally, means that standard morality doesn't work very well in the current world. So it's important to try to figure out what a workable morality would be that would lead to a world that it would be decent to grow up in.

If by "standard" you mean "black-and-white", I'd agree. The Geneva Conventions, Hague Conventions, and Geneva Accords, among others, are international attempts to answer that question, and mostly do a pretty good job. Of course, they don't work particularly well in asymetrical/guerilla warfare, because the little guy tends not to obey them. It bothers me that the US has played fast and loose with those agreements.

I don't claim to have a good answer to that, but some things are clearly NOT part of a good answer. And torturing people to death is one of them. I'm not sure about killing people. There might be circumstances where that would be necessary. But always remember, an immoral action doesn't become moral just because it's being done by a state.

If you had a good answer to all this, you'd probably be the first.

BOTH sides were blatantly immoral in this case. But I think that side that killed more people was probably the less moral.

I'd say that quantity is not the right way to account for morality, or at least not exclusively. That leads to other dangerous slippery slopes. For example, if you could potentially save 10 US Marines' lives by torturing 1 Iraqi to death, would you? According to the numbers, it's a no-brainer. What about torturing and letting him live?

This Is Not Flamebait (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30097846)

I love when commments get modded down simply for expressing an opinion the moderator doesn't like.

Did you guys really expect no offensive strategies? I think nerds on this site need to get real about the real world.

Just give it time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30097700)

In ten or twenty years USA won't be a country worthy of attacking ;-)

Re:Just give it time (3, Insightful)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097858)

In ten or twenty years USA won't be a country worthy of attacking

You must be too young to remember - that was a popular 70s meme, with the US being the new Roman Empire on its way to an accelerated collapse.

Don't count the US out until you can count 10. Maybe the reason for its endurance is that the US is really never just one nation of one people.

;-)

:-P

Re:Just give it time (2, Interesting)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098414)

Don't count the US out until you can count 10. Maybe the reason for its endurance is that the US is really never just one nation of one people.

Discussions of exceptionalism aside, you must find the term "homeland" (as in "Homeland Security") as inappropriate (even funny) as I do.

Re:Just give it time (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098498)

Discussions of exceptionalism aside, you must find the term "homeland" (as in "Homeland Security") as inappropriate (even funny) as I do.

I fucking hate it and it's nothing short of the modern equivalent of Der Fatherland.

I'd find it funny but for the clodhopping jerks in the our country (the US) that somehow _relate_ to it.

I blame the religious right.

Re:Just give it time (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30098708)

It's "das Vaterland".

Just saying.

Re:Just give it time (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098754)

Thanks, but I translated that into fake-German-in-old-WWII-movie-speak, in hopes that any homeland-lovers reading that would wake up. ;)

Re:Just give it time (2, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100190)

It might be a wee bit early to go claiming endurance.

The US has been a superpower for less than 60 years, and has existed for less than 250 years.

The Roman Empire, which you mentioned, and most of history's other great civilizations, were around for rather longer.

Re:Just give it time (2, Insightful)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100384)

Seriously? You really think it's a wee bit early to attack the idea that the US will be of no consequence within two decades?

The Roman Empire, as I mentioned it, was in comparison to our stated decline and decadence in the 70s.

I never said - nor even got in the neighbor of saying - or predicting - how long the US would endure. All I said was that I question less than 20.

If you're gonna snipe, pick words, concepts or sentiments that I actually express as a target.

Re:Just give it time (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101704)

That's not what I said. I said, and I quote, "It might be a wee bit early to go claiming endurance." You said, and again, I quote, "Maybe the reason for its endurance is that the US is really never just one nation of one people."

The US is far too young to have shown much "endurance" and certainly too young to need explanations like because it "is really never just one nation of one people."

If the US makes it, in recognizable form, to the magic thousand years that all the big empires seem to aim for, THEN you can start looking for the something special that the US has and all the others lacked.

Re:Just give it time (2, Insightful)

HiThere (15173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101648)

If you haven't noticed, during that period of time the US *HAS* followed in the steps of the Roman Republic. Not precisely in lock-step, but close. I hope that there's enough play that we escape the horrendous Marius vs. Sulla civil war, but the democracy of the country has declined severely during this period. The presidency has become more imperial. The orders of the president are less subject to question. Etc.

OTOH, now that the US has defeated it's last major enemy (Russia....for some reason China doesn't count. Probably because they defeated us financially without our even noticing it. They own so much US debt they could sink us totally if they ever wanted to take the hit. But they probably won't. I did say there was a lot of play in the model.) the country seems to be collapsing. It's not for lack of military spending, either. We waste more money on the military than most countries spend. (I don't count all military spending as waste. But lots of it is.)

There are differences. E.g., the computer games that are our substitute for the arena, don't actually injure anyone. And they encourage a level of direct participation rather than mere voyeurism. If we go to virtual reality, this level of engagement will increase. But that isn't what killed the Roman Republic. The excesses of the arena happened mainly after the transition to the Empire, though they'd certainly been building up during the later days of the Republic.

What we have is the decay of the power of the common people, and the concentration of power into the hands of a few aristocrats. One of the basic tools of that in the US is the division of political parties into two, and an election system that practically guarantees that the winner will be one of those two. That means that anyone sufficiently wealthy can purchase the loyalty of BOTH candidates before the election. Since there are only two real contenders, it's not even a gamble. And the bribery laws have sufficient loopholes that anyone who is knowledgeable can bid for the vote of an office-holder. It's dangerous for the inexperienced, though. This serves to concentrate power in those who are wealthy enough to buy both sides, and, after them, the politicians and, after them, those with enough money and skills to "convince" the office-holder.

This has long been a problem, but it's become much worse since the 70's. And one of the vehicles of this was a decision by the FCC that networks weren't required to offer equal time to all candidates.

It's possible that the net could reform this, but my bet would be that the laws are instead somehow changed to provide more benefit to those currently in office. And to maintain the expense of campaigning.

It's quite possible that there won't be any dramatic assassination followed by a usurpation as was involved in the shift from the Roman Republic to the Empire, but that didn't really change anything. That merely consolidated changes that either had already happened or were already well in motion. (Note that at first the Imperial mantel was not hereditary, an Augustus initially had to share power with two other co-rulers.)

We've come a long way towards the transition in a shorter period than I had expected. We certainly did it a lot faster than the Romans did. But the signs of the collapse are writ large for those to see who can.

OTOH, the Imperial period of Rome wasn't a bad period for those who stayed out of politics. (Well, and weren't enemies of Rome.) The politics got a lot bloodier, but the lot of the common folk didn't become much worse until quite a bit later.

However, it's worth noting that the Imperial period of Rome was considerably shorter than the Republic was. And it wasn't invaders that destroyed Rome, they merely delivered the final coup, it was internal dissension. Various powerful groups fighting against each other without regard for law or custom striving for ultimate power. If you don't see the roots of that in the here-and-now, you're being willfully blind.

Re:Just give it time (3, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098074)

No country would start a war with the USA. Not now or in twenty years. Just look at the USA's "defense" budget compared to the rest of the world _total_.

They're like "that survivalist guy with a whole basement full of guns, ammo, grenades and a rocket launcher or two". It'll be suicide to go up to his house with a BB gun and shoot at it.

If anyone wants to hurt the USA they'd have to do it more sneakily - so there's no obvious target for their nukes, cruise missiles, bombers etc.

Same goes for this "cyberwarfare" thing. A massive concerted attack from your country against the USA will just get you bombed.

The US media likes to make noise about China/<bogeyman of the day> launching cyberattacks on US servers. The fact is, if the Chinese Gov was really involved, the US Gov will just call the Chinese ambassador in, and say: "Hey stop that now". But really which government is going to do that? If my government wanted to start a war with the USA - cyber or otherwise, a real act of patriotism would be to shoot the idiot leader(s) who came up with that idea.

The attacks are mainly from a bunch of script kiddies or criminals. If the US Gov is really serious about reducing the attacks they should just go follow the money/control channels, and jail the people responsible if they're in the USA (won't surprise me if many are actually from the USA- after all Sanford Wallace is in the USA, and the BlueHippo thing was in the USA ).

Re:Just give it time (2, Insightful)

yanos (633109) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099796)

The fact is, if the Chinese Gov was really involved, the US Gov will just call the Chinese ambassador in, and say: "Hey stop that now".

And then he could reply: "no, and stop bothering us or we'll just start devaluating your currency so much, you're gonna be ruined".

You were speaking about the huge size of the US defence budget, yet it won't help much if most of your equivalently huge debt is owned by a foreign country.

Re:Just give it time (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30099916)

Yeah, it's probably not going to be pretty when China starts calling in its markers and pushes the US. the the breaking point (either a domestic or international one).

Re:Just give it time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30102126)

You don't have a clue what you are talking about. China would only hurt themselves if they tried to start dumping their US treasury holdings, and of course since they peg the yuan to the dollar they would kill their exports. In any case the US is already devaluing the dollar tacitly.

And the US defense budget would have no affect on the strength of the dollar. That is just rubbish.

Please take some time to read up on current events before spouting off your uninformed nonsense.

Re:Just give it time (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30105200)

> yet it won't help much if most of your equivalently huge debt is owned by a foreign country.

Yes, the US Gov owes trillions to other countries BUT that debt is payable in US dollars.

There's a big difference between the US Gov owing somebody lots of US dollars, and you owing somebody lots of US dollars.

You can't legally create US dollars or have your left hand lend your right hand US dollars out of thin air.

The US Gov can. They can create US dolalrs, or lend themselves US dollars.

If the US dollars get devalued, it does not hurt the US Gov as much as it hurts China or other countries that are holding net positive amounts of US dollars, or are owed lots of US dollars. The USA is not like Zimbabwe. Hardly anyone outside of Zimbabwe holds Zimbabwe currency or is owed large amounts of Zimbabwe currency.

Imagine if somebody owes you lots of US dollars, and they are suddenly worth a lot less and can no longer even buy you a loaf of bread. Who does that hurt more? You or the person who owes you?

And the real scenario is that person who owes you money can actually print US dollars too.

So guess who is the one really in deeper shit. It should be obvious that China will want the "show" to go on.

Re:Just give it time (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101328)

No country would start a war with the USA. Not now or in twenty years. Just look at the USA's "defense" budget compared to the rest of the world _total_..

Um, wake up we are at war on several fronts.

We have organized entities trying to kill us. ( perhaps not overly effective to date, but that isnt the point )
We have organized countries trying to crush our economy.

How do YOU define war?

Re:Just give it time (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30101332)

What about what PLA leaders have published in regards to Information Warfare and ("Informationized Warfare")?

A good starting point is Unrestricted Warfare. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unrestricted_Warfare for links to a PDF version.

--
"This is another type of war, new in its intensity, ancient in its origins—war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of by combat; by infiltration, instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It requires in those situations where we must counter it a whole new kind of strategy, a wholly different kind of force, and therefore a new and wholly different kind of military training."
John F. Kennedy
USMA Graduation Speech, 1962

Re:Just give it time (1)

daedlanth (1658569) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102912)

Energy Parity. It stands true now.

All because of this... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30098172)

- In AD 2010...
- War was beginning...
- What happen?
- We get Kenyan...
- Somebody set up us the Dems
- What??
- Main screen turn on...
- It's you!
- A shout out to you gentlemen...
- You all have acted...stupidly.
- But don't jump to conclusions.
- All your base are belong to us.
- You are on the way to socialism!
- What you say??
- You have no chance to survive - make your time.
- Vote out "Libs"
- Impeach "Libs"
- For Great Justice!

The high ground (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097704)

This makes complete sense to me. History is replete with examples of leaders who did not learn to exploit new technology, new fields of battle, and paid the price for it. Expanding your capabilities to use and defend against attacks in information technology is just an extension of the principle of finding a bigger stick.

Wait what? (5, Informative)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097706)

"America has no credible deterrent, and our adversaries prove it every day by attacking everywhere,"

Well that's just it you can't build a razor wire wall and laugh as people cut themselves trying to get through it. It seems to me the first mistake to be made is to treat a digital front as if it was a front in an actual war. All you're doing it guarding secrets most often, or sometimes vital services. Best way to protect them is physical separation from civilian networks. I know my friend who does communication translation for the military works on a network where they mirror a hand full of sites (wiki among them) every week and host them in house simply because having the network connected to the internet at large is just to risky.

Re:Wait what? (2, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097938)

I don't really understand how this is even an issue. I seem to remember reading an article almost a decade ago [sadly I don't remember the source] which explained how the NSA operated their networking and it was EXACTLY what you're saying. The only connection their networks had to the outside world were stations with two terminals, internal network on one and external networks on the other with the agent in the chair being the ONLY connection between the two.

No amount of efficiency gained is worth having truly sensitive data being ANYWHERE on an exposed network.

Re:Wait what? (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098326)

I don't really understand how this is even an issue. I seem to remember reading an article almost a decade ago [sadly I don't remember the source] which explained how the NSA operated their networking and it was EXACTLY what you're saying. The only connection their networks had to the outside world were stations with two terminals, internal network on one and external networks on the other with the agent in the chair being the ONLY connection between the two.

No amount of efficiency gained is worth having truly sensitive data being ANYWHERE on an exposed network.

In one of my formal environments, there were networks like this; all the very sensitive kit is tucked away on aggressively segmented if not air-gapped networks. However, there was a time when we were migrating the firewall infrastructure which would involve complete disruption with the public internet for the non-critical / normal internal network. We had to reschedule twice because the critical business didn't have another way of passing on data to / from their international partners. It's not that they couldn't - we came up with a half dozen options while cooling our feet that Saturday morning while the high-ups discussed things. Some of those methods involved dedicated circuits that they had directly with their partners. But rather, in the normal flow of doing business, they had come to expect availability of the Internet even though it is not classified as critical infrastructure. It's the ubiquity of the network; the network effect in full glory.

I'm sure the majority of sensitive data is safely squirreled away in proper network containers. But that doesn't mean it's not possible to impact the effectiveness of a target organization but disrupting non-sensitive networks.

Re:Wait what? (3, Interesting)

HiThere (15173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101828)

FWIW:
I remember reading, I think it was a decade or two ago, about a Nuclear plant that had in internal network for just that reason. And total separation.

Then they hired a consultant to test or fix something, and that consultant brought in his computer and hooked it up to their network, but he needed some info that was kept on his company's site, so he also hooked it up to the main internet.

Well, the virus wasn't all THAT damaging, THAT time.

Separating the nets is VERY desirable. But if you really want to be safe, you need to also use different communication protocols. Different strings for local URIs, etc. Even a simple change would probably be enough, but even a simple change would be a tremendous hassle to implement.

Say you adopt the httq protocol instead of the http. Now you need to modify all the programs that expect http...because you don't want a rogue http link that sneaks in to be able to be processed. Quite a simple change... You'd want a series of changes at about that level of simplicity, and at all 7 levels of the protocol stack. Each one trivial.

Now try to run your MSWind software.... Whoops! All you can run is software that either doesn't depend on the net, or is specially crafted. This means OSS, and practically FOSS software.

(I suppose there might be simpler solutions, but every one I thought of I soon saw holes in.)

Re:Wait what? (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099018)

It seems to me the first mistake to be made is to treat a digital front as if it was a front in an actual war. All you're doing it guarding secrets most often, or sometimes vital services.

There are two fundamental issues that bug me whenever I see these stories. The first is treating information security like physical security. And the second is whether this really is warfare.

To begin with, there are different rules in play for physical security than information security. Physical security is governed by the rules of physics. There's not much we can do to alter that. We can discover new ways to make use of these rules but we can't fundamentally alter them. Information security is governed by the rules of the systems and protocols we use. And while there are inherent limitations involved in these, one still has the ability to change systems and protocols if needed. With information security, you can change the basic rules by which you operate.

This comes to play in different ways. If you're providing security for a building, there's only so many people that are able to attack it at any given time. Doing so requires the cost of either establishing a physical presence (showing up) or investing in the appropriate infrastructure (spy satalites). Protecting a server involves an almost infinite number of potential attackers who have very low investment (nmap from the comfort of the local cafe / living room). You can't physically deny entry to a building but you can make it very difficult to do so with various barriers, locks, etc. - often with exponential cost for each mechanism. But with physical security, you can make attempting to bypass those barriers costly. So deterrence becomes a very important factor. With information security, it is possible to select a system and protocol that does make it effectively impossible to gain access to a logical location with limited cost. But it is very difficult to induce a cost with a network attack (outside of tar pits and cycles needed to brute-force attacks).

The second concern is referring to these activities as war. "Cyberwarfare" is no more war than business. Like comparing physical security to information security, the comparison to war offers some conceptual convenience; basic mindset and theory. But ultimately we're really talking about espionage with different tools than a battlefield with different weapons. Battlefield fundamentals are rooted in that physical space which information security only partly touches. Espionage has a lot better set of memes to deal with not only those occasional intersections with physical space, but also the nature of data and information system security.

Re:Wait what? (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101920)

Some reports of this kind of action have mentioned electrical systems being disrupted over a wide area. That's direct physical damage. Especially if any hospital systems go down. (Could be over-voltage rather than under-voltage, too, but the reports weren't that detailed.)

Certainly *this year* the physical damage that could be done by this kind of attack is less than it will be in a decade. Or next year. But that doesn't mean that it isn't present, and isn't a growing threat.

Information "theft" via this approach I'd classify as spying rather than war. But that's only one aspect. Sabotage is another. This approach can be used to alter information as well as to copy it. (Read the EULA of either MS or Apple: "Add, copy, modify, or delete".)

N.B.: Banks have probably been thinking about this for a long time. Talk to them about what are recommended safety measures. Don't just talk to one set of specialists.

Re:Wait what? (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102428)

Some reports of this kind of action have mentioned electrical systems being disrupted over a wide area. That's direct physical damage. Especially if any hospital systems go down. (Could be over-voltage rather than under-voltage, too, but the reports weren't that detailed.)

Certainly *this year* the physical damage that could be done by this kind of attack is less than it will be in a decade. Or next year. But that doesn't mean that it isn't present, and isn't a growing threat.

Sure - all this leads to physical damage; be it directly or indirectly. But the underlying systems involved are all well within the realms of information security. And that requires a different mindset than the battlefield.

Espionage and sabotage are closely linked. In fact, sabotage is often treated as a subset of espionage despite the distinctions between the two. The desired outcomes may be different. But the skills, tools, and avenues of attack are often the same. Protecting against one is protecting against the other. The stakes involved only become a factor when one needs to determine what degree of protection is appropriate.

Re:Wait what? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101302)

Well that's just it you can't build a razor wire wall and laugh as people cut themselves trying to get through it.

In war, yes, you can.

Reminiscent of the Cold War (4, Insightful)

meustrus (1588597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097758)

To me, this is reminiscent of our arms race with the Soviet Union. Military officials were convinced that the Soviets were always one step ahead of them the entire time, even though the only time they got to a technology before us was the launch of Sputnik, which wasn't really a military achievement anyway (we were all decades behind spy satellites or something like SDI). If they didn't think the Soviets were building something better than what we had (which would have been supported by their intelligence gathering) they never stopped using that argument to support large standing armies and rapid technological arms buildup.

And when the USSR collapsed, we learned that the entire time they had been at least two steps behind us.

My opinion is that our infrastructure is in such disrepair that if hostile powers had the capability of cyperterrorism, they would have to practice extreme restraint not to use it to put the entire nation in a blackout for a month. If that means they're waiting for a combined-arms assault, then offense is not going to help us when our "military botnet" doesn't have any electricity to run on.

The recent scare about cyberterrorism causing blackouts in Brazil, only to find that those blackouts were more likely due to natural causes in a poorly maintained electrical grid [slashdot.org] , supports my point.

Re:Reminiscent of the Cold War (3, Insightful)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097868)

And when the USSR collapsed, we learned that the entire time they had been at least two steps behind us.

Would you have had it any other way? If we had not maintained our paranoia of the Russians one-upping us, would we have maintained our edge? I'll let history stand as the best outcome of the cold war without trying to second guess what would have happened if we had not taken the position we did. The illusion of a perpetual stalemate is certainly preferable to the alternatives.

Re:Reminiscent of the Cold War (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30103946)

Exactly... and even if China is say one or two steps behind they have more than enough population to afford a conventional war even with the US. Why do you think the US dicks around in Afghanistan, Iraq and crap instead of say Iran (a more credible threat than Iraq ever was and supposedly working on nukes), Pakistan (having their own Al Quada problems now but they have nukes!), and North Korea (their leader is a nutjob)

Re:Reminiscent of the Cold War (2, Informative)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097954)

While it's true that we severely overestimated their number of ICBMs and their production capabilities, there were a number of places where the Soviets were ahead of us:

* fighter aircraft maneuverability
* Lunakhod (decades before the Mars rovers)
* tanks
* Sputnik

And Sputnik was indeed a military coup. If you've seen the boost vehicles blowing up while we tried to match them, I'd ask you to consider the panic that that created. Sputnik proved the Soviet capability to put a package into a low orbit - kind of a major part of ICBMs. The ensuing space race was a thinly veiled response to improve our boost vehicle and command and control capabilities.

Sputnik spawned the NDEA of 1958 -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Education_Act [wikipedia.org]

I agree with the spirit of your post - just the details need polishing.

Re:Reminiscent of the Cold War (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098658)

tanks??? what about the m1 abrams? what comes even close?

Re:Reminiscent of the Cold War (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098846)

Nothing comes close to an Abrams - no question about that.

However, I'd question its predecessors in comparison to Soviet models - I'm no expert, but I think I'd have given them the edge.

Sorry for the poor writing style.

Same can be said for my comment on fighters - depends upon the generation.

Point being that the Soviets were just a bunch of me-too copycats, or almost-rans ... not so much.

tanks, schmanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30100124)

"nothing comes close", etc Uh huh

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4794829.stm [bbc.co.uk]

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/at-14.htm [globalsecurity.org]

Tanks are the new battleships, mostly obsolete when being used against any medium equipped adversary on up. Good for intimidating natives carrying rifles, once they have access to anything better, tanks are just multi million dollar targets

Re:tanks, schmanks (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100252)

Jeez, give it a rest. Mine was a point response to a point question without a need to respond to who's brother can beat up who's brother.

Because a big helicopter fleet and or tank fleet supporting sufficient infantry can take out the missile launching backpackers - oh yeah, well a tactical nuke can take out those guys - oh yeah, well mass drivers moving asteroids and sending them to the right spot can take out the nuke forces - oh yeah, well photon torpedos can take out the orbital mass drivers...

My reply for technology circa pre-1968 - and we didn't do a lot of laser guided weapons then.

And if you'd gone further back, you'd find that the Israelis did not lose that war in 1973 - and the end result was effected with Israeli tanks.

The only thing that you accomplished was to support my original thesis - that the Soviet technology was better than the person to whom I was responding gave them credit for.

Happy now?

whoa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30100902)

No need for the hair trigger there. I was _agreeing_ that this near jingoistic reverence that all things western are superior can be negated with obvious examples of Russian tech. That's all, nothing more. And for that matter, Soyuz is still bringing them up and getting them down. And AKs are still functioning when M-4s jam up.

Re:whoa (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100986)

K, I'm whoa'd. Misread you, sorry.

Re:Reminiscent of the Cold War (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100230)

A hundred Soviet tanks.

The USSR had a LOT of tanks. Far more than NATO had.

Re:Reminiscent of the Cold War (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30100434)

Yes - the large number of Soviet tanks was exactly what drove the development of the Abrams - the idea being that superior stand-off attack was the only answer to larger numbers.

In fact, that happens to be the two popular technological approaches to war - large numbers of less expensive, less capable systems vs. smaller numbers of more expensive, more advanced systems.

So, you're either missing the point that the discussion is about _levels_ of technology - or you're considering the mass-number approach to be a technological _level_ - and it's not, it's a technological approach to offset level superiority.

And before you jump too quickly, here's the short version - my thesis is that the _level_ of Soviet technology was often much higher than what they were credited for.

Re:Reminiscent of the Cold War (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101938)

First, the post I replied to asked what comes close to an M1 Abrams tank. The answer is, 100 Soviet tanks not only come close but blow right by. Regardless of level of technology, it was widely thought by NATO that if a conventional war started, western Europe wasn't going to last long. When the cold war ended, NATO found out they were right. I don't think NATO would be happy with congratulating themselves over their level of technology while watching Soviet tanks roll over Europe.

The pure technological approach to war is a very new one that basically didn't exist until after world war II. Yes, there was some technological development in WWI, including the invention of the tank, but it wasn't the way you won wars. Reliance on high technology is an aberration of the post WWII era. Historically militaries have been very resistant to technological change and technological solutions.

Building and deploying military capability is very much a war making technology. The field of logistics was basically invented in order to support the larger armies that were necessary to be a credible player in war. Napoleon's initial success was in no small part due to his invention of the divisional system, which allowed his army to be bigger than anything else around and to fight effectively. Soviet tanks may not have had as many cool doo dads as an American tank, but the system that produced them in greater numbers is very much a valid technological approach to war making. In fact, at the opening of WWII, logistics, planning and railway technology were considered the decisive factors in winning a war. The US subsequently showed that the important thing was actually manufacturing capability (which can also be considered technological). The Germans and Japanese were mostly ahead in actual plane/gun/tank technology but the Americans could more reliably build weapons, put them on the battle field, and keep them there.

So in summary, I agree with you that Soviet technology was frequently underestimated, certainly by the first poster in this thread, but it also seems that you're dismissing the less flashy (but historically much more important) non-blinkenlight related technology.

Re:Reminiscent of the Cold War (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30102332)

Well, I thought the discussion was in fact limited to the post-WWII period.

However - the confusion between flashy and technology is yours alone.

The Hittites - the iron sword, the Egyptians - the chariot, the Greeks - the Spartan shield and triremes, the Romans - the ballista - and I could go on.

Technology has always advanced war.

And if you think that the invention of the tank wasn't significant to winning wars, then you're blind to the history of the end of WWI and Germany's successful invasions at the onset of WWII.

I appreciate you're correcting my knowledge - on matters that were not addressed and not on-topic.

Your mind reading skills are indeed substantial.

Re:Reminiscent of the Cold War (3, Funny)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097982)

But But But, I want my Kuang Mark 11 to slot into my deck!

Re:Reminiscent of the Cold War (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098194)

It was in the best interests of everyone in the military to say that the Russians had better everything. Take a lesson from scotty, "It can't be done cap'n, but I'll have it running in 3hours."


Also, the military gets paid.

Can't happen (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097760)

I have friends working for the Navy who are taking > 6 months just to order a fscking desktop computer.

I doubt the DoD is capable of pulling this off.

Re:Can't happen (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30097850)

Do they really need a special computer to check filesystems? I thought most computer had this feature built in.

preparing for cyber warfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30097768)

so how does the average citizen "prepare" for this cyber warfare? just get the latest OS patches or sumthin?

Re:preparing for cyber warfare (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098006)

Keeping patched, running anti-malware software and not clicking on stupid things would go a long way.

At some point though we're probably just going to have to start issuing licenses since people seem to be determined to not act responsibly online. Accessing porn and adult materials is fine, but people need to realize that it's their own damned fault if they get a virus. And it's completely inexcusable that people run machines that have viruses on them for prolonged periods of time.

Re:preparing for cyber warfare (2, Interesting)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099792)

You say it's inexcusable that it's their own damned fault that they get viruses. So you propose restricting internet access to give them what they want by taking it away.

This Sounds Like (4, Funny)

boudie2 (1134233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097778)

A job for Bill Gates, smartest man in the world. Only he can catch Osama Bin Laden and keep the world safe for democracy. Isn't this all sounding like the story line to a bad movie?

The crux of cyberwarfare (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30097780)

From TFA

Bush's authorization of "information warfare," a broad term that encompasses computerized attacks, has been previously reported by National Journal and other publications. But the details of specific operations that specially trained digital warriors waged through cyberspace aren't widely known, nor has the turnaround in the Iraq ground war been directly attributed to the cyber campaign. The reason that cyber techniques weren't used earlier may have to do with the military's long-held fear that such warfare can quickly spiral out of control. Indeed, in the months before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, military planners considered a computerized attack to disable the networks that controlled Iraq's banking system, but they backed off when they realized that those networks were global and connected to banks in France.

In traditional warfare, going after your enemy was easy. Your leader tells you where to go, and you go there. One loads up on supplies, munition, and guns. In the face of cyberwarfare, however, things get messy. A lone soldier with a laptop can cross be anywhere in the world causing problems. Hell, he could be sitting in your very country's back yard and you might not even have a clue. Or, in TFA's case, the splash damage ends up screwing up critical, tangentially connected systems.

Sucks to be the military division that has to track, attack, and manage the diplomatic border issues regarding hackers during times of war.

A credible deterrent? (0, Flamebait)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097784)

"America has no credible deterrent, and our adversaries prove it every day by attacking everywhere,"

And who's to blame for that?

The goverment allowed hundreds of thousands of IT jobs to be shipped overseas, we no longer have the labor resources to secure our domestic infrastructure. The government allowed private businesses to copyright and patent everything, there's no further incentive for innovation from the private sector in this country. We wind up spending what limited resources are available for R&D reinventing the wheel constantly. Because we've handed so much control over to multinational authorities like ICANN, we no longer can impliment policy decisions. Where is IPv6? We're facing a resource shortage, but not only that, IPv6 provides for much wider deployment of encryption, and yet here we are dragging our feet. Why is that?

If this were any kind of a priority, I think we'd see the government making an honest and sincere effort to fix some of these problems. But they aren't. Which tells me that cybersecurity "problems" are a paper tiger. There won't be any changes until a few thousand people die from a "cyber-terror" attack. Our government has always been reactive in nature -- preferring to procrastinate and delay until after the bomb explodes, and then swoop in to justify its relevance and 35% tax rates.

Some of the ways theey're taking down email (2, Funny)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097820)

...proposed building a military "botnet," an army of centrally controlled computers to launch coordinated attacks on other machines.

Dear Terrorist:
I am a Jihadist in Nigeria with $10 million and if I put it into a bank, those infidel Americans will freeze it. If you send me $5,000 to open an account in the Cayman Islands, I will put you in for half!

Or the other one:
Dear Terrorist:
Do want a LARGER penis? With a LARGER penis, you'll be more of a man and be able to take out those infidel Americans! Buy V1@gr4 from us! We will make you BIGGER and STRONGER! Allah be praised!

or:

Make BIG MONEY selling AK-47s from home! Make even more with IEDs!

Kill Americans!

Strangelove (3, Funny)

Hemogoblin (982564) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097914)

Mr President, we must not allow a script-kiddie gap!

Re:Strangelove (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098086)

You read my mind.

Just like the "bomber gap" and the "missile gap" which were either paranoia-driven nonsense or a simple (but effective) way to get finding for weapons that no-one needed, or used.

Maybe the best way america could defend itself from the threat of baddies with computers would be to cut themselves off from the rest of the world.

Re:Strangelove (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098282)

Maybe the best way america could defend itself from the threat of baddies with computers would be to cut themselves off from the rest of the world.

Good idea - we should even hide from them.

In mine shafts.

Botnet? (2, Funny)

omni123 (1622083) | more than 4 years ago | (#30097952)

A military botnet? No problem; just throw all the federally owned computers in to another one, I'm sure Conficker doesn't mind sharing...

Perfectly Logical (0, Troll)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098058)

There is only so much you can do on the defensive. The US has been fairly defensive in protecting the IT infrastructure of our society and our government networks. As everyone knows, you can only keep someone out for so long before they finally figure out how to get through. The best way to keep your networks protected is by eliminating the threat. The old adage "a good defense is a great offense" holds true till this day.

That line of thinking may piss off the peacenicks and the neo-marxists, but anyone who has ever had to deal with a chronic problem of coming under attack from foreign entities with no recourse, knows that the available solutions are just as bad as the problem (having back bone providers hobble foreign ISP's access results in reduced commerce). The internet is the modern "ocean" of the colonial period. Pirates like to hide in lawless (or hostile to the target) regions for protection. I dont think these internet pirates should be provided any different protection than the pirates of the Caribbean.

Very ironic. (0, Offtopic)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098100)

This is all very ironic, as I mention here:
http://listcultures.org/pipermail/p2presearch_listcultures.org/2009-November/005991.html [listcultures.org]

So, the US military, once again, in a tremendous burst of irony, is developing ways to create artificial scarcity on the network of abundance. And they are justifying this to have new ways to further harm the people upset about being harmed by the illegal and immoral US invasion of Iraq.
"Illegal, Immoral Invasion of Iraq to Carve up the Middle East"
http://www.mediamonitors.net/abdullahvawda16.html [mediamonitors.net]

So, one illegal and immoral act begets another. One artificial scarcity begets another. One arms race, fueled by war profits, begets another.
    http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/articles/warisaracket.htm [lexrex.com]

How do we resolve this seemingly intractable problem?

Mutual security?
http://www.beyondintractability.org/audio/morton_deutsch/?nid=2430 [beyondintractability.org]

Intrinsic security?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brittle_Power [wikipedia.org]

Humor? :-)
http://www.humorproject.com/doses/default.php?number=1 [humorproject.com]

Jacque Fresco comments on some of this, as far as the problems of way being profitable, as I note here:
http://groups.google.com/group/openmanufacturing/msg/3b7889054e4b4317 [google.com]

So, after the US military gets all these shiny new cyberweapons, who are they going to use them against next? Who will be the next people labeled "insurgents"? Or goaded into it by suffering from other military-enforced artificial scarcities?

Anyway, people ask me why I don't just post to a blog, and prefer to use email, and that's part of it. All web archives and other websites may be taken out once that "arms race" really gets going and military doctrinal TINA rules: "There is no alternative (but to destroy everything)".

Generally, a core theme of what I write is the irony of post-scarcity technology like computers and robots or nuclear power in the hands of people still thinking in terms of scarcity, like fighting over products or oil instead of producing products with robots and producing energy with nuclear power or solar power made using advanced materials. Example:
http://listcultures.org/pipermail/p2presearch_listcultures.org/2009-November/005929.html [listcultures.org]
http://listcultures.org/pipermail/p2presearch_listcultures.org/2009-November/005498.html [listcultures.org]

As I mention in that last one, for an example of post-scarcity thinking, I think our taxes would go *down* if as I proposed here, everyone in the USA who wanted one was given a "free" safer luxury electric car:
"Why luxury safer electric cars should be free-to-the-user"
http://groups.google.com/group/openmanufacturing/msg/09eb7f4c973349f2?hl=en [google.com]
Basically, defense costs, pollution mediation costs, and medical costs would all go down enormously, thus lowering taxes.

More ironically, it turns out, it takes more electricity to make a gallon of gas than for an electric car to go the same distance, according to this:
    http://www.evnut.com/gasoline_oil.htm [evnut.com]
"So I can get 24 miles in my ICE on a gallon of gasoline, or I can get 41 miles (at 300wh/mile) in my RAV4EV just using the energy to refine that gallon. Alternatively - energy use (electricity and natural gas) state wide goes DOWN if a mile in a RAV4EV is substituted for a mile in an ICE!"

When we will start just having a laugh at ironic ideas and stop implementing them?

Too bad we did not listen to the Iroquois and centuries earlier build a civilization based on the idea of abundance:
http://www.marcinequenzer.com/creation.htm#The%20Field%20of%20Plenty [marcinequenzer.com]
"The Field of Plenty is always full of abundance. The gratitude we show as Children of Earth allows the ideas within the Field of Plenty to manifest on the Good Red Road so we may enjoy these fruits in a physical manner. When the cornucopia was brought to the Pilgrims, the Iroquois People sought to assist these Boat People in destroying their fear of scarcity. The Native understanding is that there is always enough for everyone when abundance is shared and when gratitude is given back to the Original Source. The trick was to explain the concept of the Field of Plenty with few mutually understood words or signs. The misunderstanding that sprang from this lack of common language robbed those who came to Turtle Island of a beautiful teaching. Our "land of the free, home of the brave" has fallen into taking much more than is given back in gratitude by its citizens. Turtle Island has provided for the needs of millions who came from lands that were ruled by the greedy. In our present state of abundance, many of our inhabitants have forgotten that Thanksgiving is a daily way of living, not a holiday that comes once a year."

dept. (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098116)

Shouldn't this be in the "no-shit-sherlock" department?

So if foreign bank robbers attack American banks.. (0, Redundant)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098494)

...US military should rob foreign banks, too?

set up trap banks / have a way to take cash back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30099830)

set up trap banks / have a way to take cash back so if they take ours down we can stop them for makeing it big time off of that.

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream? (1)

Linktoreality (1487087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098532)

Isn't this fairly similar to how that short-story got started? The major governments of the world start building up their computers for war, only for each system to eventually link itself to the others and become an emergent A.I.? Granted, the computers in the story were for running real-world warfare, not cyber-attacks, but still...

Re:I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream? (1)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098602)

You're insane - Colossus is listening.

no deterrent??? (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098688)

how about "cease your cyberattacks or we unplug your country from the internet"

USA? Prepare for us to take over your puny botnet! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30098832)

We get paid by every single big criminal out there.
We have decades of experience.
We are the best in the world.
We wish you goood luck! ^^

Greetz,

Your Russian hacker community.

Re:USA? Prepare for us to take over your puny botn (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099520)

All your botz are belong to us.

There are many like it, but this one is MINE (1)

starshinecruzer (192162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30099384)

This has cropped up on slashdot before. Can't find the article, but it was more hand-wringing about the vulnerabilities of the American network infrastructure to enemy attack.

Granted, the nature of the Internet is to provide information access from any point in the world, and because of that it can be so easily exploited, commandeered, or broken. But I believe if the $hit ever hit the fan and the Tubes were threatened, those of us who hack and build and kludge the Code would come to its defense. Hundreds of thousands strong, I would wager a citizen-soldier army of l33t coders could well defend this country from its script-kiddie foreign enemies.

obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30100508)

"proposed building a military "botnet," an army of centrally controlled computers to launch coordinated attacks"

wait no obligatory skynet tag?

Oh... :-\ (2, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30101230)

When I saw "offense" I envisioned a couple crackers in Eastern Europe getting a drone launched Hellfire missile up the rear. Oh well.

Suter??? and other Projects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30102830)

Hmm... Let's think about this.... at the following addresses we have openly discussed articles about Chinese, or potentially Chinese government linked hacking, cracking, etc.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/us/nationalspecial3/09hack.html
http://www.chinaherald.net/2009/08/patriotic-hacking-of-australian.html
http://www.thedarkvisitor.com/category/china-russia-links/
http://www.secureworks.com/research/blog/index.php/2009/01/04/chinese-hackers-talk-hacking/

We also have folks noting significant vulnerabilities in Chinese systems.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8094026.stm

Finally, and probably most importantly the USAF and others discuss US intent to pursue cyberwarfare using elements of airborne ISR.

http://www.aviationweek.com:80/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=awst&id=news/02145p04.xml&headline=Pictures%20Give%20Insights%20Into%20Stealth%20Projects
http://www.nytimes.com/cfr/world/slot1_20080227.html
http://gentleseas.blogspot.com/2007/10/suter-jamming-our-good-guys.html
http://defense-update.com/features/2008/may08/suter_v.htm

I'd observe that although the Col mentioned in the root article indicates that we are in a war (and we probably are). He probably underestimates the work the US has done, or is doing. Probably for good reasons. Although there is a need for rather creative, smart, potentially even otherwise anarchistic folks, there are some common things which can be done without deploying these very "precious" and scarce resources as uniformed troops.

One other aspect of the discussion is the typical conspiracy theorist nutcases (including with less negativity the ACLU, EFF, EPIC, etc.) who feel that just because some entity of the federal government can use something against a US citizen in some constitutionally prohibited way, that they will. (The Big Brother Syndrome)

Old hat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30103428)

They already have both CNA (computer network attack) and CND-AR (computer net defense, attack response). Have for ages.

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