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Military Asserts Right To Respond To Cyberattacks

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the protect-ya-neck dept.

The Military 177

Hugh Pickens writes "AP reports that National Security Agency director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander says the US should counter computer-based attacks swiftly and strongly and act to thwart or disable a threat even when the attacker's identity is unknown. 'Even with the clear understanding that we could experience damage to our infrastructure, we must be prepared to fight through in the worst case scenario,' wrote Alexander in a 32-page Senate questionnaire he answered in preparation for a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to head Cyber Command. Alexander offered a limited but rare description of offensive US cyber activities, saying the US has 'responded to threats, intrusions and even attacks against us in cyberspace,' and has conducted exercises and war games, adding that it is unclear whether or not those actions have deterred criminals, terrorists or nations."

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177 comments

Slippery slope... (4, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852326)

Let them respond to cyber attacks today and tomorrow they'll be asking if they can defend against physical attacks. I don't think we can afford to go down this road.

Re:Slippery slope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31852354)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippery_slope

Re:Slippery slope... (2, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853018)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippery_slope

Some curious 12 year old tests a port-scanner he found from a forum and thought it was cool to be geeky and like the cool hacker kids. USA detects it as a "cyberattack" and bombs the house he and his sisters and parents live at. Justified?
Some curious 12 year old tests a port-scanner he found from a forum and thought it was cool to be geeky and like the cool hacker kids. USA detects it as a "cyberattack" and bombs the house the proxy he used at is and the family that lives there. Justified?
Some curious 12 year old tests a port-scanner he found from a forum and thought it was cool to be geeky and like the cool hacker kids. USA detects it as a "cyberattack" and shutdowns all the internet connections to the country. Justified?
Some curious 12 year old tests a port-scanner he found from a forum and thought it was cool to be geeky and like the cool hacker kids. USA detects it as a "cyberattack" and shutdowns all the domains in the country (ICANN). Justified?

There's so many ways it can go wrong and so little ways it can go right. It's no wonder that US tries to keep ICANN to themselves, even while EU keeps asking to give the control to UN or independent body...

Re:Slippery slope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31853112)

It's certainly an upgrade to the current partyvan...

Re:Slippery slope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31853208)

EU and the UN have both have shown more inclination to start actively censoring the internet. ICANN can stay where it is.

And you really need to read that article you linked if that is this is your starting off point for a slippery slope.

Re:Slippery slope... (1)

MakinBacon (1476701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853250)

I don't see how the first two options would be possible. They'd need to actually know where he lives in order to bomb his house, at which case they'd have already contacted his ISP (you can't actually get somebody's address from their IP; the best you can do is an office building owned by it) and already know the nature of the threat, meaning that the worst thing that could happen to him is getting extradited like McKinnon.

The other two, I will concede, actually sound plausible, but that's one of the risks you take when you rely upon a network whose creation was largely funded by another country's military.

Re:Slippery slope... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853272)

You're right. It's such a waste to be doing all that bombing. That's why I advocate putting a crowbar factory into space. No more bombs!

Alright - serious question. Where did you read that the US was going to bomb any place, based on a cyber attack? "returning fire in cyberspace" just doesn't equate to "Nuke 'em Captain!" It doesn't even equate to "Drop a dozen crowbars on this Arizona village".

Re:Slippery slope... (1)

thesaurus (1220706) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853358)

I love that you quote the link to slippery slope fallacy, proceed to make a slippery slope argument, and get modded +5 insightful.

Re:Slippery slope... (4, Funny)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853408)

You know how moderating is; just one +1 insightful and then your traveling down the slippery slope to more.

Re:Slippery slope... (1, Redundant)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852428)

Let them respond to cyber attacks today and tomorrow they'll be asking if they can defend against physical attacks. I don't think we can afford to go down this road.

So your answer is apathy? Attacks range from network disruption, altering important information, and espionage of business and government information.

Being apathetic of such a serious issue is completely ridiculous and I don't think many people realize the severity of these attacks. This isn't a geocities page getting shut down here.

Furthermore, what do these attacks symbolize? Are they the actions of a country whose face smiles at us and hands shake with us? Are we to maintain the facade of cooperation as they quietly attempt to devalue and destroy us?

Let me come to your house and steal your things. Will you stand there like a coward and worry about what I would do if you tried to stop me?

Yes, its dangerous to protect yourself and your property. But if you don't, you'll get chewed up anyway. GET REAL.

Re:Slippery slope... (2, Funny)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852462)

Yes, its dangerous to protect yourself and your property. But if you don't, you'll get chewed up anyway.

So let me get this right. You are in all seriousness proposing the the Army responds to physical attacks against the country?! Wow, just wow!

Re:Slippery slope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31852526)

Well, it would be quite a change from what happens currently [wikipedia.org] ....

Re:Slippery slope... (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853352)

I really dislike apathy in the face of aggression.

Oh, but one Republican Representitive (Michelle Bachmann) evidently thinks an appropriate response to a cyber-attack is to NUKE somebody. Crank up the Dial-A-Yield, make their cities glow, let's make Leetspeak a language only spoken in Hell.

What the hell, apathy doesn't sound so bad, if it just keeps someone like her from starting Armageddon over some 14 year old script kiddee trying to deface Apple's website. In fact, apathy is starting to sound pretty promising. You want me to feel guilty about apathy, first you get the rabid psychopaths out of office, then I'll consider it. For now, make mine apathy! APATHY FOR THE WIN!!!

Yes, I believe I WILL stand there like a coward. You keep telling people how serious this all could be, to obscure the fact that we have at least one certifiable homicidal maniac in high office, and her handlers want just the line you are parroting put out to help her avoid being turned out for it.

Re:Slippery slope... (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853570)

I disagree with nukes... Response in kind. If the damage is virtual, use virtual. If response in virtual fails, attempt to discern an equivalent physical response and carry it out. Or at least do tactical strikes on the various loci the attackers are trained in.

These are not 14 year old script kiddies... these are organized attacks by governments. Don't downplay what is going on; or likely in your case to talk about something without actually even knowing what is going on.

Re:Slippery slope... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31853298)

Sir! The attacks are coming from 127.0.0.1! Permission to engage?

Re:Slippery slope... (1)

kvillaca (1276120) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853384)

If this computer keep connected into or via normal web, he might be invaded either, what will come back to the beginning, and if this computer it's not connected, how it will discover what is happening or who will activate it? There are more of course... usually when they discover one attack happening, it's too late, should be better have one button to switch off the backbone internet leaving millions without connection for hours and put one team to block those IP's make part of any botnet than expend years, resources and a lot of money in one solution that could be (and will be) old as soon it's released. It's waste of time, resource and money.

Tell me again... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31852328)

Why are essential systems connected to the internet?

Re:Tell me again... (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852438)

Depends on your definition of essential. No, most if not all top secret stuff isn't going to be online no matter what, but for anything less critical, there's a risk/reward factor. If you use "enough" security (firewalls and multiple layers of progressively more restricted systems, good encryption and signing, etc.), the benefits derived from being able to share information quickly and easily can outweigh the risks involved. DARPA helped design the internet for a reason; we needed a communications system with enough redundancy to keep going in the face of damage. Why not use it for cases where rapid communication is an imperative?

Re:Tell me again... (4, Funny)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852482)

Why are essential systems connected to the internet?

Yeah, who let the military on the internet in the first place?!

Re:Tell me again... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852540)

Too bad we don't have enough attacks to coerce an immune response, as we do with viruses and malware.

Re:Tell me again... (2, Interesting)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852894)

To provide a reason to develop harsh cybersecurity laws to fight intellectual property theft and free speech.

Re:Tell me again... (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853048)

There is more than one way to be 'connected' to the internet.

Think of it like this, you have your own secret 3 letter agency, one of your collection systems is sucking up data from a point somewhere within a communications path. It's a completely passive system, no way to detect it, it's running on a bunch of Sun blades, all it does is demodulate the signal, copy the data stream, break out the packets, then filter the result so it looks all pretty and point and click for the PHB's. These PHB's see something they like, and because this collection system is connected to the internal network, the smarter drones are able to copy man_boobs.exe to their windows PC on the other side of the building.

You see where this is all going right? The only slightly mitigating factor is that whatever the code is capable of doing, it probably wont leak back to the outside world because you have that secure 'air gap' thing happening. Or rather, it will, but only as a newspaper report saying Spy agency XXX was infected with Trojan/YYY - The 'terrorist' or 'cyber criminal' simply needs to have their stuff out there, eventually an interesting target will get hooked.

Re:Tell me again... (1)

bitfolder (1039298) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853086)

Well the military is not usual set in to protect military installation but mostly on general threads against the country

Re:Tell me again... (3, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853388)

Uhhhh - huh?

This is probably a good place to make wise cracks about the Army and the Air Force, comparing them to the Marine Corps (part of the Department of the Navy, in case you didn't know) but I really would like to know what you're smoking.

Tell you what. Head on over to your closest Navy base, and try to get in. Take a group of friends, if you like. For best results, pick a nuclear capable base. Post back and tell us that the Corps isn't set to defend their bases physically. For that matter, you could choose someplace with nuclear capability and no marines.

The same year that we evacuated Beruit City, we were invited to visit Crotone, Italy. All unbeknown to us, the local communists staged a riot, protesting our nuclear presence in Italy. The plan seemed to be to storm the ship, take the nukes hostage, and embarrass the United States.

As part of the ship's defense force, I went out on the pier with 6 other guys, armed with M-14 rifles, while the gunner's mates set up M-2 machine guns on the bridge wings. The 5 inch guns were brought to bear on the city. We, the landing party, cleared the pier of rioters, then stood nose to nose with the carabinieri (spelling?) for an hour, while a couple local officials came aboard to talk to our captain.

Fortunately, there was no bloodshed, but we would have detonated that nuke in the harbor to prevent a bunch of rioters from getting it. People with nukes are pretty damned determined to make sure that they cannot possibly ever be used against thier own country.

Oh yeah. Compare that to the long list of "mistakes" that the Air Force has been found guilty of.

Re:Tell me again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31853520)

Posting as AC because I work with this stuff... and it usually has nothing to do with essential systems being connected to the internet. It has more to do with foreign black hats trying to drop an exploit onto a particular user's PC to try to grab whatever information they can. Laptops are huge targets.

"cyberattack" is a vague term, but it's not always about some guy trying to get into a web server somewhere. It's much bigger than that.

Re:Tell me again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31853798)

In a sentence: They aren't.

None of the critical infrastructure of the United States is connected to the internet. None of it. None. Secondary systems are however, and none of them are a threat to our well being if they are compromised. The secondary systems cannot reach the primary systems. This means No nuclear power plant meltdowns, or plane crashes, no ICBMs are getting launched by hackers. Its just can not happen. These systems were designed or upgraded long ago to prevent this.

Why is the government pushing for cyber-security? Why is the army spreading Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt?

Why it is simple! The Army is doing its part to convince the public of a terroristic threat and the politicians are trying to generate acceptance for the next round of Bills designed to gain further control of everyday ordinary American citizens ability to gather and disseminate knowledge across the internet.

This is about controlling what you see, who you talk to and what you can teach others. Its about controlling what you know and what you learn. It is about trying to control how you think.

It is not the first time the government has tried and it will not be the last either. It simply is of no benefit to those in the position to govern to have a populace who is capable of researching and questioning the actions of its leaders.

I don't expect you to believe me, but if you do consider yourself educated or intelligent, I expect you to begin researching for yourself and to draw your own conclusions based on what you find. Discuss it with others.

So what's new? (1, Insightful)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852330)

Military flexes muscle, says they will respond with force, what's new?

Re:So what's new? (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852432)

Nothing at all. They'll trace the source to some building, blow it up, and discover bodies of women and children and men (who will be reported as insurgents or whatever).

Only difference is that the people responsible for the attacks don't even have to be in the same building, city, or continent so it'll just be some family with a compromised computer.

Re:So what's new? (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852516)

If someone is shooting at you from a second story window, do you figure out who owns the house first, or do you shoot back?

Re:So what's new? (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852614)

That question is only valid when the house's location can be spoofed. A better analogy is if the feds get a report that a sniper is shooting out of a window at an officer at a certain address. Would the best response be an air-strike, a SWAT team, or a single patrol car to investigate first before calling in back-up?

Re:So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31852886)

you've obviously not been shot it

air-strike

you tried to take my life, fuck you, i *will* take yours

Re:So what's new? (1)

FelixNZ (1426093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852926)

So, I just told the FBI someone was shooting from your house. That loud noise is not the wind.

Re:So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31852648)

If the Pentagon, the FBI, or the local cops tell you that someone was shooting at them from a 2nd story window, but the info is classified or the squad car cameras coincidentally malfunctioned, then do you trust their lying asses? /rhetorical

Now imagine that Pentagon is going apeshit because somebody might egg their house or prank call them, when all they have to do is get in a bunker. That's what this cyberwar* bullshit is. Noone is going to die in a cyberwar*. At worst, someone might have to, !shock!, call in a CC transaction because the CC machine's no longer working.

Oh yes, we may need to give the President authority to shut down certain domains which relate to "critical infrastructure," as defined by the President of course. But for God's sake, don't disconnect critical systems from the internet! Like drug legalization, that would eliminate our justification for more tyrannical power!

* christ, even the word itself is a lie, and I feel bad just using it.

Re:So what's new? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31852826)

While I don't argue against the fact that the threat of a cyberwar is overestimated, the Internet is an integral part of many important systems now and will be even more in the future. Taking out these systems is the threat of a cyberwar and just because it hasn't happened (publicly and in a large scale) yet doesn't mean countries shouldn't assess the risks and prepare for it.

As was stated above, its stupid that so many key systems are connected to the Internet (i.e. why power stations aren't mandated to have a separate network for critical computers to their word processing/Internet browsing computers is beyond me), but that is the way it is.

Re:So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31853126)

AC from above

I see your point, but if it really is such a threat, then why aren't their talking points discussing rational steps to defend against it? If it's serious enough to curtail free speech and communication, why isn't it serious enough to outlaw windows, which is responsible for most botnets that presumably could be used to do the attacking? The obvious answer is that the Pentagon, and americans in general, don't care about free speech and communication.

Don't misunderstand, I don't support curtailing free speech or outlawing windows (although abolishing patents and copyrights is something we should do). But everything about this cyberwar propaganda points to it being extreme action used against the american people's rights, in response to an insignificant threat. Same as drugs, terrorism, kiddie porn, communism, gun crime, militia groups, etc.

All the while, the rich are making off with the loot and we're getting closer to a military-police-state.

The only alternative explanation is that the Pentagon is just stupid and misguided, and their braindead solution just happens to involve restricting free speech on the internet. Which I don't buy, one because of this repeated pattern in the things I listed above, and two because of the obvious power they have. They can strike within feet of your house from offshore. They have warheads that can kill hundreds of thousands in a single shot. They aren't stupid, although sometimes they play like they are on tv.

Re:So what's new? (1)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853218)

As was stated above, its stupid that so many key systems are connected to the Internet (i.e. why power stations aren't mandated to have a separate network for critical computers to their word processing/Internet browsing computers is beyond me), but that is the way it is.

Because resources aren't infinite. If they had to run their own fiber to all the control systems, it would be vastly more expensive, which means something else important wouldn't get done.

Sure, in a perfect world, they would have a stand-alone network that used encrypted traffic and proven authentication methods. But the world isn't perfect, and companies and government agencies don't have the money to do everything the Right Way. So, they make decisions, and trade-offs, to do the best they can with what they have. Obviously, things haven't gone too bad, (so far), since we haven't encountered regular large-scale power outages or the entire Manhattan skyline being used as Blinkenlights. So they must have made some good decisions in the past.

Re:So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31853604)

Wait wait,

Google can buy up enough fibre to create their own PRIVATE global googlenet yet the US government couldn't do the same?!

Re:So what's new? (1)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853772)

If you run fiber between populated areas, the cost of that fiber can be split among a few million customers. If you run fiber to a remote power station, dam or pipeline - you can't split the cost since there is only one customer.

Re:So what's new? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852796)

Depends on the balance of power. Is he using a slingshot or a stinger missile? Am I sitting behind a 120mm cannon in a tank or am I on patrol with an assult rifle? Is there any cover available where I can assess the situation before calling in an airstrike and leveling the block?

Re:So what's new? (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853174)

I say you have bigger problems than dodging potshots if you bungled up your security so fucking bad that any house is a potential sniping point.

Re:So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31852644)

NSA is the military? Yikes, I'm sure all the pasty-skinned, malnourished nerds that make up the NSA are highly amused by your comment.

Re:So what's new? (1)

khchung (462899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852800)

Military flexes muscle, says they will respond with force, what's new?

Don't you know that when you add "cyber" or "on the Internet" to existing ideas, it automatically becomes novel and non-obvious?

Re:So what's new? (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853132)

Worked for my patent applications...

Re:So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31853012)

Correction: Military swings its dick. People bend over. What else is new?

Re:So what's new? (4, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853014)

Military flexes muscle, says they will respond with force, what's new?

Actually, what he said is that he'd respond to attacks in cyberspace by counterattacking in cyberspace. No suggestion at all that we'd respond to cyber attacks with bombs/missiles/guns....

Re:So what's new? (1)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853052)

I'm not sure how that is meant to be correcting me. Force != Physical force.

Re:So what's new? (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853146)

Maybe he would have preferred you'd said:

Military flexes level 80 hunter muscle, says they will respond with force, what's new?

You know, to make it more cyber.

Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31852342)

Scarey... Privacy vs. Security... I take both!

Re:Umm... (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852560)

From TFA:

In cyberspace, he said, it is difficult to deliver an effective response if the attacker's identity is not known.

But commanders have clear rights to self-defense, he said. He added that while "this right has not been specifically established by legal precedent to apply to attacks in cyberspace, it is reasonable to assume that returning fire in cyberspace, as long as it complied with law of war principles ... would be lawful."

Senators noted, in their questions, that police officers don't have to know the identity of a shooter in order to shoot back. In cyberspace, the U.S. may be able to counter a threat, rebuff an electronic probe or disable a malicious network without knowing who is behind the attack.

So you can "take both", as I don't see any general threat to privacy here.

When we confirm much of it is coming from China... (5, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852366)

... will we realize that we should maybe consider possibly not putting nearly all of our business there?

I realize we need china to support American materialism/consumerism. A cultural revolution could change that, though. I would much rather buy less, but of higher quality, as produced by my fellow citizens -- keeping the dollars in our own country and filling the bank accounts of people who otherwise wouldn't have had a job and would want my dollars anyway.

Something to think about... When you buy American, you reinvest in your fellow citizens. I'm not a champion of nationalism, but we are far from world unity and the last thing our country needs is to keep sending our dollars elsewhere.

When the one-world utopia happens, I'm all for it.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (3, Funny)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852450)

... will we realize that we should maybe consider possibly not putting nearly all of our business there?

Well, yeah, but it's more of a question if it'll hold our attention long enou- ooh, Entertainment Tonight is on!

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852664)

May the gods of humour smile upon you. For you have delivered a most ironically funny post.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

feuerfalke (1034288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852470)

That's how it used to be in America, back when our factories were thriving. Americans had the choice, and they chose cheaper, crappier mass-produced goods from China over higher-quality but more expensive goods produced in our own country.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

OrwellianLurker (1739950) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852506)

That's how it used to be in America, back when our factories were thriving. Americans had the choice, and they chose cheaper, crappier mass-produced goods from China over higher-quality but more expensive goods produced in our own country.

I wouldn't mind this. I would, of course, still buy goods manufactured in countries I consider our allies, such as the UK. Sadly, due to an apathetic and ignorant society, a Congress driven by campaign contributions, and short-sighted corporations, we are now somewhat dependent on China and other unfriendly nations.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31852804)

we are now somewhat dependent on China and other unfriendly nations

What you say? Oh no, China vely flendly! :)

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (2, Insightful)

chewthreetimes (1740020) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852530)

Buying cheap was the only way a lot of people could have all the things they were told they needed by the marketing industry.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852734)

We chose? When?

Twenty years ago WalMart was full of American Made goods. It was even part of their advertising. It was the businessmen in search of the almighty profit dollar that moved the manufacturing overseas who left us NO choice.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852792)

A lot of those clothes labelled "Made in USA" were being produced in Saipan by exploited workers who didn't even get federal minimum wage. Even when "Made in USA" was seen more often, that doesn't mean it was good for the American people.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

feuerfalke (1034288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852940)

And we choose to keep giving WalMart our money, rather than the smaller shops selling more expensive American-made goods. And then those smaller shops go out of business.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31853256)

>It was the businessmen in search of the almighty profit dollar that moved the manufacturing overseas who left us NO choice.

And the bankers who needed new places to stuff dollars after Greenspan opened the spigot in the 90s.

And the corporations who wet their pants over a world with no unions or labor laws or environmental regulations.

And Wall Street who crushed any corporation that was a penny off quarterly expectations.

And the politicians who were bought off by the corporations and kept the tax code such that it encouraged offshore production.

And the economists who could never stop blathering about the benefits of "free" trade.

And the foreign policy wienies who thought toasters and microwaves would bring democracy.

And the venture capitalists who wouldn't even consider a business plan that didn't including moving everything possible offshore within 5 years.

And the smug professional class who dismissed the textile industry as just crap work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed assembly work as just crap work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed light manufacturing as just crap work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed heavy manufacturing as just dirty, polluting work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed customer service and support as just dehumanizing work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed low end programming as just boring, inconsequential work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed stock analysis, paralegal and accounting as intellectual grunt work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed overseas research and development as second rate.

And the smug professional class that went around singing about "education" and "innovation" and "dynamic economy" without ever figuring out what any of that actually meant or required.

And the smug professional class who one day found themselves shopping at Walmart because they had to, even if they hated themselves for it.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853750)

And the smug professional class who dismissed the textile industry as just crap work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed assembly work as just crap work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed light manufacturing as just crap work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed heavy manufacturing as just dirty, polluting work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed customer service and support as just dehumanizing work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed low end programming as just boring, inconsequential work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed stock analysis, paralegal and accounting as intellectual grunt work anyway.

And the smug professional class who dismissed overseas research and development as second rate.

And the smug professional class that went around singing about "education" and "innovation" and "dynamic economy" without ever figuring out what any of that actually meant or required.

Silly! You forgot the smug working class who no longer had the threat of industrial accidents, in exchange for lifting nothing heavier than a box!

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31852908)

"I would much rather buy less, but of higher quality, as produced by my fellow citizens "

You DO realize the above is an unAmerican mindset, don't you ?

Now get back in line and buy everything, whether you need it or not !!!

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852966)

I would much rather buy less, but of higher quality, as produced by my fellow citizens -- keeping the dollars in our own country and filling the bank accounts of people who otherwise wouldn't have had a job and would want my dollars anyway.

Don't worry, you'll be buying less from China, because China feels exactly the same way.
In the long term, China doesn't particularly want to continue being so export heavy.
Their goal is to convert much of that export business into domestic consumption.

But don't think that means Americans will start buying more from the USA.
Production has been and is still moving to South America, mainly Mexico.

Be careful what you wish for.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853594)

Why would I need to 'be careful' what I wish for. What, pray tell, do you fear of the reduction of imported cheap crap from china? Did you not acknowledge the value of keeping the dollars in country?

I have been careful. Materialism and chinese imports in general make me sick and embarrassed of my peers.

You say 'be careful' as if you fear such a change. Are you satisfied with this way of being? If so, I don't have anything else to talk to you about as I've already stated I'm embarrassed by people like that.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853764)

Don't forget about Africa!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7086777.stm [bbc.co.uk]

now there's a place ripe for masses of underpaid, cruelly-exploited workers

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853006)

I realize we need china to support American materialism/consumerism.

  No, we don't.

  The desire of much of the population for ever-cheaper crap to buy at Walmart on their credit cards, and the greed of national corporate distributors keeps that particular piece of bullshit alive. There is no rational reason why we couldn't produce everything we need within our own borders.

SB

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853092)

Minimum wage and worker safety laws alone would make many goods exponentially higher were they produced in the US. You'd also have to stop workers from unionizing, because that would also make prices somewhat higher, so quality of life for workers wouldn't be terribly high either.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853704)

Minimum wage and worker safety laws alone would make many goods exponentially higher were they produced in the US. You'd also have to stop workers from unionizing, because that would also make prices somewhat higher, so quality of life for workers wouldn't be terribly high either.

I'm all for it. I yearn for what you speak of. Those dollars go to my fellow citizens! Those people will have jobs and purpose and will not require tax dollars in social programs now.

We could all use a few less things. Our focus on materials has distracted us from that which has much higher value: human interaction. Try it.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853760)

I'm all for it. I yearn for what you speak of.

You might yearn for it, but you're just one person and statistically negligible. No major American company is going to base their business plan on you and decide to keep everything local.

Those people will have jobs and purpose and will not require tax dollars in social programs now.

Even highly protectionist countries have had strong social spending. Having a manufacturing base at home doesn't magically eradicate poverty. Socialism as a phenomenon arose in the 19th century after Europe became highly industrialized and millions were employed at textile mills and factories. Countries building their own stuff have had problems with poverty comparable or even worse to what the US is currently undergoing.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853606)

It costs more to pay americans to do the job, thus the price must go up. Thus the materials are bought in lower quantity.. consumed less.
Think about the wages, overhead, etc, of producing in country. I'm happy with it and would gladly buy 1/3 the crap for the same cost so long as it was made by my fellow citizens and I could personally drive to the company to say "hey, this is broken" if they wont' honor the warranty.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

vxice (1690200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853144)

actually protectionism in general is a horrible idea. the idea is that if the Chinese can produce shirts cheaper than us they should do that while we perform the tasks we are best at. important point is that 'cheap' refers to what we can't produce while making shirts. Since Americans can produce much more in terms of designing machines that can make shirts for us with little human help ie the Chinese then we should work on that and one person working in china does not mean that is a lost job here that person whose job was outsourced now has a reason to look for other work that is not as easily outsourced. why on earth I would want to buy from a less productive source I have no idea and in fact rewards inefficiency. however the chinese are not operating on an even playing field since they play games with their currency and continue to buy our debt. what we need first is a trade BALANCE with china so that we are sending as much of value to them as they are to us remember a billion dollars worth of crap is still worth a billion dollars. we also need to make trade treaties that encourage the same working environment that we require here in the states so that any advantage is not in cutting corners in workers rights otherwise we might as well make the ghettos here so that the poor of our country can make the items and cut out the shipping costs.

Re:When we confirm much of it is coming from China (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853664)

It would take protectionist policy to enforce this theoretical balance. What say you now?

Aside from that, and I know we disagree here, I would *gladly* pay more for the same product if it were made by my fellow citizens. As I said before, without them earning it that way, they will take it through social programs (for which I am very happy to support). By keeping the dollars within, we inherently produce more jobs for those without college educations (widespread) and those who got educations but chose paths that are not effective, like music and certain focuses of literature. They still need those mid-low level jobs. We're outsourcing so bad that these people, and those of lower education/skill are simply unable to find work --- thus the social programs kick in and we still pay.

The benefit to keeping the dollar, and thus the work, in the US is not only that we get something for the dollars going out -- but they get something to. Work is valuable to people. Work gives you pride, purpose, and above all, human experience. People degrade without work or purpose. On an alternate point, I've always felt there would be much more benefit in a social welfare JOB than a social welfare CHECK. I served in the military, and even though I had been far beyond the capacity of scrubbing toilets ---when it was needed I sometimes scrubbed toilets. And I learned from it, learned to smile, and above all I had work to do.

Work stimulus was a great idea. Much greater than handouts to the people or to banks.

Preemptive strike on Adobe? (2, Insightful)

PNutts (199112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852508)

I'm concerned that Reader and Flash will facilitate making my PC part of that attack on the government. And if Joshua taught me anything it was to instead play a nice game of chess. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086567/ [imdb.com]

We have always been at war with Cyberwar (3, Informative)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852568)

There is an article related to this on TechDirt: Here [techdirt.com] . Basically everything from vandalism to espionage is being lumped under "Cyberwar." With vandalism being much the more prevalent. The issue of "Cyberwar" itself is mostly made for good talking points in the media, after all anything that drives readership drives advertisers and funding. Think you can actually get at a GPS satellites operating system over the internet?

The Cylon war is long over.. (2, Funny)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852610)

...but *why* are you USAers, as a people, worth saving?

Oh, you mean *cyber* attack. Duh.

Re:The Cylon war is long over.. (1)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852676)

With a sig like yours, I think the question applies more to yourself. As they say, when you point your finger at someone, you've got 3 other fingers pointing back at you.

Re:The Cylon war is long over.. (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853002)

A post and a sig walks in a bar. The bartender said to the post, "With a companion like that one and the half-burnt, wagging finger of yours I think you'd better get the fuck out of here."

The moral of this joke is, that both my sig and my orig. post are jokes, albeit not quite good ones.

OK, bad joke. You're not a replicant.

Re:The Cylon war is long over.. (1)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853148)

I failed to put a smiley at the end of my post. I wasn't being confrontational. I actually enjoyed your comment. =) (apply smiley to comment for interpretative purposes)

Re:The Cylon war is long over.. (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853278)

I agree. The Force is strong with meta-whooshing today.

Re:The Cylon war is long over.. (1)

Internalist (928097) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853166)

As they say, when you point your finger at someone, you've got 3 other fingers pointing back at you

Actually, in an archetypal "index pointing" gesture, it looks more like my non-index fingers are pointing (through my palm) somewhere off to my right...maybe around 4:00.

Re:The Cylon war is long over.. (1)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853304)

You have a point. But it really does depend on the way the pointing gesture is most commonly used and also (importantly) what constitutes "you". For, if you were to conclude that your hand indeed was part of the form "you" then the saying would still be valid as three fingers are still pointing directly into the palm of your hand.

Even if it was widely accepted that your extremities were not part of the constitution of "you", there is still a large argument to be made for what constitutes accurate pointing. For, as has been evidenced in the past (see final scenes of Return of the Jedi where Darth Sidious (aka Palpatine) is zapping Luke) the finger does not necessarily need to be pointing in exactly the right area for the desired effect. This can also be evidenced in the popular way a reclusive black witch will point at objects and people.

Re:The Cylon war is long over.. (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853030)

  Like Adama, many of us American citizens ask ourselves the same question more and more lately... I suspect that Moore and Eick put that speech into the script of BSG for exactly that reason.

SB

Re:The Cylon war is long over.. (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853260)

It's not just an American thing. And certainly not just a post-911 thing.

The military fucks around and you bear the guilt, because guilt is "something small people feel when they run out of excuses for their behaviour."

And that's sad, for whatever is happening to America is likely to happen to other parts of the world (where I am), and vice versa.

I've ridiculed [in GP] and mourned [in this post]. Now, in the true spirit of Spinoza's "Non ridere, non lugere, neque detestari, sed intelligere", I'm going to detest, but I'll keep that to myself.

And understanding is futile.

Nixon on asymmetric warfare (4, Funny)

shoppa (464619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852638)

Perhaps the most wise thing Richard Nixon ever said:

President Richard Nixon reflected this outlook when he decided in 1969 to abandon the U.S. offensive germ warfare program. "We'll never use the damn germs, so what good is biological warfare as a deterrent?" Nixon told his speechwriter William Safire. "If somebody uses germs on us, we'll nuke 'em."

Re:Nixon on asymmetric warfare (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852968)

We could eliminate the entire US military if we just had the balls to nuke anybody who said no.

It's genius right, right, guys?

Re:Nixon on asymmetric warfare (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853546)

And who operates/maintains the facilities & platforms required to deliver the nukes? The Boy Scouts?

Re:Nixon on asymmetric warfare (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853790)

Dib! Dib! Dib! Nuke! Nuke! Nuke!

Military means physical, keep em in their boxes (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31852672)

The government should do "something" to ensure cyber intrusions are "dealt with" but why does the military have to have anything to do with that?

Give the job to a new separate federal body, preferably with a lot more transparency and accountability than the military

STOP TH E INSANTIY ! OR, TARGET THIS SCHWEINHUND! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31852714)

Many people have addressed the inordinate amount of surveillance being employed to capture personal user behavior. The information is supposed to determine things like buying habits, so advertisers can better know what you are likely to buy. This manner of custom advertising has been a holy grail since the invention of demographic profiling.

Demography is the study of people grouped by a commonality such as race or income. Researchers attempt to predict such commonalities based on things like where people live and what they watch on TV. If you live in the Hamptons, for example, you're likely to have certain common characteristics like the sort of car you drive. The same holds true for rural Tennessee. Advertisers use demographic information to save money, targeting ads to the areas that are most likely to be interested in their product.

Such thinking led to the psychographic revolution. Psychographics get more into people's heads than simply where they live--though demography is (and should be) a big element of this. Psychographics determine what you might be interested in, based on your interests. How novel. In the direct marketing business, this has culminated in database marketing. Advertisers take common subscribers of various publications (e.g., Guns and Ammo, Field and Stream, and Conde Nast Traveller) to determine the type of person would subscribe to such an unlikely combination of magazines.

There's more to it than this, but really not that much more.

The marketing community has, all the while, imagined an even more individualist approach that could be developed using interactive TV. Various supposedly secret reports suggest that if you can follow the clicking behavior of an individual cable watcher, you can know his or her buying habits, desires, and weaknesses within minutes. Then comes the highly targeted advertising.This has evolved into things like Google AdSense--with often hilarious results. Those misfires aside, the more you know about someone, the more likely you are to sell them something. Only in America.

The logical conclusion to all of this is scandal. This much probing and prying into people's lives always results in the discovery of something embarrassing--or worse. Privacy is at stake here, and the oblivious tech companies don't seem to understand why that is an issue.

At some point, you've got to ask yourself where market research ends and prying begins. Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, is part of the pattern of thinking that began at Sun Microsystems, when then-CEO Scott McNeally said, "privacy is dead. Get over it." Schmidt didn't find it amusing when his personal information was published on CNet as an exercise in how much information about the executive could be extracted via Google searches.

I wonder how McNeally would feel about having some whack job posting his phone numbers on a Website blaming him for all of Sun's woes. Whenever McNealy changed a number, it would be updated. Hey Scott, privacy is dead, right? You get the point. There's something odd about the country's richest citizens eschewing privacy protections. How dumb are these guys?

But this is advertising's holy grail--finding out everything possible about a potential customer. It really has to stop. I don't like being inundated by endless advertisements, and I don't want ads targeted at me any more than I want to eat the same dinner every night. I like hearing about new products and services I might be interested in.

Fact is, the concept of targeted advertising stemmed direct marketing, when sending information out cost actual money, so you wanted to target your advertising to save cash. With Internet-based advertising, the game is different. It doesn't cost a dollar, so the rationale changes.

The whole process is mostly pointless now. The current excuse for prying is rationalized, despite the fact that the reason behind it hardly exists anymore. Marketing folks will claim that they want to pry in order to--of all things--deliver individual customized TV ads to the viewer. This means that you get TV ads fitted into your video stream. Cripes.

This I seriously do not need. It's time to take a break and rethink all of the advertising models out there. It's time to find something less intrusive.

Jetzt, Papieren bitte!

Re:STOP TH E INSANTIY ! OR, TARGET THIS SCHWEINHUN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31853240)

tl:dr

Hm... (2, Funny)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852746)

This kind of attack can happen really fast, too fast for a human to respond to. Perhaps a machine would respond. While we're at it, why limit ourselves to fighting them in cyberspace? Let's take out their physical infrastructure. We don't want to put human soldiers in the way so let's use robots and drones. We'll need to control it all with good sight lines. Let's control them from the sky with a network.

Why is anything sensitive connected to the web? (2, Insightful)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 4 years ago | (#31852838)

The U.S. Military has extremely expensive equipment. How hard would it be to isolate their infrastructure on something not available on the World Wide Web? They Have SATELLITE NETWORKS! Put the public stuff on the world wide web, and keep the MILITARY INTRANET cord free from the web!

Re:Why is anything sensitive connected to the web? (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853276)

Since when does "networked"=="internet" and != "any other type of network"?

The phone system is a network. Consider how much vital infrastructure is connected to that.

even if their identity is unknown? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31852922)

More opportunities for collateral casualties!!. :(
Well, the Military intelligence can't be trusted.

Brilliant strategy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31853074)

"Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander says the US should counter computer-based attacks swiftly and strongly and act to thwart or disable a threat even when the attacker's identity is unknown."

How long do you think we'll need to wait before they nuke themselves?

What will be left after a global cyber war? (1)

_greg (130136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853136)

It's difficult to attack well-designed and maintained computer systems and it's impossible to secure poorly designed systems connected to the Internet.

When the insecure junk we call our county's critical information infrastructure gets seriously attacked, the attack comes from botnets operating in every country including our own. To "fight back" we must destroy every insecure computer on the internet!

What will be left standing? Oh, most OpenBSD systems. Quite a number of well administered Unix and GNU/Linux systems. But will we still have electricity to run them? How much of the infrastructure of the Internet itself will still be left after the war has taken out insecure routers, switches and the DNS system?

My critical resources run on OpenBSD servers behind ghost firewalls. My less critical resources are run under GNU/Linux with liberal use of virtualization and sandboxing. There are a few ways I can still be attacked but then, I'm only securing one geek's home office!

There's nothing to be gained from fighting a cyber war. There's no sane alternative but to secure our infrastructure properly right away.

So its hacker prizes for all? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853138)

If the US responds to your pathetic probes with a letter to your isp?
What if they waste your wintel box, liquidate your Linux or molest your Mac?
Was it like a digital drone or did they send a digital version of main battle tank after you?
Imagine the credibility jump when you log and survive a US counter attack.
The joy of telling digital freedom fighters around the world of how to absorb, stop and roll back US cyber Blitzkrieg.
The rush as the first time you push past the Wintel 'honeypots' of the support services and into the more real proprietary or open source side.
Where does the US go after that?
How many skilled 'hackers' can US "diplomatic" teams around the world actively and permanently disconnect?

Do be careful when our military does this (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853154)

Trace the IPs as the source of the attacks, get a warrant for the systems doing the attacks and if they are part of a Botnet zombie virus trace the IP logs back until you find the source it originated from that are controlling the Botnets.

You basically want to set up a Honeypot in a DMZ of the systems being targeted and take every other critical system offline and have the Honeypot act as it with dummy data on it. Then when the terrorists or crooks use the dummy data to register some where have the bank report it and get the IP address and email of the person using the dummy data and get a warrant for their arrest.

If you counter-attack it might be someone's infected system used as part of a BotNet and then if it is a system in a foreign nation our military does a DoS or attack to they might declare war on us.

So it is better we track down these attacks and learn the true source and not the Botnet of infected zombie PCs who don't even know they are infected but are remote controlled by terrorists.

This is basically an Internet 911 attack that keeps happening over and over again until we learn how to stop them.

If you are on Facebook or MySpace do not post personal information about yourself and never post that you are going to work or vacation as robbers will then know when you aren't home so they can break in and steal your Flatscreen TV set, checkbook, credit cards, computer, iPod, iPhone, whatever.

They also pay for advertising that has pop-ups with fake error messages like "Unhandled Expection Error 0x00000000" or "Your computer is infected with 327 viruses click here to remove them" that install a remote access and keylogger trojan horse virus that can tell when you post anywhere even in email that you are going on vacation or to work, and yes they will get your home address if you type it in somewhere.

I've had family members and friends be targeted this way. I don't know if it is just individuals doing this, or an unorganized gansta group, or a more tech savvy MAFIA, or even if it is a terrorist network trying to do this to steal the wealth from the USA on person at a time.

Also if you get an email claiming to be from the FBI to deliver money or cars or even anything to you, do not reply and delete it or move it to your junk folder. The FBI does not deliver money and most of these con artists and scammers try to tell you that you won some foreign lottery or a BMW and the FBI will deliver it to you by giving out your personal information, bank account number, credit cards, SSN, etc. Don't fall for it as it is a modified Nigerian 419 scam. I am 100% certain that the FBI does not deliver lottery money and prizes, who here agrees with me?

Anonymous Coward. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31853354)

Well DUH!

what is needed (2, Funny)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 4 years ago | (#31853656)

Clearly what is needed is a coordinated network of computers and physical warfare technologies that can detect these threats and determine the proper course of action. I suggest we name this network Skynet.
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