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Military Appoints General To Direct Cyber Warfare

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the barry-corbin-not-available dept.

The Military 132

An anonymous reader writes news from The Guardian, excerpting: "The US military has appointed its first senior general to direct cyber warfare – despite fears that the move marks another stage in the militarisation of cyberspace. The newly promoted four-star general, Keith Alexander, takes charge of the Pentagon's ambitious and controversial new Cyber Command, designed to conduct virtual combat across the world's computer networks. He was appointed on Friday afternoon in a low-key ceremony at Fort Meade, in Maryland."

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132 comments

Qualifications (3, Interesting)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320028)

TFA doesn't seem to have any information on how General Alexander might be qualified for this position, and what his command will involve.

Here's hoping the guy actually knows something about cyber security, and isn't simply the management figure for actual security experts, or he could easily f*ck this up hard.

Re:Qualifications (-1, Offtopic)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320090)

I'm sure William Gibson would be proud.

Re:Qualifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32321834)

Wow, you kiddies should read the classics a bit more. Anyone that hasn't read the sprawl trilogy should promptly hand in their geek card.

Re:Qualifications (5, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320106)

The guy's got a Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] if you want to know more. Short version is, he's director of the NSA and it looks like he's spent most of his career in intelligence. He does have Master's degrees in physics and electronic warfare, and well, from his picture he looks like a slightly older version of the typical Slashdotter. ;) So he's probably about the best choice available in the senior ranks; hopefully he's smart enough to listen to the junior personnel under his command who are more likely to know what's actually going on in the hacking world.

Re:Qualifications (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320204)

You said,

He does have Master's degrees in physics and electronic warfare, and well, from his picture he looks like a slightly older version of the typical Slashdotter. ;)

I sure hope this "Cyber Warfare" General knows something about computers, because consultants, and especially computer consultants are very high priced (around half a million dollars a year over-priced [slashdot.org] ).

Richard Feynman seems to portray the definitive experience such a consultant can have with the military:

After the war, physicists were often asked to go to Washington and give
advice to various sections of the government, especially the military. What
happened, I suppose, is that since the scientists had made these bombs that
were so important, the military felt we were useful for something.
          Once I was asked to serve on a committee which was to evaluate various
weapons for the army, and I wrote a letter back which explained that I was
only a theoretical physicist, and I didn't know anything about weapons for
the army.
          The army responded that they had found in their experience that
theoretical physicists were very useful to them in making decisions, so
would I please reconsider?
          I wrote back again and said I didn't really know anything, and doubted
I could help them.
          Finally I got a letter from the Secretary of the Army, which proposed a
compromise: I would come to the first meeting, where I could listen and see
whether I could make a contribution or not. Then I could decide whether I
should continue.
          I said I would, of course. What else could I do?
          I went down to Washington and the first thing that I went to was a
cocktail party to meet everybody. There were generals and other important
characters from the army, and everybody talked. It was pleasant enough.
          One guy in a uniform came to me and told me that the army was glad that
physicists were advising the military because it had a lot of problems. One
of the problems was that tanks use up their fuel very quickly and thus can't
go very far. So the question was how to refuel them as they're going along.
Now this guy had the idea that, since the physicists can get energy out of
uranium, could I work out a way in which we could use silicon dioxide --
sand, dirt -- as a fuel? If that were possible, then all this tank would
have to do would be to have a little scoop underneath, and as it goes along,
it would pick up the dirt and use it for fuel! He thought that was a great
idea, and that all I had to do was to work out the details. That was the
kind of problem I thought we would be talking about in the meeting the next
day.
          I went to the meeting and noticed that some guy who had introduced me
to all the people at the cocktail party was sitting next to me. He was
apparently some flunky assigned to be at my side at all times. On my other
side was some super general I had heard of before.
          At the first session of the meeting they talked about some technical
matters, and I made a few comments. But later on, near the end of the
meeting, they began to discuss some problem of logistics, about which I knew
nothing. It had to do with figuring out how much stuff you should have at
different places at different times. And although I tried to keep my trap
shut, when you get into a situation like that, where you're sitting around a
table with all these "important people" discussing these "important
problems," you can't keep your mouth shut, even if you know nothing
whatsoever! So I made some comments in that discussion, too.
          During the next coffee break the guy who had been assigned to shepherd
me around said, "I was very impressed by the things you said during the
discussion. They certainly were an important contribution."
          I stopped and thought about my "contribution" to the logistics problem,
and realized that a man like the guy who orders the stuff for Christmas at
Macy's would be better able to figure out how to handle problems like that
than I. So I concluded: a) if I had made an important contribution, it was
sheer luck; b) anybody else could have done as well, but most people could
have done better, and c) this flattery should wake me up to the fact that I
am not capable of contributing much.
          Right after that they decided, in the meeting, that they could do
better discussing the organization of scientific research (such as, should
scientific development be under the Corps of Engineers or the Quartermaster
Division?) than specific technical matters. I knew that if there was to be
any hope of my making a real contribution, it would be only on some specific
technical matter, and surely not on how to organize research in the army.
          Until then I didn't let on any of my feelings about the situation to
the chairman of the meeting -- the big shot who had invited me in the first
place. As we were packing our bags to leave, he said to me, all smiles,
"You'll be joining us, then, for the next meeting..."
          "No, I won't." I could see his face change suddenly. He was very
surprised that I would say no, after making those "contributions."
          In the early sixties, a lot of my friends were still giving advice to
the government. Meanwhile, I was having no feeling of social responsibility
and resisting, as much as possible, offers to go to Washington, which took a
certain amount of courage in those times.

- Ref:Judging Books by Their Covers [gorgorat.com]
ULW

Re:Qualifications (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320254)

I sure hope this "Cyber Warfare" General knows something about computers, because consultants, and especially computer consultants are very high priced.

I don't imagine, even if the good General "knows something about computers" that he's going to be spending time running around and making sure everyone's printer working fine.

I sure how he knows how to organize an outfit.

Re:Qualifications (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32321842)

I don't imagine, even if the good General "knows something about computers" that he's going to be spending time running around and making sure everyone's printer working fine.

I sure how he knows how to organize an outfit.

It's obvious that I'm going to have to explain something. I NEVER said ANYTHING about a general doing front line tech support. That is such an ignorant and Trollish statement that I never bothered to comment on it until you got modded plus 5!

Re:Qualifications (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#32322056)

I am picturing a bomb droppiong towards its target, with "PC LOAD LETTER" chalked on the side of it

Re:Qualifications (0, Offtopic)

Trivial Solutions (1724416) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320722)

Lets see if God has any advice. :-) I like the Bible stories where He says, "You have too many soldiers. Send the cowards home. Okay, still too many. Send all who don't drink water like a dog, home. I want this to be my victory." Crazy-ass God ROFLAO. God says, " much counsels disquieted forcibly backward feareth ." I'm not sayin that's how you should fight wars.

Re:Qualifications (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321502)

Let's see if Santa Claus has any advice. He says "ho ho ho". I like the stories where he gives me presents for being a good boy.

He probably DID say a few very smart things! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320922)

Nice story but Feynman is too modest here (or pretends to be on purpose?). Given how smart that guy was and given that he had a very practical view on things it is very, very likely that most of the things said were valuable contributions.

Not because he knew stuff about logistics but because he was one of the smartest people on earth. You simply want some of those in your meetings.

Re:He probably DID say a few very smart things! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32321126)

Nice story but Feynman is too modest here...

Well, the story isn't about Feynman, it is about under-qualified people who find themselves in leadership positions that they have no 'real' education or experience about.

It is about people who setup lofty goals, and yet have no idea how to implement them or even of the practicalities (like Star Wars missile defense under Reagan, or FEMA, aka Hurricane Katrina [wikipedia.org] under Bush). Any computer geek with a diploma or a degree can tell you that (formal) education and real-world hacking are very different. This (I think) is true of all professions.

The story also emphasizes and contrasts the often large disparity between leadership (the natural leadership that Feynman shows) and the political leadership of cocktail parties and business lunches.

Re:Qualifications (3, Insightful)

tuomoks (246421) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320240)

Yes, he's qualified! Now - typical government (not just military) "US air force disclosed that some 30,000 of its troops had been re-assigned from technical support "to the frontlines of cyber warfare"" and ".. Pentagon has been more explicit, stating on Friday that Cyber Command will "direct the operations and defence of specified Department of Defense information networks [involving some 90,000 military personnel] and .."". Wow - maybe double the manpower, then the baby will be born in half the time!

Anyhow, assuming that General Alexander get's enough authority, doubtful!, network security, etc could / might get better. The question is not just "Cyber Warfare", that's a nice sounding term but doesn't really mean much. Often military research has benefitted everyone - we can only hope that it's same in this case!

Re:Qualifications (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321280)

""US air force disclosed that some 30,000 of its troops had been re-assigned from technical support "to the frontlines of cyber warfare"

Many USAF "computer" weenies are essentially paper-pushers who also do very basic tech support. Career field consolidation and all that.,,

Waving a magic wand (the same thing as referring to every troop as a "warrior", as if doing your fucking job was somehow unworthy!) and changing a job description is mostly a gesture.

No insult intended to the folks who do tech support. They deal with the same silly shit and demanding lusers as do their civilian counterparts.

Re:Qualifications (1)

Fr33thot (1236686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32322134)

1. Much has changed since your last experience including a new career field and tech school. 2. Referring to folks in the military as warriors reflects a major change in how everyone is thought of/used. There is now greater focus on in field readiness. 3. No insult taken, but you should temper your cynicism with some good old up-to-date information every now and then.

Re:Qualifications (3, Interesting)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320290)

Just curious... ...where does one obtain a Masters degree in Electronic Warfare? Can it be obtained with, say, a BS in Computer Science as a foundation?

Re:Qualifications (5, Informative)

cslax (1215816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320364)

GWU [gwu.edu]

Re:Qualifications (5, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320504)

...where does one obtain a Masters degree in Electronic Warfare?

You get one when you beat the high score on Global Thermonuclear War. Would you like to play a nice game of chess?

Re:Qualifications (1)

Killall -9 Bash (622952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32322490)

I'd rather play a few hundred thousand games of tic-tac-toe.

Re:Qualifications (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320668)

Just curious... ...where does one obtain a Masters degree in Electronic Warfare?

He obtained his from the Naval Postgraduate School [nps.edu]

Re:Qualifications (2, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320738)

Just curious... ...where does one obtain a Masters degree in Electronic Warfare?

I think if you convince the army you have a masters in electronic warfare, that's a masters in electronic warfare.

Re:Qualifications (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32322492)

I do not think that Electronic Warfare [wikipedia.org] means what you think it means:

Electronic warfare (EW) refers to any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack an enemy, or impede enemy assaults via the spectrum. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly unimpeded access to, the EM spectrum.

In other words, radar jamming, at its simplest. It's the analog version of the digital Cyber Warfare that he's now heading up.

Why appoint him? Probably because nobody has specifically trained for cyber war, at least not in the military. Think of the early days of computer programming: you went for the people with math and physics degrees (Alan Turing, anyone?), because there were few people with Computer Science degrees, since it was brand new. This guy is obviously well trained and involved in controlling communication channels, now he's just going to be overseeing it over IP instead of EM. The guy clearly knows his fundamentals, and how to run an organization such that he need not know every minute technical detail in order to be effective.

Re:Qualifications (5, Funny)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320346)

Am I the only one who read **** general as a regular expression?

Re:Qualifications (2, Funny)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321340)

What from his picture makes him look like a slashdotter? His hair is trimmed, his face is shaven and his smile seems to suggest he's been laid within 25 years.

Re:Qualifications (-1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320202)

He just has to militarise it and probably start a cyber war to 'protect people's freedom'. After starting the cyber war, he'll try and introduce invasive security protocols that restrict what Americans and others can do on the internet - all to safeguard freedom and democracy of course.

Re:Qualifications (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320546)

Interesting jump there. To date, the military hasn't instituted anything regarding what the citizens can and can't do unless they were in the military or going in their bases. But that's nothing new, it's been going on in America since before the country was even a country.

Re:Qualifications (3, Interesting)

identity0 (77976) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320520)

Why should he? It's not like we expect generals to fight in the trenches and shoot the enemy, why should a gerneral be expected to work exploits and hack code? Isn't a general's job by definition managing others who are experts in the field?

A serious question, can someone provide examples in industry of good leaders who were so because they knew the details, or who were bad because they didn't?

Re:Qualifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320720)

It's not so much knowing the details, but rather having a pretty good idea of what the people you lead are supposed to do. That way you can determine whether the people under you are doing what they're supposed to do, rather than telling them to accomplish something that simply can't be done.

Re:Qualifications (5, Insightful)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321614)

At that level you are assigned high level goals (like making sure Google doesn' t get hacked by the Chinese.)
Your job is to put good level middle level managers in place to hit a chunk of those individual goals.
The job of those managers is to put good low level managers in place to manage the implementation of the details of one of those goals singly.
The job of the low level managers is to hire you and I to actually do the work, to keep us motivated to deliver that single goal.
The job of you and I : actually care about the details and get it done.

Actual domain knowledge about the minutiae doesn't hurt, but it doesn't really help either.
That said, I think they'd be a lot better off with Thresh - he has a proven record of just pwning on the cyberwarrior field.

Re:Qualifications (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321366)

This might be an odd or even newb question: What gaggle of troops will this general lead? How much personnel do you actually need assuming you have USA's defense budget backing you up?

Re:Qualifications (4, Interesting)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320836)

I don't know that this could get f*cked up. It's operating out of Fort Meade, so it's basically operating in NSA territory. It's mandate is already being filled by the NSA, assuming that the CyberCommand cannot operate on US territory. (That should be assured, as the fellow is a general. But it no longer is; probably never was.)

What I don't get is - how is this not the NSA?

Re:Qualifications (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321632)

The guy has been the Director of the NSA for half a decade and now he is running this new program - and you are asking how this is not the NSA?
It's too early for me to be snarky, but ... ummm ... yea.

How is this not NSA (5, Interesting)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321664)

The NSA is an intelligence agency, I assume this means their primary purpose is to collect information. They might hack into a computer, but that would be to the purpose of obtaining information. The military is supposed to conduct offensive operations. Things like breaking into computers running dams or the electric grid to disable them. Psychological warfare by breaking into Web sites and changing what they show. Spreading disinformation into enemy communication channels.

Basically, this is probably about doing low level nasty things when the situation doesn't call for an all out shooting war, and making sure an enemy can't trust his networked computer systems in case of an all out war. I'm pretty sure the US isn't the only one doing this.

Re:How is this not NSA (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32322578)

Basically, this is probably about doing low level nasty things when the situation doesn't call for an all out shooting war, and making sure an enemy can't trust his networked computer systems in case of an all out war. I'm pretty sure the US isn't the only one doing this.

And, equally or more importantly, defending the US from attack. How exactly they might do so is another matter, but the defense and disruption is equally important as the offensive capabilities.

As such, I can almost guarantee that they will be operating on US soil, similarly to how infantry divisions would be expected to should there be a physical invasion of US soil.

To the GP, Fort Meade is more than just the NSA headquarters. It's a significant portion, but not the entirity of operations. Parent is right though, it makes sense to headquarters your warfare branch nearby to your intelligence branch.

Re:Qualifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32321838)

Hacking is continually moving the posts and unless you are at the front line, you just don't know what's going on. I guess you can always look and analyse traffic but personally I hope he knows what a secure password is. I understand that the history of goverment computer security has been quite shaky...

I guess the dudes at the Pentagon should have employed Gary McInnon? They could have got his consultancy for free too, under the condition that the extradition request is dropped. I think Gary would be happy to give his advise for the price of freedom. I know I would. I bet that would save 100K a year straight away.

Gary reported that a lot of people were hacking into the american goverment from all over the world and I don't see why the UK or US would be much different. I wonder how it effects other countries? I also understand this is due to the trust model of univerities being 'trusted'? Anyway that all seems like an issue to me.

The only securiy is for us, the people to understand that the admin credentials are secured and also that any account is not compromised (login restrictions ect). I mean seriously a network admin for the average school would probably know more about hackers that this guy.

Disable Javascript and Flash, keep every driver and piece of software upto date, make people take responsibility for their logins (check the last time and make sure this is what you expect).

Hmm, (1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320040)

The creation of America's most senior cyber warrior comes just days after the US air force disclosed that some 30,000 of its troops had been re-assigned from technical support "to the frontlines of cyber warfare".

Whoa, boy. You'd better be skeered. Most of the comm squad monkeys I knew never even touched computers before tech school.

The complex issues facing Cyber Command were thrown into relief earlier this year when the Washington Post revealed details of a so-called "dot-mil" operation by Fort Meade's cyber warfare unit, backed by Alexander, to shut down a "honeytrap website" set up by the Saudis and the CIA to target Islamist extremists planning attacks in Saudi Arabia.

Right arm, meet left arm. Hey, no...stop punching each other! Stop that....quit it!

Finally, if your AFSC dosen't begin with "2A", you are a weenie. Bonus points for 2A0XX, 2A3XX, and 2A5XX.

Re:Hmm, (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321302)

Damn. I'm out of mod points.

Quite right:

"Finally, if your AFSC doesn't begin with "2A", you are a weenie. Bonus points for 2A0XX, 2A3XX, and 2A5XX."

meep (1)

chibiace (898665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320050)

perhaps this guy will get major kudos for hacking the national debt clock back to zero.

Re:meep (4, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320190)

But, the real question is, could you tell it was a hack or if it just rolled over?

"militarisation of cyberspace"? (5, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320068)

I guess someone has never heard of DARPA.

http://www.darpa.mil/ [darpa.mil]

Re:"militarisation of cyberspace"? (2, Funny)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320084)

or cybernet

Re:"militarisation of cyberspace"? (4, Insightful)

caladine (1290184) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320462)

Besides DARPA, the very idea of "despite fears that the move marks another stage in the militarisation of cyberspace" assumes that other countries haven't already taken this step, just not quite as publicly. In my mind, it just means that the US government is actually taking a serious threat... seriously.

Re:"militarisation of cyberspace"? (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32322634)

To be fair, publicly appointing a general in charge of it IS a milestone, even though other nations have almost certainly made similar appointments. Similarly, the Trinity explosion was still a large milestone in the nuclear age, even though we had been researching and developing such a weapon (in secret) for years.

Remember you are .mil and to .mil you shall return (5, Insightful)

optikos (1187213) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320094)

What goes around comes around. The ARPAnet was military. Now perhaps it may become so once again. (With apologies to Ash Wednesday in the Catholic Church for the subject line.)

Re:Remember you are .mil and to .mil you shall ret (2, Insightful)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320846)

The Internet is a network of networks of computers. It's not a military playground, and just because DARPA were involved in the creation of it doesn't make it American property.

Anything of critical importance such as military kit, medical kit, power, gas, and water infrastructure should not be on the Internet at all.

Re:Remember you are .mil and to .mil you shall ret (1)

dontbgay (682790) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321412)

DARPA wasn't just INVOLVED in it's creation. I think you're missing the point though. If some other country with less "visibility" routes resources and creates a program for internet-based attacks, they don't have to be so forthcoming. If the US Government routes funding that's not in a "black" op and create a new Cyber Warfare Division without announcing it, someone SOMEWHERE is going to whip out an "OH NOES!!! SNEAKY BLACK PROJECT!!!" and it'll look like one. This way, they're out in the open.

I agree with your statements and sentiments. Unfortunately, the militarization of the internet has been happening for a while. We're just late (officially) to the party.

Re:Remember you are .mil and to .mil you shall ret (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321684)

Anything of critical importance such as military kit, medical kit, power, gas, and water infrastructure should not be on the Internet at all.

You're right. It shouldn't. It should use its own infrastructure, not connected to the Internet or the telephony network. Except for two problems:

1. Any custom network is going to be smaller and have less redundancies. There might be a failsafe to revert to a VPN, in case the dedicated network is down. Which it might be, in the case of war, due to either electronic warfare or bombardment. The military's job is to plan and train for nasty situations. Including "how to make a bad situation worse".

2. Pointy haired bosses and government incompetence are not unique to the west. Just because something should be done securely doesn't mean that it is. If an enemy makes a mistake, it would be stupid not to exploit it.

Re:Remember you are .mil and to .mil you shall ret (1)

Fr33thot (1236686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32322260)

Technically the militarization of the Internet began in the '70s: "in July 1975, the network had been turned over to the Defense Communications Agency, also part of the Department of Defense." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet#ARPANET_to_several_federal_wide_area_networks:_MILNET.2C_NSI.2C_and_NSFNet). Also technically nobody CAN own the Internet. Finally, everyone has a right to defend their part of the network. If you think it hasn't been militarized until now then you should go back to playing with your Lincoln Logs.

I knew that name seemed familiar... (0, Offtopic)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320110)

Reverse the first and last name and you get this [wikipedia.org] instead.

Dear Slashdot question: (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320148)

If the military used the Internet initially to store all their private information, but are getting cyberattacks now that the internet is public, why doesn't the military make Internet 2.0 where public citizens cannot get on. If they were in an Internet 2.0 that was impossible to get on from China, wouldn't that mean most hacks would stop?

Internet 2 is not the full answer (3, Interesting)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320182)

Yes, the military can (and probably does already) have their own network. However, damage will be done to our country via the regular internet. Imagine if, one day, all the bank accounts in the country went to millions of dollars or to zero? The military is, hopefully, going to take care of those kinds of scenarios. We need a central command to handle such attacks.

Re:Internet 2 is not the full answer (0)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320886)

Yes, the military can (and probably does already) have their own network. However, damage will be done to our country via the regular internet. Imagine if, one day, all the bank accounts in the country went to millions of dollars or to zero? The military is, hopefully, going to take care of those kinds of scenarios. We need a central command to handle such attacks.

Take care of that how? By random napalm attacks against anyone who looks a bit shifty? What country will you attack when an independent group screws with a bank?

A security guy at the bank should take care of their security, if he fails the guy that wrote and tested the backup tapes should take care of it. There is no need for warmongering.

Re:Internet 2 is not the full answer (2, Insightful)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321552)

Take care of that how? By random napalm attacks against anyone who looks a bit shifty? ... There is no need for warmongering.

You have a very limited understanding of what the US military does if you think it exists soley for wars.

Retaliation in international law (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321698)

What country will you attack when an independent group screws with a bank?

Under international law, the country which allowed the independent group to operate out of its territory. If the country isn't capable of policing its own territory, we have the right to defend ourselves by policing it ourselves. Otherwise, it would be too easy for governments to shrug and say "we didn't do it, it's not our fault that those terrorists happen to have stolen military supplies from our base, and recruited people who used to be our soldiers".

But just because somebody who we think works for the Chinese government brought down our banking system for a few days, we don't want to start a shooting war with China, which would have a death toll in the millions. So instead, we make sure we have the capability to mess with them at the same level.

Re:Internet 2 is not the full answer (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32322272)

Take care of that how? By random napalm attacks against anyone who looks a bit shifty?

Yep, that's what they did to help Haiti after the earthquake, napalmed any ground that "looked a bit shifty". Hasn't been a major Earthquake in Haiti since. Mission Accomplished.

If you pay attention to the world around every now and then you'll notice the military can be and is used for a variety of purposes beyond killing people

Re:Dear Slashdot question: (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320186)

Because this is all a bunch of bullshit posturing, a PR stunt.

You can rest assured that America's so-called "cyberwarriors" will be spending most of their time monitoring p2p networks for copyright infringement and lolicon downloads. What else would they do? Be separated from the military and flood the already fucked American job market while spending all of their G.I. bills?

Might as well stick guns in their hands and send 'em to the front lines.

Re:Dear Slashdot question: (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320222)

The general public mostly interacts with the www only. The www is only a part of the internet.

Re:Dear Slashdot question: (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320272)

It is far more complicated than a simple who is allowed and who isn't.

Looking simply at network structure, there is much data that cannot be accessed out of what we call a "closed network" system. Furthermore the Military, correct me anyone if I am wrong, uses a security clearance levels for access to both hardware and internal network resources. "Cyberattacks", as they may be referred to, come in the form of systems that may have been compromised from the inside, or perhaps a denial of service attacks that prevented a web domain from functioning and providing service to its normal users.

If they were in an Internet 2.0 that was impossible to get on from China, wouldn't that mean most hacks would stop?

Although, at first, a person with little knowledge could say lets block this IP Block, or range of IP addresses associated with what we will call "China Intelligence" to prevent an attack, but the internet is very tricky here... There are various ways around this: take for example a proxy. This tool allows the "China Intelligence" to pretend or be viewed as a different IP address, and bypass this problem completely, but this is just a simple view. No matter how many authentication levels and blocked IP addresses... no network system can be engineered to be perfectly safe when it is connected to the internet. Through either faking who they may pretend to be, or even finding some exploit to install a virus to steal the information, there will always be cases of "Cyberattacks". I hope I did not ramble too much to answer your question, and sadly what we coin as "Internet 2.0", in the most broadest of sense, is that of a connected internet, not one that is made mutually exclusive to one party or entity, the internet, as I would want to see it continue to progress towards, would be one where privacy is respected, and information remains free and easily obtainable. Lastly, I am sure there are some awesome network specialists here who would be happy to answer any other specific questions or provide better analogies to your question...

Re:Dear Slashdot question: (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320340)

In our SECRET-level avionics shop, we had to use an access code for entry and we had to account for all of our classified T.O.'s and disk drives at the end of every shift, but our terminals for ordering parts and entering maintenance data were on unclassified T1 connections.

We had to use the STU-III [wikipedia.org] secure modem to receive the sekrit stuff over the wire.

Re:Dear Slashdot question: (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320688)

And that's all because a very small subset of information was actually classified SECRET. CAMS shouldn't have anything classified on it (and in fact, in SandLand we did CAMS via satalite Intranet). But certain parts and passages of your T.O. did. Along those lines, your DCS had removable drives that were marked SECRET because, via the STU-III, it contained (roughly) the same secrets in your T.O.s. And your DCS never touched a network that didn't come in via that STU-III (although I was able to get ours to telnet out in to the wild internet via a secure connection with a contractor - something I don't expect would happen today).

They have that (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320430)

It's called SIPRNet. There are others too, JWICS, NSANet, and so on. They are internets (small i) in every way. However, they don't interact with the public Internet (big I). It is how they keep classified data separate. It seems to work quite well. At the very least there's never been a break in to them that has been revealed.

However, that doesn't mean there's nothing of importance on the Internet. It's not all just geeks chattering and LOLcat pictures. For example ATMs operate on the Internet these days. Heavily encrypted to be sure, but still. Companies make use of it for important business reasons. There are probably control systems for infrastructure on the net, and so on.

So, the government has an interest in making sure it work well. That would include being able to deal with a cyber attack. After all, protecting classified data does little good if the the infrastructure of the US is taken out. The government itself is only useful in so much as it can govern and protect the country.

Reasons like this are why things like AES exist. When the NSA was started, it was just a signals intelligence agency. Intercept communications, break codes, etc. While that's still a massive part of what they do, they were also instructed to work on securing the nation's computers. That was what lead to things like DES and AES. The government wanted businesses to have good crypto. Seems like they are serious too, AES has been analyzed for years, and remains extremely strong.

Same kind of shit here. They want to figure out how to protect important things on the regular Internet from attack. They are also probalby interested in counter attack capability. After all, other countries rely on the Internet too. Could be very useful in warfare.

Good defense starts with having lots and lots of contingency plans.

Re:They have that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32322226)

"It's not all just geeks chattering and LOLcat pictures"

Well I've been grossly misinformed.

Re:Dear Slashdot question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32321734)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NIPRNet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIPRNet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIPR
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Worldwide_Intelligence_Communications_System

capcha: naivete

More Important Than Alexander's Qualifications (5, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320210)

Right now, it doesn't matter. He apparently knows how to use people who know more than he does. To me he proved that when he took out the honeytrap site (stupid move, but whatever).

From TFA:

The difficulties facing the new command were underlined in March by former CIA director Michael V Hayden, who said that the Saudi operation had demonstrated that cyber warfare techniques were evolving so rapidly that they were now outpacing the government's ability to develop coherent policies to guide its use.

"Cyber was moving so fast that we were always in danger of building up precedent before we built up policy," Hayden said.

This is the key point. Unfortunately the Federal government is SUPPOSED to move slow. The unfortunate part of that is something like cyberwarfare will always outstrip even the ability of a state government (with the assumption being that state government is meant to move quicker to respond directly to the needs of it's people) to make policy governing its use.

Soooooo....*shrugs*

I'm kind of torn on this. Let the government grind slowly away at policy like it should, or enable them to make snap, on-the-fly decisions with far-reaching ramifications. No matter what you choose, it's the wrong answer.

Actually not the problem. (3, Insightful)

nten (709128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321890)

I've been reading "cyberwar" by Richard Clark. He didn't have anything bad to say about the guy in the story, except that he was the only person willing to take a (pretty much identical) position, that Clark had himself vacated. According to the book the US is actually very very good at cyber attack. But he also says that businesses, he specifically calls out Microsoft, have lobbied extensively, not just to have the government look the other way from their bugs, and keep using their software, but to not regulate security for private business. DHS protects .gov, this cyber thingy protects .mil. No one protects .com and .org. None of the companies want to have security regulations placed on them (including power grid, and financial systems), and neither the previous administration or this one wants to force them. I'm generally against regulation and consider it a bad thing (tm), (its like my department noting they are going to hire more managers, again), but he does make a compelling case. The guys (apparently a very small group) he spoke with at blackhat apparently were persuaded as well, though they (and he) are worried about what sort of oversight is needed, to prevent privacy and worse abuses. Its all well and good to force ISPs to disconnect people detected to be part of botnets until they get their machine cleaned, but false positives that correlate strangely with unpopular opinions on the websites is a truly frightening idea. On the other side, who can argue that FDIC insured banks don't have an obligation to keep the insured money safe per the guidelines of the insurer?

I hope he goes after the chinese (2, Funny)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320268)

All that goldfarming has to stop.

Re:I hope he goes after the chinese (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320330)

All that goldfarming has to stop.

Without a currency realignment, [nytimes.com] Chinese-farmed gold will still be able to out-compete American-farmed gold.

Cyber General Mao (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320288)

The Chinese are sending zerglings! Mass up some marines and counter-attack!

This can't be right. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320314)

Should his last name be Connor?

I am the very model of a modern Cyber General (5, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320434)

I am the very model of a modern Cyber General
I've information secretive and knowledge technological
I know my way around the tubes and quote the cryptological
From Adi, Bruce and Len to Ron in order alphabetical!

Re:I am the very model of a modern Cyber General (1)

w00tsauce (1482311) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320516)

you win the goatse award for coming up with something original on the internet

Re:I am the very model of a modern Cyber General (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320526)

WTF?! Could someone please explain what's so funny about this? It's just a bunch of meaningless rambling.

Re:I am the very model of a modern Cyber General (0, Offtopic)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320598)

Try singing it to the tune of Tom Lehrer's "The Elements".

Re:I am the very model of a modern Cyber General (2, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320756)

You mean the Major-General's song [wikipedia.org] from pirates of penzance.

I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
        I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
        I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
        From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical

Re:I am the very model of a modern Cyber General (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320770)

But you won't exactly get the joke unless you play Mass Effect 2. Or google "Scientist Salarian" instead.

Well played, Arancaytar. Well played indeed.

Re:I am the very model of a modern Cyber General (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32321350)

Owww. You have a four-digit Slashdot id, but you don't even know your Gilbert and Sullivan?

Please turn in your geek card.

Re:I am the very model of a modern Cyber General (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321648)

I had to strip someone of their geek cred the other day (they had never seen the Original Trilogy nor knew what it was when I referenced it (and you lose points if you don't get that without more help)).

Re:I am the very model of a modern Cyber General (2, Informative)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320796)

There is a wonderful device called the Google that helps people cover up embarrassing gaps in their knowledge of pop culture.

http://gooogle.com/search?q=i+am+the+very+model+of [gooogle.com]

Re:I am the very model of a modern Cyber General (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320570)

Win ~~!

U.S. Not Good At Cyber War, Would Lose (1)

brilanon (1121645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320446)

A story a couple of months back about US Cyber War said they were no good at it and would lose. I'm hoping my brain implant is from aliens instead of the States or that's probably not true. It's very sophisticated

Look for these things around 2015 or so if this is a field-test. If it's aliens, I think we're gonna have 2012

Re:U.S. Not Good At Cyber War, Would Lose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32321620)

What the fuck are you talking about?

Blow me (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320466)

Just blow me.

This should be a civilian position.

Cyber Leader (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320488)

When do they officially rename the title to Cyber Leader?

Will they televise the bit where they transplant his brain into a mechanised humanoid body?

Only "wars" gov'ts fight are against their people! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320528)

All governments, like all plantation owners trying to hang on to the institution of slavery, are ultimately in the same boat. This government incursion into cyberspace will inevitably be used as a tool of oppression! Only the free market can make the Internet strong, resilient, and free!

(Signed: Alex Libman's sock-puppet.)

Um, what? (1)

ChaosCon (1503841) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320550)

"...despite fears that the move marks another stage in the militarisation of cyberspace." Isn't that totally a tautology? "The military using the internet marks another stage in the militarization of cyberspace! Egad!" Um, duh. I'd be more concerned with the consequences of militarizing cyberspace, than with the fact that cyberspace is being militarized.

Re:Um, what? (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320736)

That's nothing when you consider who developed the technology in the first place, it has been militarized from the very start!

Re:Um, what? (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320898)

That's nothing when you consider who developed the technology in the first place, it has been militarized from the very start!

It's not a military project any more. There is no reason to go backwards.

I'm getting a picture... (1)

hallux.sinister (1633067) | more than 4 years ago | (#32320686)

For some reason, reading the post, I got a mental picture of a pimple-faced, gangly teenager, in a green dress-uniform that is about 6 sizes too big for him. He's swimming in it, looks awkward, and the only thing he's wearing that fits is his black horn-rimmed glasses, complete with the ad-hoc masking-tape bridge repair above his nose. This man, with his comically oversized uniform, is going to be in charge of protecting us from cyberterrorists, cybercriminals, cyberdecipticons, cyberrabidpitbullswithaids, cybersharkswithfrickenlaserbeamsattachedtotheirheads, etc. I feel safer already.

Re:I'm getting a picture... (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321396)

Yes, your assessment is quite correct. It is well known that one can judge the measure of a man simply by looking him. Thank you for validating that cornerstone of human behavior.

www.jersey-boys.com (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320754)

The Blackhawks last lifted the Stanley Cup [jersey-boys.com] in 1961, but they're in their first finals since 1992 after a sweep of the Sharks. The 2010 Stanely Cup is go to the finals! Want to cheer your team up? Then a jersey of your team is indispensable! Hey, go to our website to pick one, we offer a authentic quality with a lower price than the official online shop! Jerseys of all teams are offered.
To see more pls log in www.jersey-boys.com

www.jersey-boys.com (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32320868)

The Blackhawks [jersey-boy.com] last lifted the Stanley Cup in 1961, but they're in their first finals since 1992 after a sweep of the Sharks. The 2010 Stanely Cup [jersey-boys.com] is go to the finals! Want to cheer your team up? Then a jersey of your team is indispensable! Hey, go to our website to pick one, we offer a authentic quality with a lower price than the official online shop! Jerseys of all teams are offered. To see more pls log in www.jersey-boys.com

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321002)

Besides DARPA, the very idea of "despite fears that the move marks another stage in the militarisation of cyberspace" assumes that other countries haven't already taken this step, just not quite as publicly. In my mind, it just means that the US government is actually taking a serious threat... seriously.

froSt pist (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32321268)

I have to say its obvious the mil. hasn't a chance (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321386)

...against spammers.

On the other hand, maybe the military's of the world will get busy enough with the battles in cyberspace that they do less damage in the real world.

I'm sure virtual PTSD is easier to deal with.

What could happen in cyberspace that can't be solved by turning off the machines?

cyber warfare (1)

jeawis (1818274) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321492)

cyber warfare refers to the use of internet to attack someone with computer virus or to acces computer security to steal commercial info to sell it to competitors, the cat and the mouse are out there . Canon SD3500IS [canonsd3500is.net]

Been there, done that... (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32321818)

The OP mentioned "the militarisation of cyberspace". Gee, didn't cyberspace BEGIN in the military?

No surprise here. (1)

xactuary (746078) | more than 4 years ago | (#32322370)

The Kobayashi Maru kicked his ass, but that's to be expected I suppose.

Military, sheesh (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32322516)

Don't they understand there are industrial-strength nerds running all these Internet backbones? Just have a phone conference and start shutting stuff off. Ports, messages with certain content. Particular computers that are sending that content. They're probably way ahead of the military already.

For those about to HACK... (1)

_0rm_ (1638559) | more than 4 years ago | (#32322716)

WE SALUTE YOU!
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