Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Pentagon Says Cyberattacks Can Count As Act of War

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the now-we-can-invade-anybody dept.

Government 282

suraj.sun tips news that the Pentagon has decided computer sabotage originating from another country can be classified as an act of war. "The Pentagon's first formal cyber strategy, unclassified portions of which are expected to become public next month, represents an early attempt to grapple with a changing world in which a hacker could pose as significant a threat to US nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines as a hostile country's military." This news comes only days after the Chinese military admitted the existence of a team of cyberwarriors. "The report will also spark a debate over a range of sensitive issues the Pentagon left unaddressed, including whether the US can ever be certain about an attack's origin, and how to define when computer sabotage is serious enough to constitute an act of war. These questions have already been a topic of dispute within the military."

cancel ×

282 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

well of course! (1, Funny)

uncanny (954868) | more than 2 years ago | (#36296920)

They took down our farmville time, we should risk the lives of our troops and murder their civilians in retribution!

Re:well of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297192)

Ok, but what if a "cyberattack" reveals that it's attacking itself? Does the problem resolve itself?

Re:well of course! (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297338)

If the pentagon attacks itself, it will also feel its wrath!

Mwaahahahaha!

Re:well of course! (1)

uncanny (954868) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297414)

a cyber attack upon ones self would presumably be put along the same lines as a suicide bomber. Find out what country it came from and declare war upon that country!

so what? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36296946)

anything is an excuse to go to war. since when did they need to specify?

Re:so what? (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297320)

Exactly.
The real question is whether the USA wants to go to war. They'll find an excuse anyway for blaming the other.

And I seriously doubt that a single 'act of cyber war' will lead to military retribution against a sovereign nation. It might if the sovereign nation is rather insignificant... but it's not gonna happen if it's China, India or Russia... and hopefully not of it's any allied country, like the one I happen to live in.

Re:so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297324)

Because teenager with LOIC doing DDoS == enemy combatant. GITMO will soon be filled to capacity with chan-tards perhaps?

Re:so what? (2, Funny)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297692)

Because teenager with LOIC doing DDoS == enemy combatant. GITMO will soon be filled to capacity with chan-tards perhaps?

And those prisoners thought water-boarding was bad...

Re:so what? (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297464)

They don't need to specify a reason, but coming up with BS excuses is a nice boost to civilian morale. It's a prestigious line of work with a long and glorious history: Remember the Maine!

Re:so what? (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297856)

The War On Terror was used to justify internal spying and the eradication of checks and balances on the Executive Branch.

The War on Cyber Terror will be used to justify controls on the Internet.

Utterly reasonable (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36296954)

It's utterly reasonable, although it's going to be exceptionally difficult to separate government actions from those of civilians. Who wants to bet that this will, sooner or later, be used as an excuse for invasion?

Re:Utterly reasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297704)

when it is used as an excuse for invasion, let's do the invasion right. let's actually subjugate invaded territory to our rule and claim all of it's resources as our own. no more half-ass shit.

Re:Utterly reasonable (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297720)

when it is used as an excuse for invasion, let's do the invasion right. let's actually subjugate invaded territory to our rule and claim all of it's resources as our own. no more half-ass shit.

Half-assing it is more profitable for those in charge. They don't have to take over or even address the actual problems in the region; they just bomb it flat and then declare that they shall take the contract to rebuild it in their image.

treason, too. (5, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#36296988)

If attacking an american military installation via the internet is deemed an act of war, then surely exposing it on such a vulnerable network in the first place must count as treason. I mean, who would knowingly place such a valuable (and apparently, easily accessed) facility that's so vital to the defence of the country, in such danger of attack in the first place?

Re:treason, too. (1)

MakinBacon (1476701) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297030)

The military has its own private network for the real important stuff. The sorts of things you find on the internet are mostly just recruitment sites and the like.

Rumors on both Internets (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297136)

The military has its own private network for the real important stuff.

Hence the comment in 2004 by then President Bush about "rumors on the internets that we're going to have a draft". He was referring to the public Internet, the Armed Forces internet, and any organization using an internet on 10.* [google.com] .

Defense contractors? (3, Interesting)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297304)

The real problem is defense contractors that have all sorts of classified material on their computers. We could spent billions on defense related R&D and some third rate country might get that data and even might destroy our copy of the data while they are at it. Or even better, put a hidden bug in the design that will cause us grief when we try to use it in battle. (Of course, it could remain inactive until it is activated by an enemy.)

Re:Defense contractors? (2)

losfromla (1294594) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297552)

not very likely, although since computers are actually made in china, a timed virus in one of those might be a problem.

Re:treason, too. (4, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297284)

If dropping a nuke on the Pentagon is deemed an act of war, then surely placing it in such a vulnerable location in the first place must count as treason. I mean, who would knowingly place such a valuable (and apparently, easily accessed) facility that's so vital to the defence of the country, in such danger of attack in the first place?

Re:treason, too. (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297864)

Flamebait? Really? I consider this a valid criticism of the OP's absurd post.

Any building, utility, transportation or other critical infrastructure, even a computer network will have certain vulnerabilities for which steps must be taken to mitigate risks. Simply accusing one of treason simply because there are risks is a little over the top donchathink?

What's the difference? (4, Insightful)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297010)

The USA fights anything with military force. Be it international justice, drugs, terrorists or whatever.

Use It Or Lose It (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297254)

You say that like its a bad thing.
The United States of America possesses the mightiest, most lethal fighting force in the history of the human civilization. If anything, I think they have been too restrained in their application of military force. I would favor more preemptive and swift action to prevent future attacks like this coming cyberwar

 

Re:What's the difference? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297388)

The USA fights anything with military force.

Especially shortages of pork [wikipedia.org] .

To boil it down to one quote: (1)

Nameisyoung007 (1009935) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297020)

From TFA

"If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks," said a military official.

Re:To boil it down to one quote: (1)

losfromla (1294594) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297608)

one, missile? Down one smokestack? In a country with billions of them? "ooh, we're so scared" say the Chinese government.

Stuxnet worm (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297028)

Things that America does don't count though, right?

Re:Stuxnet worm (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297878)

This. Relatedly, anything Israel does (with or without America) is just defending itself.

Not a new question (4, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297050)

The internet hasn't changed the fact that if someone doesn't want to be tied to an 'attack' they can make it hard to tell it was them, or even look like it was someone else.

Chinese hackers using systems located in Russia to hack NSA assets is just as hard to 'prove' as China launching a Russian made ICBM from a submarine disguised as Russian in a location the Russians would likely use etc. Unless the person who attacks you basically tells you they did it to your face (and even then potentially) you're making a judgement as to what happened based on evidence.

Re:Not a new question (2)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297092)

Bingo. I have seen many companies with hacked computers used as launching points for attacks.

If someone coming from a .pk host launched an attack that blew out a bunch of transformers in India, how can one prove that it was someone from the ISI who did it, or a compromised host, and the real culprit is some kid in a basement who wants to see India and Pakistan exchange nukes? There is no certain way to tell.

Re:Not a new question (1)

SuperGus (678577) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297820)

No no no, it's only W.H.O.P.P.E.R. that wants Global Thermonuclear War, not the kid in the basement who randomly dialed NORAD with his modem!

Call me... (3, Insightful)

symes (835608) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297056)

Call me daft, by all means, but for some reason I am incredulous that critical systems should be vulnerable to cyber attack. It just feels like something went very wrong at the design stage to allow this to happen. But then I'm not a developer...

Re:Call me... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297434)

"Cyber attack" can mean a lot of different things. It could mean having a spy bring a thumb drive into a secure area and install some malware on a critical system and wreak havoc.

Re:Call me... (1)

dq5 studios (682179) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297538)

Why does a critical system have unsecured USB ports? Fixing that seems more important than clarifying you'll bomb people over it.

Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297062)

I thought they usually had problems tracing these kind of attacks anyway because they can be routed through tons of proxies.

Re:Problems (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297972)

It's simple. We follow the traceroute until it reaches a country we want to attack, then we attack it.

The United States (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297072)

Continually at War with some group, product, or idea since 1941.

Re:The United States (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297558)

Continually at War with some group, product, or idea since 1941.

1660 [wikipedia.org] , not [wikipedia.org] 1941.

USA & Israel is in war against Iran? (4, Insightful)

ad454 (325846) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297074)

The USA & Israel jointly developed the Stuxnet worm and launched it against the Iranian nuclear facilities:

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

In the first documented and well-confirmed act of cyber-warfare, does this mean that both the USA and Israel have declared war against Iran, and that Iran would be in its rights to strike back at targets in both countries and kill people there?

Gee, this is all we need, yet another war on top of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.

Re:USA & Israel is in war against Iran? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297396)

And your proof is?

Re:USA & Israel is in war against Iran? (2)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297426)

In the first documented and well-confirmed act of cyber-warfare, does this mean that both the USA and Israel have declared war against Iran, and that Iran would be in its rights to strike back at targets in both countries and kill people there?

There's no such things as "rights" when we're talking about nations. They can do whatever the hell they want, and so can any other nation. The prudent ones tend not to act in a way that'll get them anhilliated.

Re:USA & Israel is in war against Iran? (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297684)

"They can do whatever the hell they want, and so can any other nation".

I think many people would disagree.

http://www.un.org/en/law/index.shtml [un.org]

Re:USA & Israel is in war against Iran? (3, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297718)

I think many people would disagree.

I think many people are retarded. So what?

If the US decides to invade Canada tomorrow for no reason whatsoever, who's going to stop them? What do you imagine the international community will do?

Even in the case of Iraq, the UN didn't want to do anything except write strongly worded letters. If you think international laws are actually enforcable, you're a fool.

Re:USA & Israel is in war against Iran? (2)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297456)

Well, yes that probably should've been considered an act of war. It did as much damage as a few dozen bombs would've and I'm sure they wouldn't have liked that.

Having said that, it's hard to prove - the point in TFS - and they're not stupid enough to fight the US unless they have to.

I was just saying this the other day - cyberattacks can be as damaging as tactical bomb raids (generally without human casualties though). If a nasty targeted worm got into the C&C systems? Definitely an act of war by its creator, though I'd be more worried about the fact that they weren't hardened.

It's a question of scale, though. Where do you draw the line? If the Russians flew in and blew up a useless bit of our forest, we'd fight back - but mostly because they invaded our airspace with military planes, not so much the damage done. But do you consider a cyberattack a foreign military invasion, or do you concern yourself only with the damage attempted/done? If somebody gets a worm onto the Dept. of Agriculture's secretaries' machines, I find it hard to believe we'd go to war.

It's distressingly rare nowadays, but people are still capable of judgement. I cautiously trust the government to make appropriate judgement calls on this.

"Get in the first shot. ..." (1)

archer, the (887288) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297556)

"You missed. ... Boot to the head."

Re:USA & Israel is in war against Iran? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297702)

Ah, but Libya's not a war...our president who attacked without congressional approval said so.

Re:USA & Israel is in war against Iran? (1)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297888)

Iran and the US have been at a low level state of war for a while now. This is nothing new. Only the method is new.

Re:USA & Israel is in war against Iran? (2)

wiredog (43288) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297910)

It hasn't been proven that the US and Iran created Stuxnet... Provenance is a problem the article you didn't read points out.

Terrorist vs. Act of War (2)

SeeSp0tRun (1270464) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297088)

So if a citizen of China, Russia, or Zimbabwe originates a successful (or even mildly irritating) attack against the US government, they will see it as an act of war?
I didn't read TFA, but looks like them terrists can spark a war by simply hacking via *name your country here* proxy.

Let's say that isn't even the case, does the Pentagon think that an international cyber attack is going to just come from an address registered to chinacyberwardivision.cn?

This seems shaky at best to declare war on phantoms... then again it falls right in line with the last decade.

Re:Terrorist vs. Act of War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297232)

WW1

Re:Terrorist vs. Act of War (2)

SeeSp0tRun (1270464) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297576)

I never thought of it as being akin to the Balkan Powder Keg...
I hope the Black Hand doesn't have computers!

Re:Terrorist vs. Act of War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297286)

I recently was party to a public talk in which they discussed a similar issue purely with regards to China. China's really scary because there's a huge gray area and they seem to be trying to leverage it.

First of all many "businesses" are owned by the Chineese miltary. Would them "attacking" count as an official attack? What targets qualify (would industrial formula's count?)? More troubling, what about hacktivists "defending" their government? What if they were trained by China's military?

So can raids by SEAL Teams (2)

whoda (569082) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297108)

What about SEAL Team 6 invading Pakistan?

Re:So can raids by SEAL Teams (3, Informative)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297212)

Clearly, you don't get how double standards work.

Re:So can raids by SEAL Teams (3, Insightful)

ad454 (325846) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297402)

What about SEAL Team 6 invading Pakistan?

Personally I think that any country that hides and shelters a terrorist that kills thousands and thousands of the civilians would be considered an act of war. Pakistan should consider itself lucky that its only got a small slap on the wrist by the USA navy seals.

Re:So can raids by SEAL Teams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297506)

America shelters george w who sent more americans to their death than osama did. if an iraqi strike force came in and struck bush, burial at sea, and all, would anyone have a right to say peep?

Re:So can raids by SEAL Teams (1)

losfromla (1294594) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297700)

sure, why not, whatever works for you.

An example of US sponsored terrorist (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297750)

Personally I think that any country that hides and shelters a terrorist that kills thousands and thousands of the civilians would be considered an act of war. Pakistan should consider itself lucky that its only got a small slap on the wrist by the USA navy seals.

You mean like this guy? This is a guy as bad as Osama, but he just happens to cooperate with the CIA and with "US interests". There are 100s of deaths directly linked to him including bombing of a passenger airliner.

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

So is this a little inconvenient truth? Or do you stick with your assertions?

Re:So can raids by SEAL Teams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297822)

Werner von Braun?

Re:So can raids by SEAL Teams (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297534)

Pakistan is not happy with us over that. Under the rules of war, they can declare war on us for the invasion of their sovereignty. Which is what we did. But at the moment, they're the ones with egg on their face, and they'd be foolish to do so. Also, they're supposedly an ally, which means that they trust our intentions - at least ostensibly.

Does it give us the right to do what we want? Not really, but the fact remains that the ethics of war are highly complex. Since nobody can ever be "right", in absolute terms, it's basically come down to "might makes right" - in that it's up to other nations to police a misbehaving one. And it's up to the citizens of the fighting nations to determine if it's appropriate, by censuring their leaders if need be.

But you won't find me protesting. I'm of the opinion that this is how we should've handled the "war on terror" all along - as more of a police action against individuals and groups, because you can't wage war on an idea.

Are we finally going to pay attention to SPAM now? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297142)

Spam is a problem. All these malware infections too. And it is often next to impossible to trace the real origins of these attacks. Are we preparing to lock down the internet to fight a nebulous foe? "War on Cyber-terrorism?" Funny that the government doesn't seem interested in regulating the money trail these scammers and malware pushers use.

Simple plan (2)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297154)

Step 1: Declare computer attacks an act of war Step 2: Claim any entity you don't like is "hacking" you Step 3: Since "hacking" is all technical mumbo jumbo it doesnt matter if you can't prove shit. The president would never lie, would he? Step 4: Bomb the shit out of whoever the bad guys de jour are. Step 5: Shitloads of profit for the military industry, not so much for those who are footing the bill.

Re:Simple plan (3, Insightful)

thijsh (910751) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297310)

Better yet, the first time some incredible fuck-up happens that causes widespread damage and/or death and its even remotely related to computers (like anything nowadays) it can be declared an act of war by any entity. If something like the three mile island incident would happen today they would probably blame Iran or 'the terrorists'.

Re:Simple plan (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297526)

Step 1: Come back to reality.
Step 2: Stop posting paranoid bullshit on slashdot.
Step 3: ???
Step 4: We all profit!

Re:Simple plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297622)

This and a multitude of similar comments are absolutely correct - it's not exactly a secret. People who think this is BS should take a look at Ron Paul and throw him some support. Obama, Palin, etc, etc will just further the same crap.

Re:Simple plan (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297760)

The mumbo-jumbo / lying could be stripped out of step 3 by inadvertently leaving some port open, or weak security measure in place.

Translation (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297156)

Translation: We're too dumb to fight fire with fire, so we'll do what we know best...KILL KILL KILL!

So the west has officially declared war... (2)

Jabrwock (985861) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297158)

on Iran? Stuxnet was a deliberate attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure.

How is it different? (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297172)

" how to define when computer sabotage is serious enough to constitute an act of war. ."

How is this any different from the current situation? The US went to war in Iraq on the flimsiest of pretexts. The Bush administration ginned up the supposed threat that Iraq would have nuclear weapons in a very short time and we had to act NOW! Are we to start a war because we think that a hacking attack is immanent?

Just hire Anonymous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297178)

We already have the talent, it just needs to be focussed on somebody else than US :P

Spying == act of war? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297190)

Wow. The Pentagon workers are really reaching. Maybe if the cyberattack blacked-out the entire coast, but simply hacking and downloading files is not an "act of war" deserving we go-off and nuck China.

Jeez. It's just a modern form of spying, which has existed for centuries.

so the chain debt can be wiped out for them hackin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297202)

so the chain debt can be wiped out for them hacking us!?

Why is this the military's business? (1)

hakioawa (127597) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297214)

Doesn't Congress declare war. Isn't the Predisent commander in chief? Why are we letting the military decide what is and what isn't an act of war? Seriously, this strikes me as dangeraous! What happens when the pentagon declares somethig an act of war and the president decideds it is not? Can the military decide that the president is in on it and unilaterally launch a war?

This is bad.

Re:Why is this the military's business? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297484)

Fool.

There's a little thing called Congress in the way.

We have a good checks-and-balances system in the USA. Don't fret.

How on Earth... (4, Insightful)

diewlasing (1126425) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297222)

...can a foreign power do damage to "nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines" via a cyber attack? Seriously, I want to know, this is not a rhetorical question. Are their computer systems connected to an outside network or is there a someone on the inside (a la Stuxnet)?

Re:How on Earth... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297480)

1) It is all on the internet
2) SCADA systems, which are the control systems for everything from AC ducts to coolant pump controls on nuclear reactors, have major security vulnerabilities and they are plugged directly into the network via ethernet or wireless
3) These systems were designed and implemented by the lowest bidder

That's how.

This goes for pretty much every current control system in every power plant, water treatment plant, nuclear reactor, spill way, switching station, airport, train, medical center, etc...

Re:How on Earth... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297604)

Are their computer systems connected to an outside network or is there a someone on the inside (a la Stuxnet)?

You deliver a trojan to a user that you know plugs their personal device into the work network. Or you know, SOME of them really ARE connected to the internet, and they're counting on firewalling to keep them secure. Maybe they have multiple heterogeneous firewalls or something, and think it will keep them safe.

Many of these tools were developed before "anyone" (statistically anyone) thought you needed more than routing for IP security...

In other news . . . (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297234)

. . . cyber attacks against U.S. targets originating from countries with rich oil reserves are on the rise.

Re:In other news . . . (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297562)

Canada?

Military-Industrial Underpants Gnomes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297242)

1. Hack a few computers in the country of your choice.
2. Use those machines to attack the Pentagon.
3. ???
4. PROFIT!

The Constitution (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297252)

Since the Pentagon has such an expanded idea of "war," it's great to know that only Congress can declare war.

Oh, wait . . . .

Re:The Constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297574)

an act of war is not a declaration of war.

Good for them (1)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297258)

Hey, if China want to turn a blind eye to their 'patriotic hackers' and let them run riot, rather than doing the sensible thing, like keeping their powder dry, then let them. The West will ultimately benefit. We benefit from hardened systems and security practices, and push comes to shove, we'll be in much better shape. As it is, amateur Western hackers are learning Mandarin and running riot through Chinese systems. They are as vulnerable as hell.

I think the threat from China is overhyped. It's typically Chinese, all show -- no substance.

If you want to see what a REAL cyberattack looks like, then consider Stuxnet -- a threat orders of magnitude more sophisticated than anything out of China, and a glimpse of what a real 'cyberweapon' looks like.

Let's forget the myth of the Chinese being so ancient, wise and mighty -- because it's just that, a myth. The reality is that they're really just a bunch of amateur blowhards who are very, very wet behind the ears. The Chinese are cunning (as they always have), but they're not always so smart.

China is a paper tiger, and will be for the foreseeable future.

Re:Good for them (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297500)

Let's forget the myth of the Chinese being so ancient, wise and mighty -- because it's just that, a myth.

China is ancient, China has wisdom but may choose to ignore it, and China is mighty but it's kind of a one-shot super-cannon. If they move and fail then they will have expended so much doing so that they will be utterly vulnerable to attack. So they are playing the long game to see who melts down first... And they're betting it will not be them. With such a massive population, they may be right.

China's population is not a lack of wisdom, it's an overabundance of greed. They are by no means unique in this regard; indeed, it is the rule rather than the exception.

I must be naive... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297296)

...but I find this kind of hard to take seriously, kind of like when the US government declared cryptography to be a form of munitions and imposed the same export controls.

Here's what I don't get: If someone maliciously attacks a physical base, fine. You can't lock down physical things entirely -- there's always the possibility of an inside man, or, say, a nuke. But these sorts of things, we already have ways of dealing with.

However, if someone can carry out a successful "cyberattack" from their home country, that says far, far more about our incompetence than it does about their ill intentions. Here, anything they exploit is either going to fall into the category of social engineering or espionage -- things we already have ways of dealing with in the real world -- or it's necessarily going to be a security hole we left wide open, one we certainly didn't have to.

I'm not trying to defend the asshat who exploits that, but it occurs to me that maybe responding to this as an "act of war" is entirely the wrong approach, and that the right approach is going to be similar to if you were to discover some mission-critical files which weren't being backed up, or some servers without a UPS or adequate cooling, or some secretary handed out a secret document without checking the person's clearance, and whatever you do, you don't make an international incident out of your own fuck-up.

The real crime is within... (2)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297354)

...our Military itself, and the fact that they repeatedly fail computer security audits year after year. Perhaps conversely it should be considered an act of Treason to perpetuate the lack of security around our critical systems, and hold those accountable who are refusing to spend the money to resolve the issues.

Yeah, I know I'm not the popular guy here asking the Government to actually spend MORE money, but some things need blatant and obvious attention, and allowing our country to go to war because their Windows 98 systems got hacked isn't the answer. I promise that any re-work of computer systems will be cheaper than any war we're pushed (or choose) to engage in. We've pretty much proven than beyond any doubt with the last decade worth of war on terror.

The only way to win (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297392)

is not to play.

Cyber attack could bring military response (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297422)

US Air Force General Kevin Chilton, head of US Strategic Command, has said that attacks on the United States via the Internet could merit a conventional military response.

“I don’t think you take anything off the table. We’re particularly looking toward one group in Seattle [newstechnica.com] .”

The Seattle-based insurgent group is thought to have seeded American government and military computers with millions of copies of malware that allows attackers easy access to any data stored on the computer, or indeed to take complete control of the computer and use it for their own ends as part of a massive “botnet” to mount further attacks. The malware, “Windows,” makes securing a computer running it almost impossible.

“Turning Seattle into a glass crater would only be undertaken strictly as the minimum required surgical military action,” emphasised Chilton, “and not in any way out of twenty-five years’ bitter resentment and frustration at computing machinery.”

Chilton stressed that members of the US military must begin to think of their computers as the front lines. “Do you realize that in addition to adding Windows to computers, why, there are studies underway to Windowsize salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children’s ice cream! I can no longer sit back and allow Windows infiltration, Windows indoctrination, Windows subversion and the international enterprise licensing conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids!”

The Obama administration is currently reviewing the United State’s cyberspace defense policy. “We’re considering all options thoroughly,” said the President, closing his MacBook and looking lingeringly at the red button on his desk.

Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297432)

when are they going after M$? They have been attacking us for 20+ years! ha! (hey it's slashdot.. someone had to take a shot at M$)

Acts of war vs. declaration of war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297438)

Performing acts of war is not the same as declaring war on someone, youre giving the other side a valid causus belli upon which they decide to or not to act upon.

Color Coded Threat Level (1)

Ashenkase (2008188) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297472)

and how to define when computer sabotage is serious enough to constitute an act of war.

O, that's easy, we just need to devise a easy to understand color coded threat chart:

  • Lime = Another Sony system has been hacked
  • Pink = Your credit card info has been exposed... again
  • Silver = Someone from Eastern Europe or China is attempting to hack a system somewhere in the US
  • Magenta = Anonymous is DOSing another celebrities site today
  • Brown = A system at the local water treatment facility has been hacked
  • Very, very, very Bright Light color = Oops, something to do with nuclear energy and/or weapons has been breached.

Does this cut both ways ? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297532)

Isn't Echelon a permanent cyber-attack ?

What about that virus in the Iran nuclear program ?

killer drones on way to Anonymous homes right now (2)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297560)

And you thought you knew what your kids were doing in their bedrooms at night.

Is it state funded? (1)

mmalove (919245) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297624)

That should be the question. If it's state supported, then aggressive acts against the US should leave the option of reprisal, be they physical or virtual. However, as often is the case, the power of the state is waning and more often homeless smaller groups are posing as the real threat. You can declare war on drugs or Al Qaeda or other non-state elements all you like, but all it really amounts to is a way to justify to your people that you're cutting their resources/services to go after something with military force. The doctrine is meaningless unless you plan to go up against another recognized country.

This is the Pentagon we are talking about... (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297626)

1. They are making a case for more funding to combat "cyberterrorism".

2. To a hammer everything looks like a nail. To the Pentagon everything look like war.

Recognizing irony key to transcending militarism (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297638)

http://www.pdfernhout.net/recognizing-irony-is-a-key-to-transcending-militarism.html [pdfernhout.net]
"Likewise, even United States three-letter agencies like the NSA and the CIA, as well as their foreign counterparts, are becoming ironic institutions in many ways. Despite probably having more computing power per square foot than any other place in the world, they seem not to have thought much about the implications of all that computer power and organized information to transform the world into a place of abundance for all. Cheap computing makes possible just about cheap everything else, as does the ability to make better designs through shared computing. ...
    There is a fundamental mismatch between 21st century reality and 20th century security thinking. Those "security" agencies are using those tools of abundance, cooperation, and sharing mainly from a mindset of scarcity, competition, and secrecy. Given the power of 21st century technology as an amplifier (including as weapons of mass destruction), a scarcity-based approach to using such technology ultimately is just making us all insecure. Such powerful technologies of abundance, designed, organized, and used from a mindset of scarcity could well ironically doom us all whether through military robots, nukes, plagues, propaganda, or whatever else... Or alternatively, as Bucky Fuller and others have suggested, we could use such technologies to build a world that is abundant and secure for all. "

Where may this lead? (1)

Froeschle (943753) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297644)

So now if some script kiddie, including a US citizen attempts to hack into a US govt system do they now become labeled as "illegal combatants" or "terrorists" subject to having all of their civil rights revoked since our government has declared that "terrorists have no rights"?

Re:Where may this lead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297808)

Now you're catching on.....

Do they want to open that box? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297776)

Because that means we performed an act of war against Iran with the release of that Virus...

When you open a box, it's not a one way street... Your enemies get to use your excuses as well.

yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36297824)

Pentagon: Trust us, they attacked us. Really it was them and they did do it.
Why did the towers turn into dust again?

From the article no one read (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 2 years ago | (#36297968)

"If a cyber attack produces the death, damage, destruction or high-level disruption that a traditional military attack would cause, then it would be a candidate for a 'use of force' consideration, which could merit retaliation."

So just hacking into a system would NOT merit an armed response. Might merit a retaliation in kind, however.

Also, not all cyber-attacks would be over the internet. Not all systems that are networked are reachable over the internet. The internet itself runs over other networks, but they often aren't reachable from the internet.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?