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"Cyber War" Is Just the Latest Grab for Defense Money

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the monocle-polishing-terrorists-are-stealing-our-yachts dept.

Security 161

New submitter Curseyoukhan writes "The phrase 'cyber war' is being used to scare us into coughing up money and liberties, just like 'anarchist' once was, and 'terror' still is. To quote H.L. Mencken, 'The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.'"

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First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855669)

You guys are slow today

Goverment Politics - Old Or New TROLL Tactics. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855673)


Most people are wising up to the antics of the media. People are starting to ask professional coders, system operators, and IT specialist about WHAT REALLY IS HAPPENING.

Your war isn't with the imagination of enemy forces. It's with the people who really control the internet. THE USERS! Who are in turn the people WHO PAY you to raise up the horseshit campaigns.

KILL THE POLITICIANS and LAWYERS!!! and let the world govern itself!

Is this a US thing? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855677)

Cause I've not heard the phrase "cyber war" being bandied about like the wars on terror/drugs/etc have been.

Everything in the USA is a "war". (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855755)

Americans are a very curious species. There are two things you should know about them:

1) Most Americans have never experienced real war of any sort. This includes those in the military, even those who have served in various conflicts, and even those who have killed during said conflicts. (Much of this killing has been done at great distances using missiles or munitions released by planes or drones, and was thus quite impersonal.)

2) Most Americans have a so-called "boner for war". This is especially true of those who self-identify as "Republicans", but many who identify as "Democrats" are equally afflicted.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of these people, and they have thus acquired much power within the American political system. To them, anything and everything they don't like needs to be crushed in a "war".

It doesn't matter whether their target is alcohol or drugs or Islam or homosexuality or affordable health care or free speech on the Internet. To them, "war" is the only solution possible, and they'll refer to "war" incessantly when discussing such topics.

Re:Everything in the USA is a "war". (1, Funny)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855795)

[citation needed]

Re:Everything in the USA is a "war". (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855849)

Sounds like you want to start a war on wars.

Re:Everything in the USA is a "war". (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856555)

Now they want a war on drugs. A war on DRUGS! They ought to start a war on war! --Mojo Nixon, Burn Down The Mall

Re:Everything in the USA is a "war". (3, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857047)

Re:Everything in the USA is a "war". (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858155)

Mod parent funny! "Liberal pinko!" Of course, Gingrich probably would call someone like him a liberal. He and Perry and Paul would probably be against the interstate highway, too.

Wonderful sarcasm.

Re:Is this a US thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855989)

At the movies yesterday (Australia, Avengers) there was a flashy advert recruiting for the Defence Signals Directorate Cyberwarfare Squad or some such crap.

Ah yes here it is. []

I hope it is the obvious money grab it looks like, because the people this sucks in are going to be complete fuckwits.

Re:Is this a US thing? (3, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856647)

They're doing it in the UK too : Web War II: What a future cyberwar will look like [] ; and on the BBC. I wonder if it's just a few select plants in their newsroom, whether they are just being fed this stuff unwittingly, or whether their legendary neutrality is being eroded at an institutional level.

Re:Is this a US thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39858003)

Sure you have. Christians and the global warming crowd use this same tactic, just with different words. If people are scared then they will give you power and money.

Hobgoblins! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855681)

has anyone considered this latest Hobgoblin threat to the United States' civil security? We need to begin deploying elven rangers at our borders. It's the only way to be sure. I propose an Elven Archer High Command, taking pieces from DoHS, DOD, NSA, FBI, and other agencies which are clearly not as focused on the Hobgoblin threat as they need to be. We cannot allow American lives to be thrown away by caving into the Hobgoblin agenda.

Re:Hobgoblins! (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855705)

We just need Spiderman.

Re:Hobgoblins! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855875)

I like vagina.

Re:Hobgoblins! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39858171)

How do you know? You've never seen one.

Re:Hobgoblins! (4, Funny)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855917)


No no.

No no no.

We must begin deploying DWARF (Designated Warfare Advance Recon Forces) to defend against the hobgoblin menace. The best part is that all we need to send seven of them out with just a pickaxe and an axe and they are quite adept at constructing fortresses to defend against the hobgoblin menace. With a little bit of oversight we can make sure to avoid the lava cataclysm events that DWARF is prone to causing.

Re:Hobgoblins! (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856111)

A pickaxe and an axe? Just a piece of bismuthinite, a piece of cassiterite, a couple of pieces of tetrahedrite, a random rock. They can rip apart their wagon and build an axe from the wood in it.

Re:Hobgoblins! (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856565)

Well, people used to bad-mouth the Bear Patrol back when it started too. But I submit to you that we haven't had a single person killed in a U.S. city by a bear since it began. You can't argue with success.

Seriously? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855685)

While I do agree that it is in the military's best interests to keep things rolling financially, make no mistake in the fact that cyber criminals and foreign nations are actively penetrating and stealing sensitive information from the United States as well as other countries.

Re:Seriously? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855731)

As usual with war in the 21th century, the most active aggressor is the United States. For God and Freedom, the United States are actively bombing, invading several countries, and be sure that United States are also making war on the cyber arena.

I will not disclose which country I work for - it's a small western nation - but still our defensive forces identify and stop thousands of orchestrated attacks from the US each month. It's a silent war, and it's fought on a massive scale. I don't even want to speculate on the extent of targeted US industrial cyber spionage on other nations companies.

Be sure the United States is the world's primary Cyber aggressor.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855907)

In the USA we always hear the main aggressor is China.

Re:Seriously? (0)

xianzombie (123633) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856223)

Don't you mean Iran? Or was it North Korea?

All of the above (2)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858183)

Can you imagine a world where it's possible for there to actually be ideals that are opposed to principles of freedom and democracy, and where the US isn't to blame for everything bad that happens? I know this would be a stretch from your comfortable worldview which probably holds that the only reason the US and/or West has any "enemies" is because we make them ourselves. I'm sure if the US didn't exist after WWII, Western European nations would all be in a happy place and the world would be a peaceful utopia.

Wake up. The US isn't perfect and the world is a complex place, but I hope you never have to live under the tyranny and oppression which you indirectly and implicitly defend with ignorant comments implying that the US just "makes up" adversaries for no good reason than to make war and line pockets. Take a look at history. Or reality. Either would do.

Re:Seriously? (1)

AnonyMouseCowWard (2542464) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856293)

And Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857317)

For this aspect of things, that would be an accurate statement. They're responsible for a lot of state sponsored attacks on our digital infrastructure.

It is (2)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858081)

First, a backdrop, beginning with the fact that China is on track to exceed US military spending by 2025 [] :

Chinese Insider Offers Rare Glimpse of U.S.-China Frictions []

"The senior leadership of the Chinese government increasingly views the competition between the United States and China as a zero-sum game, with China the likely long-range winner if the American economy and domestic political system continue to stumble, according to an influential Chinese policy analyst. China views the United States as a declining power, but at the same time believes that Washington is trying to fight back to undermine, and even disrupt, the economic and military growth that point to China’s becoming the world’s most powerful country."

Asia's balance of power: China’s military rise []

"NO MATTER how often China has emphasised the idea of a peaceful rise, the pace and nature of its military modernisation inevitably cause alarm. As America and the big European powers reduce their defence spending, China looks likely to maintain the past decade’s increases of about 12% a year. Even though its defence budget is less than a quarter the size of America’s today, China’s generals are ambitious. The country is on course to become the world’s largest military spender in just 20 years or so."

China’s military rise: The dragon’s new teeth []

And now on to what's happening every day in US academic and business environments:

How China Steals Our Secrets []

China's Cyber Thievery Is National Policy—And Must Be Challenged []

FBI Traces Trail of Spy Ring to China []

NSA: China is Destroying U.S. Economy Via Security Hacks []

Former cybersecurity czar: Every major U.S. company has been hacked by China []

China Attacked Internet Security Company RSA, Cyber Commander Tells SASC []

Chinese Counterfeit Parts Keep Flowing []

China Corporate Espionage Targets U.S. Firms []

U.S. Official on Cyber Attacks: "It's Getting Harder for China's Leaders to Claim Ignorance" []

China's Role In JSF's Spiraling Costs []

...and I could continue. A lot.

But yes, I guess China isn't really a threat, and doesn't view the West as a threat. China is really our "friend", and they don't really espouse ideals dramatically different than those of the West, don't really spam public internet services to suppress what they view as dissent [] , or ramp up coordinated cyber attacks [] , or make their lawyers swear oath to the Communist Party [] , or force real name registration on internet services [] , or censor social networks when deemed necessary [] .

Just because there's hype around "cyber war" doesn't mean it's not a legitimate threat.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855741)

Yup, the horse is out of the barn on this one, isn't it. Made even more sad by the fact that cyber war won't be won with multi-billion dollar fighters and bombers and humvees, but that is what those clowns in the Pentagon keep asking for. In Defense, they should get rid of all the brass that hasn't been in an actual shooting war; kick them out with 80% of their pension, put in some strategists who are in the 21st century and some nerds to do the fighting.

Oh, and get out of Germany. The beer is safe, trust me.

Re:Seriously? (2)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855893)

Of course that's true. But the cost of making defense networks secure is trivial compared to the cost of developing a new weapon system or surveiling the world.

Re:Seriously? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856797)

Foreign nations are actively penetrating and stealing sensitive information from the United States

That fact that the sensitive info is on a public network, or networks connected to the internet, is reason enough to believe there is incompetence involved. Incompetence is the largest factor in a compromised network.

If you don't want your fruit picked, don't leave it so close to the ground.

Re:Seriously? (2)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858195)

That fact that the sensitive info is on a public network, or networks connected to the internet, is reason enough to believe there is incompetence involved.

It doesn't work that way. Outside of the DoD, just about everything is connected to the Internet these days; workers expect to have access to the Internet for research while they work, or so that they can take breaks during the day and read their personal email.

The fact that you can't make an inbound connection to those computers (because of firewalls, etc.) doesn't matter. Somebody emails the person a trojan movie. That trojan extracts the actual movie, then opens it to distract the user while it creates a new admin account, opens up a PPP over SSH connection on port 80 to some server in [insert random country here], and enables routing between that PPP connection and the intranet. That night, when nobody is paying attention, the bad guys begin looking around the system for interesting information, probing other systems connected to the network, and so on.

As for "cyber war" being a grab for defense money, as long as it results in a decrease in money available for all the other money grabs, I'm all for it. For the most part, those of us in the tech industry know what needs to be done to make computing more secure, and as engineers, we'll fight any attempts to subvert that with useless tech that harms privacy or prevents getting work done. Thus, this "cyber war" is mostly upside. The money was going to get wasted anyway. Society might as well waste it on something that we'll collectively refuse to implement instead of on porno scanners or newer, better military jets that the DoD doesn't want.

This isn't news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855689)

This isn't news...

Yawn. (4, Insightful)

coldfarnorth (799174) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855691)

You are preaching to the choir, sir.

Is the Information Superhighway in danger? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855693)

Maybe you're not worried about the safety of the Information Superhighway, but I sure am. When I go surfing in cyberspace, I want to know that I'm protected. The World Wide Web can be a dangerous place, but if you take some precautions it'll be safe sailing all the way.

Re:Is the Information Superhighway in danger? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855771)

You just to create some synergy by leveraging the Best Practices of both Open Source and Proprietary Technologies.

And wear a condom.

How about we taxpayers... (2, Insightful)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855699)

...tell the government where to spend our taxes. Me regarding the taxes I pay, your regarding the taxes you pay. Extrapolate that out to realize what all else gets fixed. If you don't trust the people, then you probably support rigged elections. Does a politician who does not follow through with their campaign promises that people voted for them for, represent the people? No Taxation without representation. I'd rather realize results as being representative rather than some a person claiming to represent me.

The value of defense is more often to protect yourself from those you suspect of retaliation of the wrongs you've done against them. go figure what the cyper war crap is really about.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (5, Insightful)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855789)

...tell the government where to spend our taxes. Me regarding the taxes I pay, your regarding the taxes you pay.

Only problem is what to do about things that nobody wants to think about paying for despite the fact that they have to be funded. Often these are things that don't require a lot of money (can you think of anyone who wants to fund the retirement plans of federal auditors?) but without them all sorts of things just fall apart over time.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (-1, Offtopic)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855923)

All or nothing .... right? wow you got a 5 for what?

Re:How about we taxpayers... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856073)

He actually got a 5 for pointing out that there are a lot of essential services that the government provides that we have no real understanding of. Whether that's good or bad is beside the point that he's making.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (0)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856289)

No he didn't. He got a 5 for dismissing a valid solution with a simple smart as remark. This is slashdot.

Understand what the word extrapolation means. It mean you have to think, work out the details of how this works.

I.E. its not all or nothing as he clearly insinuates as well as insinuating that nobody wants to participate in democracy. Try asking people randomly off the street if they would like to tell government where to spend their money if you want a real answer.

So we create a form that is included with our tax returns instructing government where to spend our taxes and on that form there are allocations listed as well as fill in the blank

Since he doesn't want to think and for those like him/her. you can check off a box that says "let the government decide" for me. But not everyone will do that.

Ever hear of this things called Free Open Source Software? Check it out, how it works.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (1)

Jmanamj (1077749) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856761)

Crowd sourcing the government is now a Valid Solution. This is Slashdot.

The tax forms would fill ten 6" binders. I'm not extrapolating. Even if there were only five options to fund, this would be a bad idea. People would only give money to the things they want/think are best, which would never balance out. We don't have direct democracy for similar reasons. Also, people want to get involved with Democracy by applying ridiculously simple solutions that ignore the whole of the issue, and often create new problems.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (2)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856883)

The only reason we don't have direct democracy is because it's never been tried because it's never been possible in the history of the world until now. The thundering herd would wise up after a few misteps at first. I'd way rather try direct democracy over the illusionist representative democracy we have now.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857205)

As a reminder, a lot of things were said about Free Open Source Software, that this or that would happen, that it needed this other or that other and of course "it'll never work" and plenty more. But against all these speculations... it works. And it provides a working model of how participatory democracy can work within this Republic of the United States. Also there is local, state and federal government where taxes are levied and collected, so things can be sorted out on the local levels in getting this going, so that no major mistakes happen at the federal level. In analogy this is how politicians get into politics and move up. Maybe start out with taxpayers directing 10% of the taxes they pay will also help people get use to such participating but ultimately more. It becomes the responsibility of government to make education material available as to what and why they need tax funding. and as has been said elsewhere, participation works better than being subjected to.

And the ultimate bonus for Congress, they can take more vacations when we take budgeting is off their plate.... shrug..

Re:How about we taxpayers... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856871)

Either the forms directly control how the taxes are spent, in which case people will tend to defend institutions based on what they think the institution does (not necessarily what it actually does) or the tax allocation forms are just suggestions, and will be roughly as effective as writing a letter to your congresspeople once per year.

Also free open source software only works when private enterprise backs it. So, yeah, perfect example.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (4, Insightful)

richieb (3277) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855831)

"..tell the goverment".

That means that you should be calling your Congress person. Are you? The elected representative is the guy/gal who determines how the money is spent.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856165)

We can instruct government at the time of filing tax returns and the tax return processors can then allocate it.
We can remove congresses budgeting problem of, by us doing it instead.

This really is a very simple solution but some just don't know how to realistically extrapolate it all out to realize all the benefits and corrections. These are the one who might also think the way to do math is to memorize the times table and all other answers rather than understand the mathematical tool set from which extrapolation can be done.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856903)

...This really is a very simple solution...


Have you ever looked at a national budget document? Even summarized to a high level it's a few hundred pages long!

Would you be willing to fill out another 100 pages of boxes indicating the items you want the government to use your money to fund? Or will you just ignore the thousands of government projects, programmes and services and just ask them to put all your tax into whatever is your favourite cause for the day. What happens if everyone does that? Everyone has a favourite cause, it may not be the most expensive, it may not even be actually useful! ( e.g. How many people will be willing to for their local tax to be used giving their street a nicer sidewalk?) But, under your system, it would get most of the funding, leaving aforementioned Ferderal auditors penniless.

It's easy to make any idea sound amazing and obvious when you don't actually have to take the time to consider how it will be implemented.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (2)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855833)

Politician don't represent the people and they shouldn't, they are elected because the majority of the voting population thinks they can do a better job. The problem with politicians today is that they try to represent the population which leads to pandering and appeasement instead of solutions. The best sports teams don't follow the fans advice the saying goes "If you listen to the fans you will soon be sitting with the fans".

Re:How about we taxpayers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856091)

"...the problem with politicians today is that they try to represent the population..."

What country are you in? Clearly its not the US.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856179)

No Taxation without Representation.... look it up.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856957)

Where should I look that up? It's not in the Constitution or any other legal document.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (1)

Ronin Developer (67677) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856321)

Say what? We elect politicians because we WANT them to represent us. THAT is their DUTY.

Yes, we want them to do a better job than their predecessor. And, we want them to vote their conscience - provided that it is truly best for the people they are supposed to represent.

Problem is, for far too many, it becomes about money and power. They abuse the system and people they represent. They spend more time trying to get reflected and not enough time solving our real problems. They become corrupt.

Others try to do good only to get squashed by the former - they are nullified. They become disillusioned.

And, we, as Americans, want instant gratification and will flip flop to the other side before the representatives or policies actually have time to work. Throw in someone spreading FUD or claiming a moral high-ground and people wonder why our government is failing us so badly.

And, no, you couldn't convince me to run - not unless I were a Sith.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856723)

The Declaration of Independence has instructions for the people, written by the experienced and wise founders of this country (Republic of the United States of America). They foresaw the probability of corrupt government and recognized the Peoples right and duty to put off such government and replace it with whet a system that adheres to the intents of the founders in protecting the interest of the people.

This really rather exposing of the corruption that has become of slashdot posters. I wonder how many actually know sourceforge and slashdot are related.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856741)

Politician don't represent the people and they shouldn't

So tell me again why many of them have the job title of "Representative"? They're job is to give the people what they want - that's not "pandering" or "appeasement", that's democratic representation serving their constituents. They may have to balance several demands at once, and argue over how to make their demands a reality, but they are definitely supposed to be focused on doing what the voters want them to do.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856947)

There is no mandate that politicians do what voters want them to do.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856599)

How about I when I tell the government that I'd like 100% of my taxes to be spent on a tax credit for me? Of course, I still expect everybody else around me to pay for roads and other government services I use every day, but that's not my problem, right?

The basic problem of government is that everybody wants services, but nobody wants to pay for them. You can see that in California's state government, where Prop 13 prevents the government from raising taxes for any reason, but other ballot issues require the government to provide a litany of services without explaining where the money comes from. People, if given the chance, seem to vote for insolvent government.

Now, I agree the federal government spends a great deal on things I thoroughly disagree with, but that's not going to be solved by your proposal.

Re:How about we taxpayers... (2)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858143)

People, if given the chance, seem to vote for insolvent government.

It is better to have poor government and rich citizens than vice versa.

Poor government is a self-solving problem. No money? They have whole blocks of cities that are full of bureaucrats. Get rid of them. If the entire government of California disappears overnight nobody will even notice. People don't need the government to live; it's an add-on layer that provides fewer and fewer services every year for more and more money. Now they are talking about spending $100B on a train, as if there is anyone who wants to travel light (the Central Valley is an agricultural place, which implies a lot of transportation of bulky goods.)

Poor citizenry, unfortunately, is not a self-solving problem. Just look at the Soviet Union. People were taxed at 99% (invisibly to them, of course) but the government was rich. This led to massive waste of resources on projects like turning rivers around.

Prop 13 prevents the government from raising taxes

Without Proposition 13 many Californians would be losing their homes. Is this what you want? Governments can raise taxes to such high levels that homeowners can't keep paying them. You may live in a house that was built many years ago by your ancestors. You have not much money yourself, but there is no mortgage. So you are OK. Now the tax man comes and says "This here residence, with so many windows and doors, must be about $10M on the open market today, so your tax would be $100K yearly." What are you going to do? The house is not an investment, it doesn't pay dividends or interest. It can't pay for itself. There would be only one thing: to sell your house and to buy something smaller. Who benefits from kicking you off of of your family property, other than the government?

Re:How about we taxpayers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857025)

As the article says, it's about siphoning money from taxpayers. So was the war on commonism, maybe the war on drugs, the war on terror, asteroid threats, and alien invasion threats. The last two not having happened yet.

No. Fucking. Shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855707)

+200 Obvious for the submitter.

Hobgoblins (1)

MadRat (774297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855713)

Those that offer the solutions are the Hobgoblin.

Re:Hobgoblins (1)

MadRat (774297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855719)

And the little elves in the workshop look identical.

Re:Hobgoblins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855767)

They do 1d100 *10^ (1d8)$ of damage by hit

Arguably even worse than that... (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855765)

There is an unfortunate additional quirk in this case: Since, naturally, the 'cyberwarriors' don't want to be stuck purely in the tedious and thankless job of playing defense, there is a demand for 'offensive capabilities'. This creates a perverse incentive: If a flaw is disclosed and patched or mitigated, it is no longer of offensive utility, so now the market for zero-days and exploit payloads isn't just black hats, scammers, and criminals; but 'respectable' defense industry types.

This is not a merely theoretical problem [] .

VUPEN [] is the crass, attention-whoring, bad-boy of the industry; but practically the entire who's-who of staid, tight-lipped, defense contractors has a division peddling bugs somewhere in the business.

Even if we were 100% warm and fuzzy about the use these exploits are being put to by these firms customers(Only the good guys, pinkie swear!), this situation is insane from the perspective of actual 'security'. Whose economies, financial systems, and infrastructure depend most heavily on complex IT systems? Ummm, mostly wealthy developed countries. Whose citizens are most vulnerable to electronic compromise of financial information and such? Countries with high rates of internet penetration and lots of computers. Who has the capability to deploy electronic attacks against unpatched vulnerabilities? Virtually everyone.

In addition to the usual grab for rights and money, this 'cybersecurity' industry begets insecurity, because of the demand for 'offensive capabilities', despite the fact that we are the ones with the most to lose in an insecure environment. At least classic corporate welfare military R&D is merely expensive, and once you hand over the money, Raytheon or whoever goes off to build some impractical toy that is largely useless; but at least largely harmless....

Move along citizen (3, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855785)

We've always been at war with Eastasia.

Re:Move along citizen (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855801)

Or was it Eurasia? What week is this? DOUBLEPLUSUNGOOD!

Re:Move along citizen (1)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855823)

Arrr, yes! Eastasia and their terror-muslin-children-eating terrorists. Let's bomb them all!

We cannot allow (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855813)

We cannot allow a cyber-war gap.

Corporatocracy (2)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855815)

Whether you like it or not, practically anything government-related today is tied back to corporations.

The truth is there *is* a cyber war issue, just as there is a terror issue and yes, even a drug issue that needs to be addressed (meth).

What get's confused is the border between appropriate action and sponsored action. What's appropriate today is spend billions on contractors hoping the problem will go away, and less smart allocation.

Bloat's always been a part of government, but today we're seeing an extremely stark privatization of public money, and externalization of corporate cost in public debt...

People do not want to hear that (4, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855817)

I recently gave a talk on Cyberwar, with the main conclusion that there is nothing new here or nothing more scary than the targeted attacks we have increasingly seen in the last few years. Defense against "Cyberwar" is the same as against any other targeted IT attack. Even Stuxnet is not impressive at all and the authors made several unnecessary mistakes that jeopardized its mission. (And in addition, it is in no way certain that the damage to the Iranian centrifuges was even caused by Stuxnet. The Iranis had started using their own parts in the centrifuges and "the devil USA did it" may just be politically more opportune than "we do not have the skills to make our own centrifuges" or "we are incompetent to operate centrifuges reliably".)

But guess what? Some people in the audience were offended! Seems to me some people are so in love with their own misconceptions, that they rather be afraid than admit that they were wrong (and that they are not experts on the subject in the first place...). As long as this stupidity continues, the immoral manipulators using these memes will continue to be successful.

Re:People do not want to hear that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855965)

The whole moral question of whether or not anyone is allowed to interfere in the development of technology by other countries is always side-stepped by the US by pointing at a hobgoblin no-one else sees.

Re:People do not want to hear that (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856143)

Have you been paying attention to China's offensive cyber actions? I think you need to wake the hell up.

Re:People do not want to hear that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856373)

not all experts in cyber-security agree with you.

Re:People do not want to hear that (1)

grne (2619911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856487)

I think you'll find most people, especially if they are a diehard 'R' in the USA, will hold to their mainstream-sensationalized beliefs even if the truth has his pants down and is wacking them in the face. It's one of the central reasons of why I can't identify myself with republicans anymore even though I hold a lot of the same beliefs (smaller government, etc).

Re:People do not want to hear that (1)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856921)

Maybe it's not the "R" that makes them intransigent, but the "diehard" as you say.

Re:People do not want to hear that (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857369)

You should ditch the "Republican"/"Democrat" line of thought. Flip sides of the coin, really. As for a "diehard 'R'" holding onto their mainstream-sensationalized beliefs, I think you'll find the other party's participants are quite more guilty of that than the 'R''s...

Re:People do not want to hear that (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858235)

Historically(last 40 years) you would be wrong.

  OTOH, I actually read up on the facts in these issue and not just crap out whatever my gut tells me. You should try it. I will warn you, slaughter sacred cows requires a certain level of opening yourself up.

Re:People do not want to hear that (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858315)

As someone who has watched, monitored, and designed specialized security systems for SCADA, and Financial institutions, you are wrong.

There are global coordinated attacks against many SCADA system, financial system. Other government agencies as well, but those are often much less professional.

"Cyberwar" is defense against large scale coordinated attacks. So, yes the technical merits are 'the same' but in practicability, it is not. We now over large groups buying systems, then using them to test attacks against. The is a lot different then 5 kids looking for maligned SQL attacks.
Both are important, but both are different.

You post really reeks of ignorance. OTOH, it's just a /. post and I didn't see you talk.

Stuxnet idea is interesting. IT flies against the data I have scene cross my desk. Any good citations?

Not imaginary... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39855829)

... certainly overblown.

"Cyber warfare" is and will be an effective tool in any conflict. Why blow up a telcom if you can simply take it down remotely? The intelligence aspects of such activity are staggering.

However the fact that it is a money grab is obvious. Go to Annapolis Junction, Maryland. Look at the offices there. Hole. Lee. Shit. The place is absolutely overflowing with money.... most is all oriented to cyber efforts. Boeing. Northrup Grumman. Raytheon. BAE Systems. All of these dinosaurs are jumping in with both feet.

Fact is that cyber efforts can be done far cheaper and more effective than these fossils with their over paid TS/SCI 10am-4pm legions of mediocre programmers could ever accomplish.

Cyber education would yield better results (1)

techsimian (2555762) | more than 2 years ago | (#39855995)

People might patch things more and stop helping out Nigerian princes.

The real upcoming war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856089)

The reality is that the next global war is going to be about food, but not between countries. The war will be fought by the likes of Nestlé, Kraft, Kellogg, etc.

And the super villain, beating the evil of all of these companies combined, is Monsanto.

BitCoin Mining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856097)

Getting ready to harvest the replacement for the Dollar,
after their spending is approved.

Not all threats are hobgoblins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856137)

While many "threats" to the USA and the west in general has been manufactured, blown out of proportion or handled horribly, the fact remains that there ARE threats. And that is important to note. The solution is not to ignore ALL threats, but to ignore the constructed ones, and handle the real ones properly. I know it is much easier to live in a black-or-white world, where either all threats are imagined, or all threats are real. But such a world-view will not do anyone any favours. The USA IS under threat. The USA is NOT invulnerable. And while the solution is not to become paranoid, the solution is neither to believe that everything will end in sunshine and rainbows just as long as you put your heads into the sand. Just because certain people keep crying wolf without any wolfs coming, doesn't mean that there isn't any wolfs. It just means that you should be careful about who you listen to, and actually spend time on understanding the issues and make your own informed opinion.

But I am probably asking too much. Spending time on getting an informed opinion is probably too much to ask of the median American. But with the quality of your media[1], who can blame you? Maybe you need to get some better systems up and running. I know it probably isn't popular, but getting media primarily state-funded (which is independent of any corporate interests) like the BBC might just be a good idea. Or maybe something which is more suited to the USA, I don't know. Just as long as you get a system up and running that doesn't promote ignorance of the world.


Anarchist? You mean 'communist' (1)

BarfooTheSecond (409743) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856221)

Like during this huge and often ridiculous witch hunt in the USA during cold-war. Fear your neighbor, frear!
(Not that the other party was without well imaged propaganda against evil US imperialism)

Not so fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856367)

Anarchy has been the go-to boogyman for governments since the dawn of organized coercion. In all likelyhood it was the very first "enemy" of the state. And it makes perfect sense: anarchy does NOT mean "no rules" (as government teaches you); anarchy means no rulers. That is the LAST thing government wants you thinking about (the fact that rules can exist without organized coercion, i.e. rulers).

Re:Anarchist? You mean 'communist' (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856765)

Google "Sacco and Vanzetti"

Re:Anarchist? You mean 'communist' (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856977)

Google "Sakka and Aang"

Of course it's just a bullshit grab (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856357)

Almost all of "defense" spending has nothing to do with defense.

You mean the History Channel lied? (2)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856447)

The whole WWII think was made up? Damn! I knew Granddad told some whoppers, but I swallowed that one hook, line, and sinker.

Pearl Harbor, Bataan (my great-uncle must have faked his death), Nazi's, and Holocaust were all imaginary. Go figure.

Next you're going to tell me the Great Depression was fake too.

Re:You mean the History Channel lied? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857403)

The "cyberwar's trumped up" line is the one that Democrats and other Liberals like to trot out to de-emphasize the problem that really exists. It's all about "racisim" and the like, you know (never mind that most of them are more racist than the people they're tarring with that brush...). We have no security concerns and things like the border is secure and TSA is needed...

a large part of the economy is politics (1)

drknowster (946686) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856503)

politicians feel that they must do something for all the money they get ,is this a last ditch effort before we make them all redundant , we should !

You are mistaken (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856575)

This [] is the latest grab for defence money. Cyberwarfare is getting old enough that some people will start to believe in it for the sole reason that they heard it so many times.

All too secret (1)

glorybe (946151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856589)

Most of us probably know at least one person employed in computer defence by the government and there obviously is a very real need. But that is as far as our knowledge gets us. We have no way at all to know the size, costs or numbers of employees dedicated to stopping cyber attacks against our nation. So we go to vote without information. No way to make a good decision to vote for more or less cyber security expenses is at hand. The same is true across the spectrum of military affairs. For example how useful are tanks expected to be in conflicts in the near future? We don't know. What is the supply of tanks like right now? We don't know. Do our best tanks have clearly superior abilities from potential enemy weapons. We don't have a clue. What is out tank research budget? Sorry that's classified. Now children run and vote for whether the military gets more money or not as you are so up to date on our military abilities and equipment. Freedom and democracy do not exist when state secrets are allowed to exist.

so just pay for it (1)

Dr. Tom (23206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856697)

The big difference that makes this silly is how cheap it is to fix these problems. We've got technical solutions for all security issues, but nobody uses them. Fire the programmers who get caught writing buffer overflow vulnerabilities. This is like firing building contractors who use substandard nails. After the roof blows off it's too late. Don't let your inspectors get away with being bribed. Don't tolerate substandard work. All these problems have been solved, we just have to fire the idiots who don't use them. Liability, anyone? When a building falls down, who is responsible? God? Or the architect and building contractors? Just stop letting your engineers get away with, what we should now consider to be, criminal negligence. Seriously, storing passwords in the clear? You're fired!

Re:so just pay for it (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858215)


Before doing that, we should make it a requirement to get a professional Engineering certificate and sign off on projects.

That means people will have to sign off on projects, so if management pushes something, and the engineer doesn't sign off and t ships? it's the managers ass.

The engineering culture needs to be embraced, and the classic geek cowboy culture needs to be let go.

With out this, you will be next to impossible to even find the specific coder responsible for a bug, and it will be impossible to get large systems designed properly.

Cheaper than welfare (1)

billybob_jcv (967047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856949)

If it gives all the WoW kiddies a job, I'm all for it.

Re:Cheaper than welfare (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858179)

The largest demographics of WoW players is women ion their 40s.

The more you know.

Also, welfare isn't as expensive as you think.

From one end of the spectrum of hype to the other (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856983)

Are things as dire as the gov't and media regularly portray them? Probably not. Such hype gives the pendulum a push towards one direction. Are there real dangers out there from terrorists and politically motivated crackers? Yes. To discount them entirely as "imaginary" is simply asinine and reeks of the conspiracy theory mindset. That is the push from other side of the swing which sets up the oscillation. And when a pendulum swings, it spends more of it's time at the extreme ends than it does in the middle, where balance, moderation, temperance, and common sense dwell. I just wish they'd leave the damn thing alone.

Dumb summary (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857537)

Quotes like this are so dumb:

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

First of all this doesn't belong in a summary since it's purely opinion.

But second, it's a silly opinion. People don't wake up in the morning and think, "I'm going to menace the population with hobgoblins!" What people do think is things like, "we need to write a good ad for this anti-virus software (so I can get a good bonus)," or, "my ass is on the line if we get hacked. There's no sure defense so I'd at least better look like I'm doing everything I can."

What Mencken is claiming is, at best, an emergent property. In this case it doesn't even apply, since computer security threats are perfectly real.

Summary (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858061)

> "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

Imaginary? Seriously? I guess there are two extreme wings for every opinion. You could probably argue reasonably well that the threats are "overblown" or "exaggerated". You'd have a hard time arguing that it's not important to secure our computer infrastructure. And you'd have an even worse time arguing that computer threats won't increase during the next major war. But, to call them "imaginary" instead of "exaggerated" seems like you're intentionally trying to say something provocative (and wrong).

except that (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39858145)

1) million of attempts are made every month on US Government, and industrial systems.

2)And we have had system compromised by foreign attempts frequently.

3) It';s the military's role to protect against those threats

None of that is speculation, none of the is fear mongering. Those are are facts.

So, not it isn't the same as anarchist, of the red scare.

And the war on drugs is a completely separate issue, stop bringing it up.

Now, we can discuss where the line is, and discuss people using those facts to do things we don't want them to do, but don't pretend like they are made up threats.

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