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Bruce Schneier: A Cyber Cold War Could Destabilize the Internet

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the slavery-is-freedom dept.

China 124

moon_unit2 writes "In an op-ed piece over at Technology Review, Bruce Schneier says that the cyber espionage between the U.S., China, and other nations, has been rampant for the past decade. But he also worries that the media frenzy over recent attacks is fostering a new kind of Internet-nationalism and spurring a cyber arms race that has plenty of negative side-effects for the Internet and its users. From the piece: 'We don't know the capabilities of the other side, and we fear that they are more capable than we are. So we spend more, just in case. The other side, of course, does the same. That spending will result in more cyber weapons for attack and more cyber-surveillance for defense. It will result in move government control over the protocols of the Internet, and less free-market innovation over the same. At its worst, we might be about to enter an information-age Cold War: one with more than two "superpowers." Aside from this being a bad future for the Internet, this is inherently destabilizing.'"

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"cyber cold war" (5, Funny)

logjon (1411219) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161195)

"Cyber war," "cyber attack," "cyber weapons," cyber fuck yourself. Cyber seriously.

Re:"cyber cold war" (1)

oPless (63249) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161525)

Go go go script kiddies.

Bugger off and stop clogging the intertubes!

Re:"cyber cold war" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43162577)

No shit, eh? Ridiculous.

Re:"cyber cold war" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43163293)

Actually, you just rephrased much of what Schneider says in the article.

Our hypotheticals can beat their hypotheticals (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161203)

Hypothetically.

Cold War I was real; so is Cold War II (5, Insightful)

hessian (467078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161207)

I must respectfully disagree with Schnier on this one.

A cyber Cold War doesn't come about without another Cold War having occurred first.

In this case, Cold War II is playing out between NATO, the Russians the Chinese.

Just like Cold War I, this one is rooted in a practical geopolitical concern: who will be the ruling superpower for the next century?

Expect a Cold War II, if you're lucky. If not, expect WWIII, which will probably be more limited than the last two but still devastating.

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161289)

Too bad I just used up all my mod points. Spot on.

Re:Cold War I was real; so is Cold War II (5, Insightful)

Dragoness Eclectic (244826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161383)

"Cold War" is so 20th-century. In the 19th century, they called the same kind of schenanigans "The Great Game" -- it involved Great Britain, Russia, and Germany at the time. I have no idea what they called it in the 18th century, but it involved England and France, and a lot of hot wars between the periods of peace.

Now China is playing the Great Game with us, and Russia is playing it with Europe.

Re:Cold War I was real; so is Cold War II (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161445)

WWIII will be more limited?
Duration, yes.
Casualties, maybe not.

Total WW2 deaths - 48 million.

Current Populations:
Pyongyang - 3.2 million
Seoul - 10.5 million
Tokyo - 13.2 million
Shanghai - 23 million
Beijing - 20.1 million

Total for 5 major cities - 70 million
The total population in the immediate area is near 1 billion.

Re:Cold War I was real; so is Cold War II (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162583)

I guess you just forgot to add these:

New York - 8 million
Los Angeles - 4 million
Chicago - 3 million

Who was it who said:
"One death is a tragedy - 85 million deaths is a statistic"

Re:Cold War I was real; so is Cold War II (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162651)

85 million is just for a few major cities. Even Uncle Joe didn't have anything to say about billions. It's one thing to starve a few million in the middle of a breadbasket, or kill 'em with the secret police or gulags, but billions? What's the point in being a dictator if there's nobody left to be a dictator of?

Re:Cold War I was real; so is Cold War II (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161465)

I don't know that I'd call this a "cold" war. The Cold War was a conflict of bluff and counter-bluff, accompanied by skirmish-by-proxy, backing little wars between alleged allies.

What we have now is a real, direct - if mostly unacknowledged - conflict between principals. It's roughly at the stage where the opposing forces disguise themselves in animal skins, charge, and pummel the opposition because they haven't yet learned how to do much in the way of actual destruction of lives and property, but there's nothing really "cold" about it.

Re:Cold War I was real; so is Cold War II (4, Insightful)

Looker_Device (2857489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162205)

China's goal isn't destruction of lives and property. It's advancing their economic interests. The U.S. and other countries have that goal too, of course. But very few are going as far as having their military actively conduct heavy corporate espionage to benefit their native companies. The U.S. government may kowtow to corporations, but I can't imagine Apple going to the White House and asking the President to have the U.S. military steal Samsung's next Galaxy phone design for them. This seems to be an everyday thing in China now.

Re:Cold War I was real; so is Cold War II (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162869)

very few are going as far as having their military actively conduct heavy corporate espionage to benefit their native companies

I don't know why China bothers. "American" companies will happily give away their know-how for the promise of a few bucks from a joint venture, or even just the promise of compliant slave labor for their next Chinese factory. Want to know how to build good jet engines? Just call Jeff "Jobs Czar" Immelt at GE and he'll accommodate you.

Since much of it seems to be done by the PLA, maybe it's their equivalent of our military insisting it needs to build up defenses around Seattle in case of a Canadian invasion. Or maybe the problem is that there are a few Chinese stalwarts who just can't believe it's this easy. Kind of like to thief who insists on picking the lock while his accomplice just walks through the unlocked back door. Or perhaps it's a matter of sport, which when it comes to espionage we certainly don't give them. Try doing it the hard way just for fun, or treat it like a computer game. Maybe even keep your skills in shape in case someday an adversary doesn't make it so easy.

Re:Cold War I was real; so is Cold War II (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43163589)

Quite a lot if it is about obtaining confidential financial data that they can leverage to improve their position, especially in the case of takeover / merger / investment talks. A lot of these have "mysteriously" fallen through, then the Western company finds out they were hacked around that time ...

They NEED a perpetual cold war / threat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43162275)

YES, EXPECT IT. -The illuminati, royal bloodlines, and corporate mega wealthy types NEED us to be perpetually at war with other so they can CONTROL US

The United States, Russia, and China are all actually REALLY good friends when the COMPLETELY FAKE THEATER ON TV is not being played out.

The original cold war was all a psyop - we were friends with the russians the whole time during the cold war and especially friendly with the nazis - it was hitler who went against the jewish banking cabal. But we sure as fuck loved their scientists and formed NASA with them (yes NASA and their descendants are all NAZIS)

So in short, if the illuminati, royal bloodlines, and corporate mega wealthy types see anything that threatens their reign/kingship (the internet) they will slowly try to kill it (or just kill it outright).

Remember the idea is keeping us under complete control, giving us the illusion we are "free", while begging for our own slavery.

Re:They NEED a perpetual cold war / threat (1)

Arashi256 (1804688) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162647)

You know, I make it a point to ignore posts with randomised capital words. It's the sign of an unbalanced mind or one who is not secure in their argument.

Re:They NEED a perpetual cold war / threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43163093)

You are doing a great job at ignoring it.

You proved his point... (3, Interesting)

Eugriped3z (1549589) | about a year and a half ago | (#43163409)

Schneier points out three things that make sense.

  • Espionage is old news, it's ongoing, and it's hyped beyond reason. ("Cyber-espionage is old news. What’s new is the rhetoric...")
  • We individuals aren't informed by our governments, and our ignorance is preyed upon. ("Unfortunately, both the reality and the rhetoric play right into the hands of the military and corporate interests that are behind the cyberwar arms race in the first place... Arms races are fueled by two things: ignorance and fear.")
  • We're purposely being fed fear, uncertainty and doubt. ("Nationalism is rife on the Internet, and it’s getting worse.")

He then went on to suggest that medi-hype and jingoistic nationalistic rhetoric breed fear, obfuscate ignorance and fuel arms races.

You should be more concerned about what your are being asked to ignore. The systematic dismantling of progressive politics in this country is diminishing social stability by creating a permanent underclass in a country that claims to be the world's most powerful and encouraging a hubris among those who believe they can have everything they ever wanted by leaving our future to the benign management of a formal corporate cleptocracy.

BTW if you really want to give up a little freedom for enhanced security from government or the benevolence of wealthy people who will run things for you, perhaps you should consider hopping over to the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

Anonymity (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161213)

Is the only true freedom we "had" left.

Forcing old world views on the new world? (2, Insightful)

codepigeon (1202896) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161253)

I could just be ill informed, but why do pundits, media, and government officials keep trying to push the idea that you need giant military organizations to lauch an attack (ala nuclear weapon building).

Is it not completely possible that one intelligent man, $300 laptop, and an internet connection be just as "deadly" as any country's electronic warfare unit?

And why this old relic of an idea of a cold war. I am sure that there are many individual actors that are in active attack mode.

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161333)

Is it not completely possible that one intelligent man, $300 laptop, and an internet connection be just as "deadly" as any country's electronic warfare unit?

No.

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (5, Insightful)

vbraga (228124) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161577)

Is it not completely possible that one intelligent man, $300 laptop, and an internet connection be just as "deadly" as any country's electronic warfare unit?

A large organization such a national electronic warfare unit is able to perform more target attacks: obtaining information about the target systems using other means such as human intelligence, coordinating a large team with multiple specialists (an exploit guy, a SCADA engineer, ...), being able to use again human intelligence to infiltrate the target, like bribing a guy to run a software from a USB drive or something like that.

While a single individual might be able to pull a highly targeted attack, it is considerably easier to a large organization to have the necessary budget to hire different specialists, coordinate with other agencies to leverage their resources, and so on.

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (1)

a-zarkon! (1030790) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161701)

You don't need to bribe people, just leave a compromised USB key in the parking lot. Or if you're more industrious, host an industry-specific "lunch and learn" for the target audience. Make sure everyone goes home with a trojan door-prize - iPad, smart phone, camera - something that can deliver your payload and will likely be hooked up to a computer for registration or activation.

Cost of 20 steaks + 20 iPads is pretty affordable, even for a malefactor of limited means.

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (2)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161889)

You're missing the main point --- yes, a single person can find ways to compromise/infiltrate target computers, and cause a bit of random havoc. However, a single person probably doesn't have the time/expertise to cause really serious damage. Suppose your lone warrior breaks into some industrial control computers --- sure, he can set all the electronic valves to random positions and hope to break something; he'll probably set off a bunch of alarms and emergency failsafes, and shut the plant down for a week while they sort things out. Now, however, couple his hacking talent with a team of engineers, a stolen copy of the complete plant design, and a few inside agents at the plant to disable key alarm systems (and personnel): this group can devise a much more devious scheme of controller settings that will completely blow up the plant (and everyone inside) without tripping all the alarms and failsafes first; maybe even make it look like an accident.

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (2)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162361)

In addition, government sanctioned organizations do not get raided the way loners would. For example, the U.S. traced major hacking events back to China's People's Liberation Army. What happened? The U.S. made public angry comments.

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#43163153)

I see your point, but have an equally provocative counterpoint.

Because a major government org is behind such foolishness, and the "enemy" also has such an org, the two orgs will spend inordinate amounts of time and resources, the very things that make them stand out over individual agents, worrying about, analyzing, tracking, and attepting infiltration of each other.

The lone fatguy with the pizza, can of mountain dew, and the cybercafe internet connection is not as heavily monitored. So, while his resources for conducting inside jobs are smaller, if he is serious about his work, and has done his pen testing on a privately owned guinea pig network of his own creation prior, and has made use of good old fashioned botnets and phishing techniques, he could easily hand an unsuspecting/distracted org their balls on a plate.

(Assuming of course, that he knows what he is doing, and evades suspicion while developing and deploying his 0day exploit/rootkit funpack.)

Using a distributed botnet of uninteresting people's connections as a tactical resource, and not for something shamefully moronic like a DDoS, (instead, using the botnet to perform specific types of infiltrations on targeted networks, like forcing new and deadly firmware onto scada hardware, directly compromising military computer assets and adding them to the botnet as a special swarm, etc.) Is where the "single man with the laptop" shines.

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43163405)

You seem to be under the impression that government intelligence agencies are entirely staffed by stupid, bureaucratic incompetents (who would never manage all the clever ideas that Mr. Fatguy invents). Hint: the CIA, NSA, and foreign equivalents are actually *very good* at cloak-and-dagger stuff, and have plenty of very smart people (operating with little public oversight). Whatever Mr. Fatguy can do, so can the CIA/etc.: anonymous home computer botnets around the globe? No problem. Heck, the CIA might even hire a Mr. Fatguy (through a few layers of plausible deniability) to be a pawn in their operations. Consider the Stuxnet attacks: nimble, distributed, undetected for a long time --- not some stereotypical "dumb government bureaucrat" effort.

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161649)

Is it not completely possible that one intelligent man, $300 laptop, and an internet connection be just as "deadly" as any country's electronic warfare unit?

Possible but unlikely assuming by "any country" you mean any country with a decent EWU. I doubt it was just one person who created the stuxnet or flame stuff.

But a very intelligent, knowledgeable and crazy virologist with a million bucks and a reasonably equipped bio lab could be very deadly. More deadly than even a nuke or two.

With all the cyberwar rhetoric the USA can introduce more stupid laws if it wants. China already has plenty.

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161753)

Is it not completely possible that one intelligent man, $300 laptop, and an internet connection be just as "deadly" as any country's electronic warfare unit?

Sure. But one man doesn't scale up as well as a building full of them.
Hence the electronic warfare units.

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161993)

I fully agree and I'll go one better. Is it not completely possible that one superior homo sapien with a $50 costume and some spare time could be just as deadly as any country's conventional army?

All you need is one man who is so superior to everyone, that no collection of national resources can stop him? Why are the governments of the world are overlooking the possibility of superhuman hackers, and superhuman soldiers, and superhuman leaders? Fear. Fear and ignorance. And I will have my revenge!

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162133)

I don't know, but I would be shocked to see Schneier actually make such a claim. I think you misunderstand. While its true, one does not NEED a giant military org to do such things, that doesn't mean that giant military orgs do not HAVE them.

Just this morning I was listening to an interview with a Syrian who claimed he was recruited by the Syrian military for their military units. Its not a matter of whether such units are needed for attacks so much as the fact that they have been created and are indeed operational.

It may seem silly to be talking about cyberweapons but, thats what they are, they are means of attack. Anybody can make them or stockpile them, just like anyone can make guns and or stockpile them. However, there is a serious difference between "anybody could do it" and "groups are doing it and making use of their arsenal on a daily basis".

As for pundits, aside from him, they are mostly uninformed and parrot whatever they are told. When someone talks about cyberwar, they simply don't have the technical chops to question it. I mean, I constantly hear things about how attacks were "traced to china", and it always bothers me because I know how they would do that, and the chances that they really had anything so conclusive? Unlikely.

How many pundits, when told that, would you expect to ask how that was determined? How many would have any clue if they talked about packet latency timing? Do you think it even crosses their mind that it may have been traced to a proxy?

How exactly would researchers distinguish chineese government hackers from non? from professionals in another group or army framing the chineese? These are not trivial questions, I wouldn't expect most talking heads to even know where to begin asking these sorts of questions.

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162143)

Is it not completely possible that one intelligent man, $300 laptop, and an internet connection be just as "deadly" as any country's electronic warfare unit?

That seems to describe the Melissa 'virus'

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162427)

Is it not completely possible that one intelligent man, $300 laptop, and an internet connection be just as "deadly" as any country's electronic warfare unit?
 

Think of it as a matter of scale: If one smart person with a laptop can do X amount of damage to our enemies, 300 smart people with laptops could do 300X damage; 5000 could do 5000X, etc.

Re:Forcing old world views on the new world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43162891)

No, maybe back in 80-90's yes.

That might have been their plan all along... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161265)

Both the US and Chinese governments would love to have control over the internet. They would both love to know what each and every one of their users is up to. Perhaps they are colluding to make this easier for each nation's citizens to swallow.

Re:That might have been their plan all along... (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161459)

There's a conspiracy at all levels of every branch of the government, threatening to undermine the very freedoms America was founded on. It is so pervasive and the agents are so highly trained that they are only detectable in subtle ways. The agents of the conspiracy will never reveal their actions, and it is only by this secrecy that the conspiracy has persisted for so long and affected our government in so many ways. For decades, the American economy has suffered while China's has boomed, and the American people are entitled to know who is responsible for the tremendous economic victory in Asia and the dismal American defeat-the greatest defeat any nation has suffered in war or peace.

It is essential, therefore, that we put the spotlight of exposure on those who are responsible for this disaster. This is important, not for the purpose of exposing past failures, but because those same men are now doing America's planning for the future. Unfortunately they have become so deeply entrenched that almost every power of the Government is used to sabotage any attempt to expose and root them out...

...I have tried to give you the highlights of a difficult and dangerous situation that exists. You have as a flaming backdrop to my remarks the facts of the world as you find them today. Cyberwar is no longer a creeping threat to America. It is a racing doom that comes closer to our shore each day. To resist it we must be intelligently strong.

Such strength will come only from men and women dedicated to the wholehearted defense of democracy. The average American who constitutes the heart and soul of this Nation is so dedicated. We must be sure that those who seek to lead up today are equally dedicated. We cannot survive on half loyalties any more than we can find the facts of conspiracy with half-truths. [teachingam...istory.org]

Re:That might have been their plan all along... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161695)

I think the phrase "citation needed" applies. Otherwise, you've simply written an interesting piece of fiction. Take away my Internet, and what do I get? I can't pay my bills online, and waste time doing things like surfing slashdot. I can't VPN in at high speeds to work. The Internet isn't required to do anything, it's just another way to do something, one tool among many. I can pay my bills via US mail, and the news can exist on old-fashioned things like TV and newspaper. People can talk in person. Phone lines are still phone lines, and you can pass data over them. One question, if Asia is such a great place and has experienced a "tremendous economic victory", then how come I don't want to live there? I love chinese food, for example. Ok, that's a joke, but it is pretty good food.

I am all for working to preserve and enhance the freedoms we have in the United States. But this mythical American defeat you're talking about is just hyperbole.

Re:That might have been their plan all along... (3, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161985)

I think the phrase "Whoosh!" applies.

Fictional hyperbole? Yes. Yes it is, as is the current Chinese cyberwar conspiracy. That is the whole point of quoting Senator McCarthy's 1950 speech almost word-for-word. I did add a bit of introduction and changes references to "Communism" into something more modern, but otherwise the paranoia is his, not mine.

Re:That might have been their plan all along... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43163023)

OK I admit I didn't click on your link, so I was responding to your post as if it was "real"... does anyone click on links on slashdot? Without wearing a condom? So yes, whoosh indeed. If only I had a photographic memory and could recognize modern history speeches.

It is easy to point out how the news / the government / people are idiots. The hard part is what to do about it. How do you keep a government from taking and spending more and more money on the military industrial complex, when people are so easily manipulated?

Re:That might have been their plan all along... (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#43163595)

OK I admit I didn't click on your link, so I was responding to your post as if it was "real"... does anyone click on links on slashdot?

I like to think they do before asking for a citation.

How do you keep a government from taking and spending more and more money on the military industrial complex, when people are so easily manipulated?

You quit assuming that the government is the enemy. The government is made of regular old people. Yes, they can push money off to military causes and vote for spying, but they can also be convinced to fight for privacy. What we should learn from history is that pursuing a government witch hunt doesn't actually improve privacy or advance peace, but instead only makes the targetted officials more likely to engage in fervent sabre-rattling, to demonstrate their devout patriotism.

The way I see it, we're stuck in a cycle where the public doesn't trust the government to keep us safe. There are international and domestic threats that really have been around for centuries, but we're just now realizing that we're vulnerable. The government officials respond to this distrust by jumping on whatever popular demand they see, but what they see is dominated by lobbyists. The members of the public don't write any letters or support any campaigns to counter the lobbyists, because they don't trust the government to follow their demands. Of course, those demands are subject to being easily manipulated, as you mentioned...

The real problem is that people are independent, and have a diverse spectrum of opinions on a diverse spectrum of issues. When the political winds blow against our particular ideals, we shouldn't cry about conspiracies and attack the legitimacy of the political system. Instead we should persuade others, both in and out of government, to join our own causes so that our ideas eventually hold the minds of a majority of representatives.

Re:That might have been their plan all along... (4, Insightful)

invid (163714) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161927)

For decades, the American economy has suffered while China's has boomed, and the American people are entitled to know who is responsible for the tremendous economic victory in Asia and the dismal American defeat-the greatest defeat any nation has suffered in war or peace.

I'm fairly sure "the greatest defeat any nation has suffered in war or peace" would not leave said nation with the largest economy in the world or leave it with the largest, most powerful military. Pretty prose though.

Re:That might have been their plan all along... (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162079)

Pretty prose though.

It'd be purple [wikipedia.org] , but perhaps red [wikipedia.org] would be a better color...

Re:That might have been their plan all along... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162957)

I'm fairly sure "the greatest defeat any nation has suffered in war or peace" would not leave said nation with the largest economy in the world or leave it with the largest, most powerful military.

If I cut off my right arm, a tourniquet and a trip to the ER will probably save me. I can say "it was not a defeat", but it doesn't mean I'll be better off for it.

Re:That might have been their plan all along... (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161969)

Well played sir.

Re:That might have been their plan all along... (2)

mrand (147739) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162623)

For decades, the American economy has suffered while China's has boomed, and the American people are entitled to know who is responsible for the tremendous economic victory in Asia and the dismal American defeat-the greatest defeat any nation has suffered in war or peace.

Whatever it is you are babbling about, I strongly suspect the majority of the citizens of the United States are as responsible as anyone. But just to be clear, what EXACTLY are you trying to find a responsible party for on this witch hunt of yours? "the american economy has suffered"... that's a pretty broad stroke, as is "economic victory in Asia." Do you think there is someone to blame for Japan not participating in this "victory"? Same or different villan than is to blame for the US woes?

Marc

Re:That might have been their plan all along... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162457)

They would both love to know what each and every one of their users is up to.

Who exactly do you mean by 'they?' The exact meaning behind the noun is important. Eric Holder might be interested, but Kathleen Sebelius probably cares 0% about that. What does Obama want? Government isn't some monolithic, mysterious structure. These kind of details make the difference between a conspiracy crackpot and someone who's uncovered a real conspiracy.

Easy solution (0)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161277)

Null-route China (and all our other enemies for that matter) at a national level. Pull the plug on them.

We'll see how fucking smart they think they are then.

Re:Easy solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161343)

The Great Firewall of Chiii.. errr.. United States?

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161541)

The second the United States does this, they'll lose control of "the" internet. Other countries who don't want to rely on the increasingly volatile political climate in the United States, or who are just plain tired of putting up with America's "world police" attitude, will go and create their own infrastructure and thumb their nose at what the US says or thinks.

I foresee a time when there are multiple world-wide internets, controlled by different nations who are afraid of the control other nations wield over "their" internet.

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161787)

Good things that come out of this.
- If every nation were to have their own internet, it would solve IPv4 exhaustion as a result.
- The cyber war would mean jobs requires security clearance i.e. citizenship only and that cannot be offshore or staffed by H1B.

Re:Easy solution (1)

jon3k (691256) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162305)

No, we won't. We can't "lose control of the internet". We control the root nameservers, the majority anyway. The only thing close to this would be for the rest of the world to build their own Internet separate from the US Internet. Great! Please do! Good riddance! We'd still be connected to Europe of course, and hopefully Australia and Japan and the rest of the world can take a long walk off a short pier.

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161559)

That is not easy and is not a solution.

It is not easy because it impacts the flow of goodies that USA needs, like computers, cellphones, electronic components, toys, components to make vitamins for animal consumption, news from the other side, etc..
It is not a solution because it is not very difficult to have several units inside the USA to make the digital attacks.

Re:Easy solution (1, Interesting)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162103)

Fuck China.

Any hardship we endure by cutting off these liars, thieves and crooks should be considered penance for being stupid enough to trust them in the first place.

Letting the 1% fatten themselves on trade with China, is like cutting our own collective throats.

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161623)

The economic impact of that would be far worse than the cost of the current attacks. Goes to show how just far from a cyberwar this is.

Re:Easy solution (3, Insightful)

a-zarkon! (1030790) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161653)

Hmm, well that needs to extend one level past the "enemies" to include all of the countries/geographies/etc. that do connect with the "enemies." You don't launch your exploits from your cyberwar directly from your connection. First you compromise a bunch of systems in other countries and use those as the launch point. Possibly nesting this several layers deep. Yep - just like in the "hacker" movies. You are creating plausible deniability and muddying up the water for anyone trying to figure out who is really behind the attack. This approach is also in pretty much direct opposition to the whole concept of the global economy. If you prevent Internet commerce and communications with large countries deemed to be the "cyber enemy" but who also happen to be a "major trading partner" it will certainly be disruptive to that trade. Go ahead and ask the obvious question as to why we are trading partners with our enemies - I can't figure it out either.

Re:Easy solution (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162445)

Go ahead and ask the obvious question as to why we are trading partners with our enemies - I can't figure it out either.

thats an easy one. money money money.

Re:Easy solution (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162607)

Go ahead and ask the obvious question as to why we are trading partners with our enemies - I can't figure it out either.

Someone is less likely to go to physical war with someone if they depend upon each other for their livelihoods. We're less likely to attack each other if we are all in this together.

Re:Easy solution (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162443)

Damn right!

Totalitarian Fascism FTW!!!

On a serious note - China is not my enemy. Probably not yours either.

And more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161295)

And at the Big Data / Crowd Source era, the history seen at each side could be easily rewritten... aliances could be made/unmade... 1984 could have just been delayed...

Pull the plug. (1)

Fly Swatter (30498) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161331)

So keep the non-public facing government infrastructure off the damn internet and you won't have this problem...

Re:Pull the plug. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161929)

IT's more then that. I mean, you are correct, but there is a lot more to it.

Free-market innovation (1, Insightful)

alci63 (1856480) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161335)

I liked this one ! Innovation on the Internet never really came from "the free market" and stating otherwise is pure ideology. It came from the ARPA, universities, the CERN, RFCs, etc... Profit minded companies mainly used the Internet and would really love to rule it, but did they bring innovation ? Seriously ?

Re:Free-market innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161421)

but did they bring innovation?
 
Yes.
 
You don't have to invent the internet to innovate it. Not to say that public institutions never did anything after the creation of the internet but there are a lot more hands involved today and they do innovate. To call it the free market is a bit of a stretch but there has been innovations under profit driven entities.

Re:Free-market innovation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161613)

Profit minded companies brought a lot of innovation to the internet. They gave us massive advertisement, user tracking and profiling, spam, phishing sites, fake antivirus, DRM and a bunch of other poisons.

The real innovation was done by non profit companies or OSS developers.

Re:Free-market innovation (5, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161903)

Profit minded companies

Xerox, Bell Labs, AT&T, Kalpana (later Cisco) all put in huge parts, like Ethernet, switching and UNIX. People like Kevin Dunlap and Paul Vixie out of DEC gave us BIND (DNS)

Here [arkko.com] (under 'Affiliations') is a histogram of contributing authors to all RFCs. The title says "companies" but it enumerates non-companies like NASA, Berkeley and MIT. So citing RFCs blows a big hole in your own argument.

Your training as an anti-corporate malcontent has given you some blind spots. The Internet is largely American (Western, if your being diplomatic) and created by for-profit entities. But feel free to continue indulging whatever illusions make you feel good.

Re:Free-market innovation (3, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162601)

Those plots are a bit misleading, as they intentionally leave out the Information Sciences Institute at USC. The ISI is responsible for drafting the lions share of early and fundamental RFCs including those defining IP [rfc-editor.org] , ICMP [rfc-editor.org] , UDP [rfc-editor.org] , TCP [rfc-editor.org] , SMTP [rfc-editor.org] and more. The internet did exist prior to 1988, unlike those plots would lead you to believe :) The core of the internet was developed almost entirely by government research agencies. Furthermore, the recent portions of the time plots are also misleading as they leave out "unknown" which largely consists of individuals who don't officially represent an organization.

Now the Internet is commercialized, a large number the RFCs do come from large companies whose business in the internet, but they didn't create it, and their various attempts to create something similar over the years all failed, because they insisted on proprietary closed systems. The internet is a textbook case of how the government does well at fundamental research, and the market does well with mass deployment and incremental R&D.

Re:Free-market innovation (2)

thoth (7907) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162605)

and created by for-profit entities.

funded by government contracts. You left that key thing out.

If for-profit corporations created and funded internet, it would be a multiple isolated enclaves of non-compatible protocols, with toll-keepers at the gateways.

Consider if Microsoft created internet. How would things be different? Well it would only be for IE and Windows clients, OSX and Linux users would be told to run Windows in a VM to access it (selling another Windows license to non-Windows users), your home page would be forced and unchangeably set to MSN, search would be funneled through the Bing equivalent (although with no Google, Bing wouldn't have evolved to be a search engine and instead would be basically a curated list of vendors that paid to be there, a truly modern yellow pages so to speak) the browser window would be split in half with the content you want to view on one-side and unblockable ads running on the other side, and Steve Ballmer would rape your ass day and night while holding your eyelids open with toothpicks forced to view the ads.

Re:Free-market innovation (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162503)

Shit, I think I'm being possessed by a marketing drone...

Profit minded companies mainly used the Internet and would really love to rule it, but did they bring innovation ? Seriously ?

Well, Sure! Facebook transforms granular programs to envisioneered enterprise relationships with cultivated, synergistic cutting-edge infrastructures! Then, of course, there's Twitter, with its front-end mindshare of distributed aggregate efficiency markets!

Client-focused!

Embracing interactive communities!

Positioning dot-com convergence!

POP!

*head asplode*

Extension of the trade war (5, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161345)

This 'cyber-war' is just an extension of the trade war that is really going on now, which itself is the logical extension of the currency war that has been in process for decades actually.

Unfortunately for all, eventually currency wars and trade wars lead to hot wars, and nobody knows what the trigger may be. It may be some half important dude getting slaughtered in a hotel or it may be another round of 'cyber war' (and it doesn't even have to be a real one, all that matters is that news leak out that some important military installation has suffered in a serious cyber attack that 'stole' some heavy military secrets, wouldn't be the first time [wikipedia.org] ).

Espionage (4, Interesting)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161365)

I like how Bruce points out that most governments are more interested in espionage than 'cyberwar'. Spying on their own citizens seems to be a popular hobby of governments. Hopefully more people will become familiar with encryption and proxies.

"But remember: none of this is cyberwar. It’s all espionage, something that’s been going on between countries ever since countries were invented. What moves public opinion is less the facts and more the rhetoric, and the rhetoric of war is what we’re hearing.

The result of all this saber-rattling is a severe loss of trust, not just amongst nation-states but between people and nation-states."

Often Fuzzy Line Between Espionage and Sabotage (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43162855)

In the case of cyber "attacks" the intent may be to gather information from information systems, but the effect can be destructive and bring down networks, destabilize IT infrastructure, and cause the loss of data and communications capabilities. That is what makes it more dangerous than plain old fashioned espionage. As we become more and more reliant on integrated IT infrastructure for operations, a state linked or state sponsored cyber attack that causes outages in IT infrastructure, especially in crucial areas, is going to be seen as sabotage not espionage. Especially if the timing is linked either purposefully or coincidentally to other geopolitical events, tensions or military activities. Espionage is usually a longer game that balances out, while sabotage is something you tend to retaliate against within a shorter time frame.

This espionage/sabotage line crossing is what is particularly dangerous. Escalations and retaliations could start with actions which had the intent of espionage, but will then be perceived as sabotage. Retaliations, especially involving attacks on critical communications infrastructure, could then get out of hand and further sour relations and cause real harm.

Destabilize, and then... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161415)

...the Internet will eventually route around the damage. Perhaps the edges will be a little raggedy, but Life will go on.

(You can't stop the signal. Everything goes somewhere, and the Internet goes everywhere. )

Re:Destabilize, and then... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162529)

...the Internet will eventually route around the damage. Perhaps the edges will be a little raggedy, but Life will go on.

(You can't stop the signal. Everything goes somewhere, and the Internet goes everywhere. )

Yes, a clever line for interplanetary fiction.

Not so applicable here on Terra Firma; I doubt we'll be getting much signal out, after Big Brother cuts us off from the grid and surrounds us with RF jammers.

the USA has already deployed tactical tactics(?).. (3, Informative)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161429)

While the USA sounds so high and mighty in its admonishment of china, it makes it easy to forget the anti-centrifuge software trojans that were deployed by the USA against Iran's nuclear refining capabilities. The US has already deployed "internet" and "computer-based" war tactics against other countries while it goes on to claim others are doing so as if our hands are so clean. That is a sad way to attempt to lead the world.

Or we could just LART the bad guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161555)

How is it that we could LART assholes back in the 90s dial-up days; but we can't do that now?

What kind of an idiot is so dependant on somebody who misbehaves on the network, that they must continue to allow such persons access? Are they the same people who don't airgap the SCADA stuff?

The answer is simple. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161565)

NUKE CHINA!
And nuke those crazy dog eaters in North Korea while we're at it.

Problem solved.
Population of the planet reduced by 1/3.
Pollution in the Far East reduced by 90%.
The rampant culture of thievery, chicanery and government graft eliminated.
It'd make all the natives of Tibet VERY happy.
The cleanup costs of nuking the entirety of China are FAR lower than the ongoing costs of having those assholes and all their hackers continually fucking with the internet and other countries' infrastructure.
A belligerent neighbor is removed (two if we two-fer NK).
Gives us a great use for all the spare nukes as we downsize our nuclear arsenal.
Scares every other country on the planet shitless and gets them to start toeing the line.

Re:The answer is simple. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161795)

It'd make all the natives of Tibet VERY happy.

They'd be positively glowing.

The US needs an enemey to justify its military (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161585)

Pork, I love the smell of pork in the morning.

Non issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161593)

It would be a lot worse if there were an American Civil War, or a World War.

Has it backwards (4, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161617)

The lack of a cyber coldwar has created a weakened defense situation where there are security problems everywhere.

As with any war, the bad officers die. In this case, those companies that don't take security serious will die.

Yes, in the short term a cyber cold war would cause damage, but in the long term, we would come away MUCH stronger.

No pain, no gain. A cold cyber war would be painful, but we would come away much better off.

Re:Has it backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43162337)

If you want an internet locked down to keep secrets backed my Government power and Military law.

Re:Has it backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43163195)

Yes a coldwar would likely be great for the US over the next 50 years. Think about it, zero unemployement, all the security positions that would be required. No more outsourcing for security reasons. Wages would be force to grow as demand will outstrip workers. Short term it would be bad, as all food and retail industries have a hard time finding low priced products or any products. But eventually the system will self balance as designed.

Flaw in Article Title (0)

galego (110613) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161645)

*... Could Destabilize the Internet*

This starts off on a flawed assumption, that the internet is stable.

REALLY?!?!?! ... REALLY!!!??!?!?!

Bruce Schneier (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161687)

Capt Obvious points out the obvious.

Seriously, this rates as 'news'?

Governments find a new arena of competition/avenueof conflict.
Governments duking it out in this arena will prove unpleasant for non-governments also in that arena.

This should be brutally obvious to inhabitants of Belgium, if not everyone else with the slightest grasp of history.

Mesh network? (1)

Teckla (630646) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161747)

Could someone with knowledge and experience in the area of mesh networks tell us how feasible it would be for people to setup their own mesh networks that span cities, states, even whole countries? Obviously performance would be much lower than what we enjoy via the Internet right now, but I'm wondering if the people of the world could, without the assistance of government, setup their own large scale mesh networks. Then it wouldn't matter quite so much when the governments of individual countries do things like block Internet access for defense reasons.

A non-corporate solution would be nice, so that individuals without huge amounts of capital could bootstrap the whole thing in an entirely grassroots manner.

Re:Mesh network? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43162259)

The problem with individuals setting up their own "internets" is one of bandwidth. Unless you can afford a T3 connection (ie: what Level3 uses), it would be a challenge. Perhaps when ISP's get off their lazy !@#$ and provides users with affordable gigabit to the home services, people could do that. Even then you would be under corporate (thus, government) control since you need an ISP.

The current internet is a lesson of capitalism at its best. You pay your ISP. They pay for access to their backbone. Then it goes to another backbone, which charges another ISP.. and that ISP charges whatever business / individual is connected to that.

Your home network more than likey has almost the same topology as the internet has TBH, just on a microscopic scale.

What is cyber-war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43161847)

If it's somehow different from good old-fashioned espionage, what is it?

Re:What is cyber-war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43162209)

If it's somehow different from good old-fashioned espionage, what is it?

It has the word "cyber" in it. Not only is it a cool throwback from the 80's, it's the new scare word in use to feed the imaginary job creation program (replacing terrorism).
Please use "cyber" where ever you can and support America.

Does Bruce read books about history? (2)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | about a year and a half ago | (#43161917)

Because the last thing I would call the Cold War was 'destabilizing'. The Cold War established a fixed series of relationships between countries, blocs, an entire world order that was stable for decades. It provided a context in which to understand all conflict, diplomatic activity, even academic and cultural activities. Its hard to imagine anything more stabilizing.

The difference is, we don't (know that we) have something that looks like mutually assured destruction, in the 'cyber cold war' (yet).

It's all made up (2)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162093)

The US is making things up and doing it themselves to scare people into letting them lock down the internet.

Re:It's all made up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43162207)

The US is making things up and doing it themselves to scare people into letting them lock down the internet.

I agree. I would say more, but I'm too scared of my government.

Re:It's all made up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43163015)

this was my thought exactly. Common enemy: china (or in their case us) to bring people together. Battleground: the internet. Losers: the internet.

Why? Because the internet is free.

Get secret government info off the internet (1)

ravenscar (1662985) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162509)

Why are computers that store/control extremely sensitive government information and processes (plans for weapons, locations of operatives, power grid controls, etc.) accessable via the internet? It would seem that the government should have its own pipes that are used for these purposes. They could then turn all of the security they want on those pipes - leaving the broader internet alone. Sure, the pipes could still be infiltrated, but there would have to be some sort of physical breach. In addition, there would be far fewer nodes to monitor.

I understand the need to protect the data of things like systemically important financial institutions, but I think that's an entirely different type of security.

Re:Get secret government info off the internet (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162631)

Why are computers that store/control extremely sensitive government information and processes (plans for weapons, locations of operatives, power grid controls, etc.) accessable via the internet?

So those who work on it can work from home.

Re:Get secret government info off the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43162979)

See! It's always those lazy tele-commuters

Re:Get secret government info off the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43163245)

Two words, lowest bidder. That should explain why. After all why do it right when you can do it cheaper and pocket the money.

Windows cyberwar saber-rattling? (2)

dgharmon (2564621) | about a year and a half ago | (#43162743)

"The fact is that governments and militaries have discovered the Internet; everyone is spying on everyone else"

Only if you Microsoft Windows and connect to the Internet ...

On the Bright Side (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#43163047)

On the bright side, a cyber war doesn't sound quite as bad as a global thermonuclear holocaust. Treat it like a grand computer game and keep the post office around just in case.
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