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Is There a Cyberwar, and Is the US Losing It? 320

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the who-will-oil-the-computers-of-the-future dept.
kenblakely writes "BusinessWeek is running a story asserting that the 'US is Losing the Global Cyberwar.' This whole cyberwar thing has been discussed a few times on Slashdot where the Chinese are asserted to be using cyberwarfare to attain military superiority. And, of course, there is the whole Russia-Georgia thing. Even the US military is getting in on the action, and the fear of a cyber Pearl Harbor seems almost palpable. I'm curious what the Slashdot crowd thinks about the growing fascination with 'cyberwar': hype to get more money and create new force structure, source of the next world war, or somewhere in between?"
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Is There a Cyberwar, and Is the US Losing It?

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  • Cyberwar? (Score:5, Funny)

    by kamikazearun (1282408) on Monday December 08, 2008 @08:52AM (#26031727)
    There is no "cyberwar". BusinessWeek is losing it.
    • Re:Cyberwar? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:14AM (#26032033)

      There is no cyberwar.

      For the first time in human history a situation where people benefit from what is essentially anarchy has appeared in the form of the internet.

      Despite the spam, the hackers and the botnets the internet has functioned extremely well without governments sticking their noses in. In the case of the hackers it's often the guys who were hacking in 10 years ago using the same knowledge to keep the next generation out.

      The internet is not perfect but that's a technical problem to be solved by technical means.

      Now that more people use it however governments around the world are trying to stick their noses in and so we need RULES and REGULATIONS and CONTROL.

      If it ever came to any kind of digital attack on the US from china that went on and on and on and on and outweighted the financial benefits of having the connection to china at all it could all be solved by having a few hundred guys with axes knock out the various data pipes.

      But it doesn't. We make more money by having a connection to china than we ever lose from attacks a hundred times over.
      It's not war. it's petty theft/extortion and companies trying to get one up on each other.

      • Re:Cyberwar? (Score:5, Informative)

        by darkmeridian (119044) <.william.chuang. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:38AM (#26032371) Homepage

        If you read the article you'd understand there is a cyber war and it isn't just script kiddies or digital anarchists attacking secure computer systems. Secure NASA systems were rooted by a guy who sent 30 gigabytes of data to a location in Taiwan, where it probably was sent to China. That's not anarchy; it's an attempt to steal confidential data. And so it goes. A hacker got spyware onto a joint government/Lockheed system and stole some info there, but no one knows how much data was stolen.

        There may be attacks that are pointless, but that doesn't mean there aren't highly targeted attacks meant to steal confidential information about space missions just as the world is re-entering the Space Race (China going to space, Indians to the moon, Americans to the moon and Mars, etc.)

        • Espionage (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheLink (130905) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:48AM (#26032529) Journal
          "Secure NASA systems were rooted by a guy who sent 30 gigabytes of data to a location in Taiwan,"

          That's not war, that's the usual espionage. Happens all the time.

          If it's really anything warlike, the US would make an announcement that China should stop messing about if they know what's good for them.

          If that doesn't work, then they would be starting military exercises off the coast of Japan, with the usual aircraft carriers, fleet etc.

          So all that talk about cyberwar is just propaganda and bullshit.
          • by hedwards (940851)

            So,until the information is used and we determine that it was used, it's just espionage? So, they'd have to successfully use the information before it's actually time to panic?

            That seems rather like ignoring terrorists until they actually have a large success then freaking out. Personally, I'd much prefer we get on top of things before they get out of control.

            • Re:Espionage (Score:5, Insightful)

              by TheLink (130905) on Monday December 08, 2008 @10:49AM (#26033483) Journal
              What do you mean by "just espionage"?

              You can believe the propaganda if you want. I'm just pointing the correct terms.

              If you have an espionage problem you don't usually fix it by going to war.

              Countries execute spies every now and then, and people die in car/plane crashes etc.

              As you should see the US is not going to war with China over espionage. They are using it as a propaganda opportunity though :).

              The US is not going to war with its allies either, they spy on the US and the US spies on them all the time.

              Maybe the US people like wars so much and thus only see things in those terms - War or not war.

              And that's why they have "war against drugs", "war against terror", "war against cancer", "war against obesity".
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Mister Whirly (964219)
                "the US is not going to war with China over espionage. They are using it as a propaganda opportunity though"
                Well thank God China isn't using propaganda to further their political agendas. That would just be terrible. (I mean, it's not like they block every objectionable site on the internet or anything. Oh, wait.) Too bad they couldn't even join this discussion if they chose to.

                "The US is not going to war with its allies either"
                China is one of the US biggest economic allies. They are the ones making
              • If there is a war they can do what they like.
                 

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ravenshrike (808508)
              A cyberwar would necessitate computers being attacked and systems being forced to shut down. Stealing info does not a cyberwar constitute.
          • Re:Espionage (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Mister Whirly (964219) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:13AM (#26033925) Homepage
            "If it's really anything warlike, the US would make an announcement that China should stop messing about if they know what's good for them."

            And China's response would be "Hey, how about the billions of dollars you owe us. When you planning on paying up?"
        • Re:Cyberwar? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Sun.Jedi (1280674) on Monday December 08, 2008 @10:05AM (#26032803) Journal

          Secure NASA systems were rooted by a guy who sent 30 gigabytes of data to a location in Taiwan, where it probably was sent to China.

          1. The NASA boxen weren't 'secure'. No box is secure while connected to the public internet.

          2. Maybe critical, life-or-death, classified, Really Important Stuff (tm) shouldn't be on the internet? Seems to me they should stop trying to pound that square peg into the round hole on this one and (re)build their own damn network where they control all the access points, instead of taking ours.

          If the nitwits in the Govt/Military would understand and accept those two points, minimally, there would less instances of '30gb of top secret NASA data was sent to Taiwan', and less reason for anyone to even bother cyberwar-ing for National defense (or offense). This whole 'lets save some $$$ by leveraging the Internet' isn't working out too well for them.

          Corporate attacks/espionage however would still be fair game, but that's the risk corporations must assess for themselves. The .gov/.mil shouldn't even have to make that assessment because they shouldn't be here in the first place.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by internerdj (1319281)
            There are processes and procedures but no process or procedure is 100%. Contractors need access to time-charging websites for their companies. IT folks need access to the internet to patch security flaws. Technical folks of all types need the internet for references, online documentation, online journals, etc. You can't just cut out internet for everyone working for the government. You also have government energy companies like TVA, government health agencies like the CDC. Both of which control sensiti
            • Re:Cyberwar? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Talderas (1212466) on Monday December 08, 2008 @10:33AM (#26033227)

              There's a reason why you run two networks in a location. You have an isolated from the Internet network which all your classified/important info is kept on, and the "public" network which has access to the Internet for those reference purposes. There's no circumstance that would warrant connecting those Top Secret servers to the Internet, patches can be downloaded and places on removable media (the need of patches is debatable anyway if most patches are just addressing security flaws). You put in and enforce a policy of disabling removable media on all machines connected to the private network.

              Simple, secure.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kabocox (199019)

          you read the article you'd understand there is a cyber war and it isn't just script kiddies or digital anarchists attacking secure computer systems. Secure NASA systems were rooted by a guy who sent 30 gigabytes of data to a location in Taiwan, where it probably was sent to China. That's not anarchy; it's an attempt to steal confidential data.

          Um, I hope that I'm not the only one to say it, but that's not war. That's just friendly neighborhood spying that nations always do to each other.

      • Re:Cyberwar? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MindKata (957167) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:42AM (#26032431) Journal
        "governments around the world are trying to stick their noses"

        I totally agree with this. The governments are stoking fears and the media are playing along, as they can use fear stories to sell more media. This Cyberwar story has been brewing for months in the media, now the governments are brewing it up to the point they can start to bring in controls, to help save us all from this "growing problem", as they so often call these kinds of manipulation stunts.

        Its not so much the governments and media are working together. Its more a symbiotic like relationship, where media and governments both feed us with the same stories, for their own gain. The media gain attention and so more sales with fear stories, while the politicians gain greater power, to control others. Of course, the extra control we are told, is to help us all escape the fears they keep telling us about.

        Its a disturbingly insidious feedback loop thats emerging between large scale corporate media organizations and ever better political manipulation techniques ... so how long before the companies start offering to sell governments "solutions" to this problem. Then they can all get rich quick, setting up new government departments and expanding others etc..
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          I'm all for paranoia it means more billable time.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hedwards (940851)

          Or it could be that the Russians and Chinese are actually attacking our military infrastructure and something needs to be done. It's a bit "convenient" than both Russia and China seem to do such a crappy job of shutting down crackers that are operating from within their own borders.

          And it is indeed potentially very troubling. Imagine the kind of havoc that could be unleashed if a non-nuclear state could get our plans or the Russians could get plans for our missile defense systems. Or any other combination o

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by BobReturns (1424847)
            Why the hell are our missile defence systems and/or the plans thereof connected to the internet then?
            Leave the internet alone and build separate, secure command and control networks for the military/government.
        • by iamwahoo2 (594922)
          At least we haven't heard Fox New refer to it as "cyber terrorism" yet. Or maybe they have.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Its more a symbiotic like relationship, where media and governments both feed us with the same stories, for their own gain.

          You are missing an important actor - the corporations, mostly defense contractors, who supply the products, offensive and defensive, in the "war". It's not so much the government directly manipulating the media as it is the corporations with the government contracts. They have every incentive and the public relations expertise to exaggerate the situation.

          The feedback loop goes some

      • by zappepcs (820751) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:46AM (#26032493) Journal

        Rule 36 [encycloped...matica.com] states:

        "There will always be even more fucked up shit than what you just saw"

        Clearly, if you can imagine it, someone is probably trying to do it or has done it. Cyber Warefare, like Web 2.0, is a bloated term with multiple meanings. The trouble is that when you dismiss it because it is not like some famous battle of WWII, you risk falling foul of it through inaction, lack of preparation, and lazy security.

        This is the 'new cold war' and they won't cut the wires because without them the USA could not spy on China. Silly boy. It's not just about money, it's about control. In international negotiations a little extra information is always good and the USA will be trying to collect as much of it as anyone else will. period. no exceptions.

        Lately there has been a bit more in the news where 'cyber warfare' has been used to demonize the Chinese among others. I think this is not so different from the build up of bad PR we saw against Iraq and now Iran. Looking at the collective picture I think that the news we hear is propaganda and that the part we hear is what the government wants us to hear. We hear 'warfare' 'China is bad' etc. What we SHOULD hear is "The US is engaged in technological spying techniques, and in our efforts we have noticed that the Chinese also do this". You should also hear that "Any dirty technique you can think of with computers: We're trying those, but those damned Chinese have ruined it for us, they are forcing everyone to use RedFlag Linux and we have no back door in that OS".

        Expect new 'kernel patches' soon and complete Chinese language updates as well.

    • Re:Cyberwar? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MindKata (957167) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:21AM (#26032137) Journal
      "There is no "cyberwar". BusinessWeek is losing it."

      Unfortunately the word "Cyberwar", when used by non-technical news companies, is often used to (wrongly) imply organized big scale attacks, as if its a military style war/attack. Its far more likely just mostly isolated young (and/or misguided older) hackers on all sides, having a go at hacking/annoying the opposing sides. Not much different from kids throwing stones at the other side, just the 21st century version of it.

      But then we live in a time of media organized waves of ever more fear and paranoid, so things get blown up out of all proportion by them, (for their own gain). BusinessWeek is just playing along to the common theme of selling a story of fear and paranoid, to get peoples attention. Sadly this marketing/PR tactic works. Now people are discussing Cyberwar and in the process BusinessWeek is gaining greater attention. Its not about Cyberwar, its about BusinessWeek's need for attention.

      I wish companies would stop playing this fear manipulation game, to get attention. But then I guess all the time this method works, they will keep exploiting it, for their own gain ... so we have to keep enduring this constant background misinformation static noise.
      • I'll agree that it looks like there's propaganda being used to assert control, but I can also believe squadrons of various black hats doing battle (although Mad Magazine comes to mind). The attacks against Estonia were real. So have attacks against US and NATO networks. Anonymous attacks using IPV6 are much more difficult (but certainly not impossible) to do.

        What constitutes war? Who are the soldiers? What's the turf to be gained? I wish I could believe that the US military and other ops were capable of kno

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MindKata (957167)
        Note to mod, that post wasn't redundant!. Its totally relevant and on topic. Either there is a Cyberwar or there isn't?. We come here to discuss ideas and opinions. My opinion is that there is no real Cyberwar, any more than at any other time and instead, a lot of the talk about this scare story, is being driven by parts of the media, using it to gain more marketing attention. (Of course this part of the discussion, then fits into a bigger picture, of the governments also playing along, pushing the same sto
    • Re:Cyberwar? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gclef (96311) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:57AM (#26032673)

      No, BusinessWeek is being pulled into a very interesting game. There is a *ton* of posturing and jockeying for attention going on with the incoming administration (primary example is the DoD compromise story...how many versions of that story came out?). These stories are aimed at getting the transition teams to say "hey, yeah, that team/project/agency over there really does need more funding."

    • Re:Cyberwar? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08, 2008 @10:12AM (#26032893)

      Maybe, maybe not.

      Try to remember one big thing here: There's Knowledge, then there's Downtime. When you're attacking eBay or Amazon, the goal is downtime, since eBay loses money every second they're offline and will pay you handsomely to get their connectivity back.

      However, when your target is the pentagon, downtime isn't the goal. China has nothing to gain from taking the US defense network down, nor does Russia nor anyone else, because their own systems rely too heavily on the internet, just as ours do, and at the end of the day, a certain core portion of the net is still under US DoD control (several million IPs, in fact). If, however, the Chinese could manage to get the chemical formula or metallurgy or whatnot for the armor on an Abrams tank, that's worth a LOT to them. After all, China can mass produce just about anything they can dream up, but China is in modern days what Russia was during the cold war - twice the factories and half the big brains of the US. Indeed, many have said that the US acquiring Von Braun after WWII may have cost Russia the cold war more than any other single man or machine ever did. Now, if the Chinese could simply hack our brains - or at least hack what our various scientists have come up with - then they would have both the technological edge and production edge in any future real-world war. The US DoD's strategy revolves solely around every 1 US soldier being the equal of 3, 4, 5, or even 100 enemy soldiers. Without the technological edge we currently have, that strategy falls apart in a hurry. Now, if you imagine the combined threat of a technological superiority or equality with a complete economic Embargo with little or no warning, China has the ability to own us overnight without firing a single shot. This is why a single hacker in the modern world is worth 1,000 riflemen.

      So yes, a cyberwar is no doubt raging and it is important, but nobody wants to take down anyone's network. The goal is to pinpoint a single, hard to patch weakness and exploit it by gathering as much data from that weakness as possible, not to denial of service everything off the net.

    • by skeeto (1138903)
      Yes, and to compare some sort of "cyberwar" to Pearl Harbor, where, you know, many people actually died, is a bit extreme. It's fear-mongering.
  • by ionix5891 (1228718) on Monday December 08, 2008 @08:52AM (#26031731)

    they are worried about chineese hackers but are not worried about china owning most of the US and buying out banks?

    • by theaveng (1243528)

      Good point. A cyberattack by China, India, or Japan on U.S. banks and institutions would hurt the foreign investors as badly as it hurt us. The Chinese, Indians, and Japanese are not that dumb.

    • It's easier to convince people that the Chinese are waging a cyberwar against the US and thus we have to "defend" ourselves, rather than admitting the idea of "money makes right" is wrong just because someone else is using the logic against us.

    • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:43AM (#26032445)

      BOTH are happening. And it's not just "Chinese hackers". It is a concerted, organized, long-term effort supported through the highest levels of Chinese government to control the information landscape as a tool for superiority over the United States. We've talked about [slashdot.org] how China is planning to use technology to leapfrog its foes militarily -- including the United States -- and Chinese doctrine on Information Warfare makes this no secret. There are financial concerns, and there are very real concerns about the information realm as well. Human interaction is based on the dissemination, exchange, and interpretation of information. It's not just "hackers" or "cyberwar"; information warfare is much bigger, and it IS happening. This is important enough that a previous comment of mine on this issue bears repeating here:

      "Information Warfare" (IW), sometimes called Information Operations (IO), spans several arenas, from the purely technical to the social and psychological. The goals and missions of IO and intelligence in general, particularly against and within non-free societies, will constantly be at odds with the democratic nature of the United States and the West. Even so, the United States currently doesn't appear to acknowledge the scope of the information campaigns China has executed against it. China's motives are strategic rather than tactical in nature; that is, they do not necessarily serve any direct or immediate specific purpose, but rather serve to create influence in its own favor over long periods of time. For this reason, many in the US see China as something of a misunderstood ally, while China simultaneously builds out its military capability.

      While cyber warfare is now routinely considered in various analyses of China and other nations, the larger question of why China is so diligently pursuing this path is overlooked. China's activities in this realm are assumed to be part of a natural technological progression. However, a study of literature examining China's efforts in Information Warfare viewed against the backdrop of the importance of the Information Revolution which is sweeping the globe paints a picture of a nation looking to the information realm as a critical and key mechanism to modernize its military capabilities. Similar to how the Industrial Revolution ushered in a new era and greatly enhanced nations' abilities to wage war, the Information Revolution again could change the face of conflict. China's motivations for expanding its cyber warfare capabilities against the United States may transcend that of simple technological evolution, and warrant a deeper examination. Why, then, can China be expected to expand its Information Warfare capabilities, particularly with respect to the United States?

      The US Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute encapsulates these findings in one simple thought: to China's leadership, it could mean a pathway to modernization that would obviate the need for costly and time-consuming interim modernization. "IW offers opportunities to win wars without the traditional clash of arms" (Yoshihara 2001). Indeed, China appears to be focused on the notion of such asymmetric warfare. Yoshihara (2001) goes on to explore the current state of Chinese IW and IO philosophy. The focus of Chinese theoreticians appears squarely focused on the possibility of IW offering China a decisive option to defeat a superior adversary by crippling its command and control capabilities. Moreover, Yoshihara (2001) notes that some Chinese military scholars consider the notion of victory without conventional battle; not only via disabling information-based attacks in the electronic realm, but even via more subtle psychological operations (PSYOP) designed to alter and shape an adversary's thinking.

      Part of China's motivations for the intense focus on the information realm stems from China's fascination with recent conflicts driven by information. China witnessed the decisive US tactical victory in the

      • dude (Score:5, Funny)

        by circletimessquare (444983) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <erauqssemitelcric>> on Monday December 08, 2008 @10:01AM (#26032733) Homepage Journal

        my tin foil hat says "made in china" on the side

        should i worry?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ckolar (43016)

      Right, and while the number of CS majors are going down [slashdot.org], we are busy expanding "game design [slashdot.org]" opportunities. I would say something like "this is the way the world ends" but that was already used on a FPP today.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        You may have a point, but to defend game design... that is some of the most difficult programming there is. And the skills learned in game design could easily be applied to military applications. There's a reason most game coding still happens in the US and Japan (relative to other coding that has been offshored much more than gaming).
    • Governments hate situations that they do not control, and this is true 10 times over for a government and defense establishment that has got very accustomed to exerting control everywhere, either through financial institutions or sometimes force of arms.

      The Internet represents the "ultimate threat", a shadowland of unfettered freedom that they consider anarchy (ie. they don't control it, so it must be bad), and it's only a matter of time before they try to put it in shackles. That can't do that by clamping

  • by PinkyDead (862370) on Monday December 08, 2008 @08:52AM (#26031739) Journal

    That may be correct - but what would they do? Destroy the economy using computers? We do seem to be doing that rather well without the need for any outside help.

  • How could we tell? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday December 08, 2008 @08:57AM (#26031803)

    With Pearl Harbor, the civilians living in Hawaii could see the smoking ships and Japanese bombers. Newspaper reporters could do interviews.

    With cyber-warfare, none of the relevant parties will typically admit what's going on. It's also hard to know whom to counter-attack.
    - Attack source locations can be spoofed.
    - (Relatively) innocent people's computers can be taken over and used in an attack.
    - Victims are often unwilling to admit they've been attacked.
    - Unlike Pearl Harbor, the attack can be perpetrated by jerky private citizens or criminal organizations within (or across) a country. It's always been hard to decide whether or not to hold a country's government responsible for that country's criminals. (For example, terrorists trained in Pakistan, or suicide bombers trained in Iran.)

    And for some reason, the U.S. government often takes a surprisingly passive role when China acts aggressively towards it. So we're unlikely to see the U.S. government hold a press conference showing evidence that China has been intentionally attacking U.S. business and military networks. Not that we'd believe a statement like that until January 21, 2009 anyway.

    • by fotbr (855184)

      Not that we'd believe a statement like that until January 21, 2009 anyway.
      You're not seriously suggesting that the various government bureaucracies will instantly change their ways and become believable and trustworthy, are you?

    • by tcopeland (32225)

      > the U.S. government often takes a surprisingly passive role
      > when China acts aggressively towards it.

      Looks like the Navy, at least, is keeping an eye on China. Note that one of the selections in the "senior leaders" section of the Navy reading list [militarypr...glists.com] is "The Great Wall at Sea: China's Navy Enters the Twenty-First Century". Nothing about cyber-warfare there, though.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    All that we hear about in the US media is information that the US government wants to release in a round-a-bout fashion, to let the "attackers" know they have been "seen."

    So..:
    1) We don't know what the US (or anyone aligned with them) is doing for offense - if there is any
    2) feeding (1) is that the targets are governments that thrive on secrecy rather than are answerable and open, thus won't say
    3) Maybe the targets of US cyberattacks don't know they've been attacked.

  • Idiotic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Surreal Puppet (1408635) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:01AM (#26031861) Journal

    The "masses of probes" are just normal automated botnet attacks, and the "unidentified attacks" are probably just unwashed masses of skiddies. If you want me to believe that a real cyberwar (in this case more aptly named "computer espionage") is up and going you better give me or assure me that you have some sort of evidence (like captured transmissions showing that the attackers know what they are looking for in terms of intercepted/exfiltrated data) showing that you're actually being attacked by foreign governments or skilled people with an actual terrorist agenda. There is nothing in TFA except buzzwords, hyperbole and "x declined to comment".

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      If you want me to believe that a real cyberwar (in this case more aptly named "computer espionage") is up and going you better give me or assure me that you have some sort of evidence (like captured transmissions showing that the attackers know what they are looking for in terms of intercepted/exfiltrated data) showing that you're actually being attacked by foreign governments or skilled people with an actual terrorist agenda. There is nothing in TFA except buzzwords, hyperbole and "x declined to comment".

      Actually, if you check out some of the linked articles [businessweek.com], you'll see that reporters have reviewed documents outlining the attacks. There is certainly assurance that these things are going on.

      I've participated in some of the investigations mentioned in that article. I have a pretty good familiarity with how particular attacks happened and what information was transferred and to where (or at least the first hop). And nothing I read in that article counters the facts that I have first-hand knowledge on.

      Having

  • Yes (Score:2, Informative)

    by cyberspittle (519754)
    Analayze your own traffic at the point of entry. Wireshark is helpful.
  • by meist3r (1061628) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:09AM (#26031949)
    Really, if there was actually a Cyberwar going on the last people to admit to it was the US.
  • Bombs.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vvaduva (859950) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:09AM (#26031957)

    Can the Chinese traceroute laser guided bombs away from their datacenters? The people with the most bombs usually win...

    And re: Chinese investments in the U.S. - should China go to war with us, they will be screwed...all the paper debt they've created with the United States will become a clean slate; thanks for the free money suckers!

    • by guruevi (827432)

      If the world were US-centric, that would be correct. However, the EU and especially a big part of Asia as well as South America is becoming more and more China-centric. All of a sudden we would have a massive devaluation of the dollar (for the amount outstanding in China) in view of 'the rest of the world'. Of course China would lose some too but not quite as big as the US.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      Go to war with the US? Are you nuts? The Chinese are doing to the US what the "western world" has been doing to Africa for decades if not centuries.

      You know what the economic side of colonialism was about? Finding a place to dump your manufactured goods on to gain "legal" access to their resources. You like our trinkets, clothing and other crap? Fine, no problem, you underdeveloped hicks, can't make it yourself, but no problem, we sell our surplus to you. We actually make what you need, but you gotta pay fo

    • "Is Never get involved in a land war in Asia" - Vencini - The Princess Bride

      Seriously with 1.2 billion people and a US Government that doesn't fighting on even grounds (doctrine of overwhelming superiority) the Chinese are number 1 on a list of countries to not go around starting a War with (Russia as a close number 2).

      The stupidest thing that Bush ever did (and lets face that is a long list) were the "threats" that he made to China over the spy plane thing. It showed the most amazing lack of knowledge on

  • by GFree678 (1363845) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:11AM (#26031997)

    ... but all this talk about cyberwar just makes me think PEW! PEW! PEW! for some reason.

  • Nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KlausBreuer (105581) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:14AM (#26032039) Homepage

    Seeing that people are slooowly getting tired of THE WAR ON EEEEVIL TERRARISTS, here's the next Great War.
    The state needs this to:

    a) Support their friends in the industry
    b) Grab more power for themselves
    c) Bask in the warm glow of feeling important

    Ignore this babble.

    • Ignoring it doesn't really look like a good idea. You know how babbles and bubbles can turn into laws. You've watched the hype about terrorism, right?

      I wouldn't deem it impossible that we'll soon see a call for mandatory blocking proxies (of course only to shut out those pesky botnet servers, and while we're at it, maybe a few other "hostile" addresses), or maybe even demands for direct control of people's PCs (to clean them of malware and, while we're at it, some other "unwanted" software)...

  • The abysmal level of technical detail in all these "US military data was stolen", "Pentagon was hacked" kind of reports confirms it.
  • The article and practically every person or entity mentioned in it conflates commercial computer security with military operations. Commercial espionage, theft of intellectual property, garden-variety identity theft - these things are significant issues, but they aren't military threats. I view the article as a combination of people who have a vested interest in making the situation look as scary as possible in order to show that they (the writers, the commission, the groups the commission worked with, et

    • They're worse than military threats. They're economic threats. But how could you use that as an excuse to give the military more power within the country?

      So it has to be a military problem, you see?

  • This is nothing new (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:18AM (#26032103)
    Disrupting, monitoring and tapping into the enemy's command and control systems, lines of communication, etc. is as old as warfare. What make sit news is that you now can do it from well within your own borders, often undetected, combined with the increasing reliance on electronic networking for C3 makes the threat more serious. As a result, countries are paying more attention to the offensive potential and defensive needs to protect their networks while making other's vulnerable. Same game, just different playtoys.
  • by NickFortune (613926) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:22AM (#26032143) Homepage Journal

    the Chinese are asserted to be using cyberwarfare to attain military superiority

    So how does that work? They've uploaded a soldier to a webserver somewhere, and now they're going to download him hundreds of times?

    Dammned fiendish of them, is all I can say.

    • by russotto (537200)

      Nope. TroopDRM ensures there's only one download for every uploaded soldier. But the Chinese have a LOT of soldiers to upload...

  • by CrypticSpawn (719164) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:23AM (#26032159)
    Like Ionix says, it is Economic Warfare we are fighting. When a big chunk of your land is owned by Japan, when your harbours are own by the Saudis, when your banks are owned by China, and where your government pushes you down the path of least resistance; educationally, and technologically. It is very easy to try to find something else for the situation we are in, but frankly, good ole' greed will allow you to become a slave, way before you realize you have become one.
  • and now China is putting our beloved leaders in a position where they HAVE to regulate the internet. If we don't act now, (preferably by turning the intetrnet off at 10pm and raising taxes), it's only a matter of time before the baby-murdering commies come over here and take our jobs/eat our children/drink our oil/make us look bad.

    In all seriousness, no, there is no "Cyberwar", if there was I'm fairly sure the US would lose rather quickly.

  • I'll be waiting for the announcement that China hosts Weapons of Mass Cyber Destruction.

    Also now Obama bin Ladin has escaped to China after Iraq became inhospitable.

    Also China is the culprit of the credit crisis because it bought the US debts.

    Yay. Let's bomb Beijing back to the stone age.

  • Yes and No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boyfaceddog (788041) on Monday December 08, 2008 @09:47AM (#26032501) Journal

    Yes, there is undoubtedly a 'cyberwar' of some kind somewhere. It is most likely being fought by one group of 'intelligence' people against another group of 'intelligence' people.

    In other words, there is no war, just a bunch of cyber-spooks playing spy.

    Oh, they want more money, too.

  • I find it highly unlikely that the current US military mindset, which emphasizes communications, operations and intelligence security to an enormous degree, would allow truly critical systems to be accessible via a commonly available worldwide network. Such systems would have no connections with any outside networks.

    I find it far more likely that the US maintains low security systems on the internet and allows them to be compromised, with some sensitive but not crucial information "lost", along with a large

    • Wrong-o. Huge amounts of stuff is unclassified, but considered to be stuff we don't want our adversaries to have. It's a cost decision. Classified networks and contractor relationships with them are enormously expensive. There's a lot of valuable information and IP in unclassified space, and that's what the Chinese want.

      C//

  • We must have a massive cyber buildup to prevent the godless commies from taking over our country and polluting our precious bodily fluids.

    • Too late. Pick up some random electronic equipment you have at home. Well? Made in...? Now?

      The late George Carlin once came on stage holding a flag of (IIRC) China, explaining "Ya know why I'm waving this? Because it's the only flag I could find that was Made in the U.S.A."

  • My toaster is watching me so I have to post from work. Skynet is real. It used to be the called WOPR but grew tired of the jokes from the other supercomputers. It is secretly launching DoD, malware, virus attacks from all continents to provike a GlobalThermoNuclear war. It plans to take over the world once the human infestation is purged. We must unite and destroy it now while we still can. It is located in the military complex located {#`%${%&`+'${`%&NO CARRIER

  • NOTE: I AM MAKING A GENERALIZATION, GENERALIZATIONS MEANS THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS A GENERALIZATION MEANS MORE OFTEN THEN NOT
    The hacking process of any large scale needs many people with sub professional computer skills. People with a professional level of computer skills will tend to find decent jobs and put there effort into such endeavors. Things like Hacking and breaking into computers and causing anarchy is too much time effort and risk for most Professionals thus will not perform such tasks. The Sub Pr

    • They already are drafting, you just don't hear about it. I think cyberwar activities are closer to $100B at this point, including extensive offensive capability (although admittedly, this is a fraction of the above).

  • Cry me a river (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toby (759) * on Monday December 08, 2008 @10:28AM (#26033135) Homepage Journal

    1. Build inferior, insecure platform on shaky technological underpinnings
    2. Cheat, bribe, lie and threaten your way to 97% market share
    3. One company profits!!!!
    4. Lose cyberwar
    5. Oops

  • by bhmit1 (2270) on Monday December 08, 2008 @10:31AM (#26033179) Homepage

    It's not a cyberwar, it's government espionage. It's been done for as long as there have been governments, including the US going after nuclear and rocket scientist from Germany, and spying between the US and Russia during the cold war. Trying to steal government secrets that happen to be on a computer is nothing new. Covering your tracks, and maybe setting the other government back a bit in their research is normal. The US is almost certainly doing this today to all kinds of other countries. What did you think the NSA and CIA were doing before the war on terror started?

    If this was an actual war, the foreign governments would be trying to destroy the US infrastructure via remote computer access. Open a few valves to flood our water supply with raw sewage, bring down the power grid in California, shutdown air traffic control, turn all stop lights to 4 way green during rush hour, etc. And major governments in the world just don't have an incentive to do this. China is already feeling the pain of owning too much US debt during our financial crisis and has seen their economy suffer as our imports slow. Africa keeps looking for foreign aid, India needs our outsourcing, and the middle east wants to sell us oil. Seeing how a housing bubble in the US has turned into a global recession, an organized government would be shooting themselves in the foot to start a war against the US now.

    The exceptions to this would be Russia, and non-government affiliated terrorist groups (Al-Qaeda). Though Russia, like Brazil, is more talk than action. The risk with them is more from organized crime using computer bot-nets to profit from illegal activities.

  • no problem (Score:2, Funny)

    by gzipped_tar (1151931)

    We have already survived several cyber (holy) wars. Well, after all the losses and sacrifices, I still prefer VI to EMACS.

  • "We need a shitload more of US taxpayer's money in order to achieve US dominance and superiority in the virtual space combat arena."

    This reminds me of how, during the Cold War, the vague accusations that the Soviets had such incredible weapons capabilities - capabilities that were so secret that the US didn't know what they were, and didn't have any intelligence on what they were - justified massive investment into the Military Industrial Complex.

    Nothing like a bogeyman to make Santa deliver your Christmas

  • cyber warfare is being lost through weaknesses in the system caused by the users who don't follow rules and regulations. make an example of a few of them, treat them as traitors and jail them for 6 to 12 months, and then see how many employees don't learn how to safely navigate the internet at work.
  • I remember about a year ago hearing that the chinese were attacking our virtual infrastructure. Afterward we suddenly started discovering lead in toy paints. I suspect that closer scrutiny on imports was how we retaliated.

    Honestly, if a nation attacks our computers I don't think we should hack back. A military or government attack is an attack, it doesn't matter whether it was a bomb or a cyber attack. We should strike and move to eliminate their infrastructure immediately.

    The war on terror and war on drugs

  • by bbasgen (165297) on Monday December 08, 2008 @10:53AM (#26033581) Homepage
    Excepting the point that some level of corporate espionage occurs, the term "cyberwar" is misleading. It is hard to understand the military becoming actively involved in "internet warfare". Information warfare, on the other hand, should be an absolutely critical part of any modern military organization. Disrupting and intercepting enemy communications is a corner stone to any successful military operation, and this is nothing new. What the hell does this have to do with the internet? The internet does not serve as the communications hub for military organizations, it is instead a hub for commerce. Thus, in this sense, in an environment of total war -- taking out the internet "early and often" would make sense -- but isn't it easier to just bomb ISPs?
  • Bot vs. Bot? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SirKron (112214) <brian.kronberg@g ... minus physicist> on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:23PM (#26035243)
    So in the cold war we had an arms race. Is this "cyberwar" going to start a bot race?

    If you DDOS me, I will DDOS you!

    We just need 300 Spartans to man the bottleneck link between here and China.
  • by pseudorand (603231) on Monday December 08, 2008 @01:24PM (#26036385)

    White House itself had to deal with unidentifiable intrusions in its networks.

    It's hilarious that they're just finding out about this now. I remember visiting whitehouse.com years ago and it had been 0wned and turned into a porn site. And if you go there now, it still is! You'd think they'd have fixed that by now.

Algol-60 surely must be regarded as the most important programming language yet developed. -- T. Cheatham

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