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UK Plans Cyber Weapons Program 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the ministry-of-pointy-sticks dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Ministry of Defence says they are working on a range of offensive cyber weapons to increase the country's defensive capabilities. The armed forces minister, Nick Harvey, says, 'The consequences of a well planned, well executed attack against our digital infrastructure could be catastrophic With nuclear or biological weapons, the technical threshold is high. With cyber the finger hovering over the button could be anyone from a state to a student.'"
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UK Plans Cyber Weapons Program

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  • by the_raptor (652941) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @03:44AM (#36317082)

    "With nuclear or biological weapons, the technical threshold is high. With cyber the finger hovering over the button could be anyone from a state to a student"

    What a crock. Any engineering student who couldn't design a fission based nuclear bomb is going to be a terrible engineer. Hell, the guy who has literally "written the book" on the Manhattan Project bombs is a freaking truck driver*. And you have the same with biological weapons. Contrary to what movies show most research into biological weapons wasn't about genetic modification it was simply on how to make the bugs easy to disperse and store. And most of it was done in the 50's and 60's. To combat misuse of both the answer has been to control the key ingredients of isotopes and germs.

    With "cyber" weapons it is the opposite. It is impossible to control the key ingredient, and the 'state of the art' has moved far past the stage where individuals are dominant. Even in the criminal world malware is built by teams. The technical threshold is very high and no individual is going to pull off well planned and well executed attack against a nations infrastructure. The "cyber wars" we see now are all done by large teams of hackers. When nations start actively deploying "cyber warfare" units and the like it will further raise the technical bar.

    P.S. The fingers actually "hovering over the buttons" of NBC weapons were mostly 18-20 year old kids. The systems you see in movies where the president needs to give a code so nukes can be launched is mostly a crock. The US Strategic Air Command famously set the "permissive action locks" on its nukes to the equivalent of "1111" because it believed the system was too complicated to be relied upon.

    *http://www.amazon.com/Atom-Bombs-Secret-Inside-Little/dp/B0006S2AJ0

  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortexNO@S ... t-retrograde.com> on Thursday June 02, 2011 @03:52AM (#36317098)

    Nick Harvey, says, 'The consequences of a well planned, well executed attack against our digital infrastructure could be catastrophic With nuclear or biological weapons, the technical threshold is high. With cyber the finger hovering over the button could be anyone from a state to a student.'"

    Shuuure; The missile is just gonna arm itself, and intangible cyber villains are going to bypass the physical electrical & mechanical safety mechanisms.

    Sounds like someone's been watching too much Lawnmower Man. If a team of cyber villains is all it takes to launch/detonate warheads, We'd all be dead by now. Yeah, theoretically you would need a hacker on your nuclear terrorist infiltration team.

    I suggest you take a break from the Fear-mongering... Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of chess?

    HEY DUMB-ASSES -- Here's a fucking idea -- Instead of running in fear, wasting tax payer dollars on protecting us from cyber triggered nuclear war -- Why don't we just say: "Fuck it! Everyone's got hackers now! -- Game over, we have to disarm all nuclear bombs in case an angsty 4chan goer decides to an hero via nukes."

  • Wrong paradigm (Score:5, Informative)

    by goodmanj (234846) on Thursday June 02, 2011 @05:23AM (#36317396)

    The idea of "Cyber Weapons" is a deliberately wrong paradigm whose only purpose is to wring money out of national defense agencies. A cyber attack is nothing more than an idea. If you know something about computer security which the other guy doesn't, you can attack him with it. But as soon as he (or his operating system or antivirus vendor) knows it too, you've got nothing.

    This is completely unlike a weapon. An AK-47 is still deadly even if your opponent knows what an assault rifle is, but an unpatched SQL injection vulnerability is useless the moment your opponent learns about it.

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