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FBI Warns Congress of Terrorist Hacking 243

Posted by Soulskill
from the backscatter-scan-now-required-to-log-in-to-facebook dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Robert S. Mueller III, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), yesterday warned Congress of terrorist hacking. He believes that while terrorists haven't hacked their way into the U.S. government yet, it's an imminent threat. Mueller said, 'To date, terrorists have not used the Internet to launch a full-scale cyber attack, but we cannot underestimate their intent. Terrorists have shown interest in pursuing hacking skills. And they may seek to train their own recruits or hire outsiders, with an eye toward pursuing cyber attacks.'"
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FBI Warns Congress of Terrorist Hacking

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  • Fear= More Funding (Score:5, Insightful)

    by plopez (54068) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:05PM (#39292541) Journal

    Terrorism is already a funding black hole. This reeks of inter agency rivalry.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      For good reason. I hear some of those haxors can whistle ICBM launch codes!!!!

    • The whole "terrorist hacking" thing reminds me of Y2K - a way to extort dollars for mostly inconsequential IT problems.

      {cue the former Y2K programmers pointing out that they saved the world}

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:06PM (#39292555)

    Congressman: How do you suggest we proceed in fighting this threat?

    Mueller: We need to shut down all torrent sites and arrest anyone posting copyrighted clips on YouTube.

    Congressman: Would my very generous constituents at Sony like to comment?

    Sony: We think this is an excellent approach to fighting the muslim horde, Congressman. We'll wire the usual campaign contribution to your super PAC.

    Congressman: Well, that settles it then. Would anyone like to offer an opposing view?

    EFF: Uh, Senator, we would like to point ou...

    Congressman: Well, since there is no opposition, looks like you have your funding Director. Happy hunting.

    • by PsyciatricHelp (951182) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:20PM (#39292769)
      I wanted to mod Parent as funny. But I have a very sad feeling its true.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Sponge Bath (413667)

        ...I have a very sad feeling its true.

        When congress chooses to ignore a side of an issue they don't let the opposition into hearings at all, like the recent contraception hearing that only had men testify. So the EFF in the original post would never be present to be cut off by the congressman.

      • Well, oh, well...

        The USFG owes me a couple new desks. Sometimes they make me headdesk so hard it just... breaks my desk.

        Two things that I can't get out of my mind right now:

        • If this is the *director* of the bureau, what will a regular special agent be like?
        • Has it ever occured to the director of the FBI to notify the congress that people may, for example, kill people? Or maybe he's better off warning them chemicals can be used as weapons. Or even warn them guns may be used to kill people!

        Somehow I feel Jean

      • by Anomalyst (742352)
        We need a new rating +1 truthy.
    • Very nice. Reminds me of the scene from Animal House:

      "You'll get your chance, smart-guy!"

      "You can bad-mouth me and my fraternity, but I will not let you sit here and bad-mouth the United States of America! Gentlemen!"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:07PM (#39292565)

    Yet another reason to give up all of our civil rights, privacy, and freedoms in the name of catching these "terrorists"!!!

    Plus, over the past ten years, $500B/year on "black" programs to catch "terrorists".

    And all because ten years ago 3000 people died (that's an average of 300/year) and two buildings were taken down: tragic, but a very small one compared to the 30,000 people who die every year in automobile crashes in the US - and we don't see $500B/year being spent on that!

    Terrorism is just an excuse to usurp our freedoms and enable the government to take control of us. The threat is just not as big as they make it out to be - certainly not big enough to justify the massive reaction to 9/11 and the loss of all of our freedoms and privacy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by artor3 (1344997)

      Can you provide a citation for that $500B/yr figure? The entire US national security budget is under $900B/yr, so I find it rather hard to believe that more than half that is spent on "black programs to catch terrorists".

      You can make your points without lying to people. You should make your points without lying to people.

    • by khallow (566160)

      Plus, over the past ten years, $500B/year on "black" programs to catch "terrorists".

      What I find amusing about this thread, is your defense of this particular number. Would the US government tell me, if it were spending half a trillion a year on black programs to catch "terrorists"? Of course not. Hence, it must be true.

    • Three buildings: you forget "Building 7," which was not directly hit by any airplane, yet still collapsed in on itself. The owner got a nice insurance settlement for it.

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:09PM (#39292595) Homepage Journal

    Look, I actually have been on counter-terrorism ops back in my Army days.

    The problem is the FBI has a tendency to label people who hack music as terrorists, in addition to the Dangerous Killing People terrorists who ARE the real threat.

    Giving up your Rights and Freedoms won't make you safer, only less.

    • So how well does the Army define terrorists?
      They play with the term "insurgent" kinda loosely, does the same thing happen with terrorism?
  • Nervous (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mws1066 (1057218) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:11PM (#39292653)
    Always get nervous when reading stuff like this - I'm sure they'll use it an excuse to regulate the Internet for everyone, not just so-called terrorists. Remember: freedom isn't free. Also: war is peace, ignorance is strength, etc.
    • by Pieroxy (222434)

      Always get nervous when reading stuff like this - I'm sure they'll use it an excuse to regulate the Internet for everyone, not just so-called terrorists. Remember: freedom isn't free.

      Also: war is peace, ignorance is strength, etc.

      What do you want them to regulate? Just get everything through SSH and they'll get ... nothing.

  • by WaffleMonster (969671) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:15PM (#39292709)

    How many dozens of 9/11's happen each year as a result of smoking and alcohol?

    Where is the public outrage, political focus and trillions of dollars in ad campaigns and treatment to avert a 9/11 that more or less occurs on schedule every month of every year over the past century?

    Stop wasting our money chasing boogymen and use a small fraction of it to help real people...

    Hey man looks over there those Afghan poppy fields a plenty....sort of makes one wonder where all that funding for the taliban comes from now doesn't it...if only...oh nevermind...

    • by koan (80826) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:21PM (#39292789)

      It sounds like you understand the "War on Terrorism" is just a scam, after the cold war they needed a new "plot device" to keep people in line and feed the Military-Industrial complex (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY [youtube.com] ) and now they have it, the "Never Ending War on Terror (NEWT)", it can never be won because terrorism is "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. " and that will never ever go away.

      • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:30PM (#39292901) Homepage Journal

        ...terrorism is "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. " and that will never ever go away.

        Especially considering that is the US government's domestic stratagem, verbatim.

        Funny how the feds see terrorists behind every door, save their own.

        • by rikkards (98006)

          key issue is the US uses "violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes" against governments. That's called foreign policy, when you do it against civilians, that's called terrorism.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        It's not a scam, but it has gained unreasonable power; something it has been slowly loosing over the last 3 years.
        Terrorism is real, at it happens. Being prepared for it, and on the look out for it is a good thing.

        Like the cold war. Did you do some stupid things in the name of the cold war? Yes. Where the Russians a threat? Yes.

    • While I generally agree with you that the war terrorism is a vast waste of money, smoking and drinking are terrible examples. You can't, and shouldn't really try, save people from there own choices. The only time society has a right to intervene in my personal life is when it harms others.
    • by jsepeta (412566)

      obesity kills one hundred times as many people every year as osama bin laden did once. once.

      mcdonald's is a bigger terrorist threat than china. china has learned that they don't need to invade us, just invite our corporations over to hand them technology and know how. the trade is that our companies profit from the hiring of communist slaves. seems like a sweet deal for the 1%.

    • by rikkards (98006)

      How many dozens of 9/11's happen each year as a result of smoking and alcohol?
      Careful you are treading on personal liberties (this comes to you on behalf of the alcohol and tobacco lobbies)

    • Hey man, on September 11, 2001, 18,000 children starved to death. [usatoday.com]

  • Tired of the word "terrorist and/or terrorism.

  • anyone with even the most minimal technical ability is a suspect. Watch out Faecesbook friends, they're coming for you!
  • Hacking books (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:18PM (#39292753)

    I recently purchased some hacking books on amazon out of curiosity, half-realizing that this COULD put me on some watch lists I probably don't want to be on. I wonder whether I'm just being paranoid.... or if we actually got to that point already.

    • Nothing to fear, Citizen; now, if you would kindly place your hands in the yellow circles, we will proceed with the scan of your person and residence...

      For your security, of course.
    • I recently purchased some hacking books on amazon out of curiosity, half-realizing that this COULD put me on some watch lists I probably don't want to be on. I wonder whether I'm just being paranoid.... or if we actually got to that point already.

      It depends -- are you affiliated with a research lab that does computer security work? If yes, nobody will both you, because you are "supposed" to be reading about those sorts of things. On the other hand, if you are just a middle class worker somewhere, you are not supposed to be reading about technical things, so you will stand out as a suspect. Welcome to the land of paranoia, stupidity, and lost privacy rights.

    • No, you're fine.

  • If only all ISP added filter to filter the announce prefixes we would have been safe from hijacking prefixes on the Internet today.

    However, it turn out that the ISP:s around the world don't give a shit about it.

    Terrorist, every prefix is up for grab! Just announce whatever you like and use that when you are going to hack the U.S.

    Here is my original thread on NANOG on this. Please remeber that NOBODY REPLIED.

    do not filter your customers - part2 [nanog.org]
  • by zmollusc (763634)

    The REAL threat is the terrorist sleeper agents that have infiltrated government itself! They want to destroy society and bring back serfdom! And they seem to be in the majority.

  • To date, < Terrorists/Drug Lords/Chinamen/Homeschoolers > have not used the Internet to launch a full-scale cyber attack, but we cannot underestimate their intent. <Terrorists/Drug Lords/Chinamen/Homeschoolers > have shown interest in pursuing hacking skills. And they may seek to train their own recruits or hire outsiders, with an eye toward pursuing cyber attacks.

    Just insert your favorite boogeyman in between the angle brackets.

  • IMMINENT TERRORIST THREAT!

    Must be an election year...
    =Smidge=

  • all the government crackdowns on freedom, coupled with raids on freedom fighters like anonymous and wikileaks, means that these threats only serve as pleas for the government to suspend more of our rights. i don't think i'm down with that.

  • If terrorists would start hacking instead of blowing up civilians, would it really be that bad?

    • by forkfail (228161)

      To play the devil's advocate, yes. Hack into New York's water and sewage systems. Or a nuke reactor. Or even a power grid. The economic damage (and in some case, loss of life) could be quite large.

      With this said, I fear that this sort of anti-terrorism effort will be all about stripping our rights to go after music pirates. And centralization of the 'net, which will actually make each of the above listed targets easier to hit in the end than a distributed defense.

  • Don't have any sensitive machines connected to the Internet. Create a completely separate and independent network for government work with all of that tracking / authentication / identification that you want. Problem solved.

    You can't hack an FBI server over the Internet if there's no connection to it.

    • by Fallon (33975)
      The U.S. government calls that SIPRnet, it's where all the classified data lives, other even more secure networks are required to process Top Secret data. As far as being unhackable just because it's not connected to the internet? Just ask Pvt. Bradley Manning how impenetrable that made it (SIPR was where he got the data from), or the Iranians how robust that strategy was at protecting their Natanz nuclear facility (Stuxnet).

      Non-internet connectivness is a massive hurdle to overcome & keeps out most att
  • by trongey (21550) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:43PM (#39293063) Homepage

    The NOAA has alerted congress that air might contain invisible gasses. We cannot underestimate the threat from those gasses which in certain conditions can be accelerated in a way that will cause damage to the US infrastructure.

  • The damage terrorists do, even when they have their greatest successes, is as nothing when compared to the damage done by regular for-profit criminals.

    Whisky kills more people than terrorism, and we here in the USA have already decided (volstead act, anyone?) that it's really not that big of a deal.

    Ignore terrorists. They are useless losers who are less dangerous to you than texting drivers. You are more in danger from wild dogs than you are from terrorists.

  • China has all, but advertised their cyber attacks on the US and this is what Mueller is worried about? Get ready for naked scanners for your laptop.
    • Kinda old. It mentions the replacement project, Sentinel, due "sometime in 2009". What happened to it? Why, it's been delayed multiple times, had severe contractor problems, including a stop work order, and has as of last word, been delayed to next May. [scribd.com] But it'll be done by then, you betcha.

  • Cybersecurity is already a lost cause. What could terrorists do that isn't already being done by vandals, hacktivists, spies, and criminals?

    We are living the worst case now.

    If it's possible for terrorists to take down a national power grid, some non-terrorist loser would already have done it for the lulz.

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @05:31PM (#39293689)

    Terrorists may be poking around, but in the end, they aren't going to be very interested. Why? No visuals. Terrorists want great visuals that will make news and the blogs.

  • There is no greater threat to National Security than a hacked terrorist.
    Give us more money.
  • " He believes that while terrorists haven't hacked their way into the U.S. government yet,"

    I dunno. Based on the way the 3 branches of government act, how can they be sure?

  • They're going to attack us with suicide logic bombers!

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