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Air Force Openly Seeking Cyberweapons 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-the-other-kids-have-'em dept.
Gunkerty Jeb writes "The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center posted a broad agency announcement (PDF) recently, calling on contractors to submit concept papers detailing technological demonstrations of 'cyberspace warfare operations' capabilities. Among many other things, the Air Force is seeking to obtain the abilities to 'destroy, deny, degrade, disrupt, deceive, corrupt, or usurp the adversaries' ability to use the cyberspace domain for his advantage' and capabilities that would allow them to intercept, identify, and locate sources of vulnerability for threat recognition, targeting, and planning, both immediately and for future operations."
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Air Force Openly Seeking Cyberweapons

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    whatever could go wrong ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SomePgmr (2021234)

      Right? I figure I can get at least $20 billion up front, another $200 billion in overruns, and about 15 years to develop a VB6 goatse "weapon" that never really works right.

      I love this idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @05:21PM (#41156943)

    That “adversaries” includes us. Especially us.

    Good luck knowing what is real in 10 years. Most people already have barely and self-made observations/experiences.

    • That “adversaries” includes us. Especially us.

      .

      This is the USAF, not the NSA, CIA, FBI, DIA, TSA, etc. Three initial agencies are the ones you need to be afraid of, ;-)

      • by tqk (413719)

        That "adversaries" includes us. Especially us.

        This is the USAF, not the NSA, CIA, FBI, DIA, TSA, etc. Three initial agencies are the ones you need to be afraid of, ;-)

        Doolittle should be spinning in his grave hearing that. What do the TLAs bring to bear? Lawyers and cops with guns, possibly rent-a-cops (TSA). What's the USAF got to compare to them? Just cruise missiles (possibly nuke tipped), stealth bombers (possibly nuke armed), UAVs, AWACS, LEO satellite surveillance and targeting capability, ...

        Yeah, the TLAs are waaaaayy more dangerous than the USAF. :-P

        • a nuke would do to much collateral civilian-citizen damage for it to be used in country, where planted evidence and bullying is perfect for getting individuals in country. I think the three letters are more dangerous to individuals.

          • by tqk (413719)

            a nuke would do [too] much [collateral] civilian-citizen damage for it to be used in country ...

            Methinks you believe "they" care more about "us" than "they" do. Call it paranoia if you wish, but I think they're fishing around right now for ways to plausibly get away with the insane. News reports I've read (WaPo, et al) show they're desperately trying to start a war with Iran. We're easy targets in comparison.

            I'm expecting neutron bombs in our future (for our own good (tm), of course).

            • yeah i guess i could see that, but it would be dropped on another country not on our own cities very large difference a three letter is more than willing to f you over and will with low to no collateral damage. the three letters are a scalpel to be used on us, the military is a f'ing big cudgel with spikes in it used to beat the shit out of everyone else.

    • by Kirth (183)

      The "adversaries” who don't get access to the vulnerability information also includes the manufacturer of the software, its customers, and certainly ALL OTHER DEPARTMENTS. Can't have the Navy or the Ground Forces to have that information.

      They're moving towards a vicious circle where everyone hoards vulnerabilities, and nobody is secure.

  • Unethical ? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Give everyone else Windows install disks and free licenses. And run our systems on linux.
    Might be against the Geneva conventions for torture

    • by zlives (2009072)

      yes but they can bypass the threat by deleting system32.exe

  • Unlike nukes, we all have access to 'cyberweapons'.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ..and ponies. I want a pony. Tell them I want a pony!

  • For better or worse, this is a new battlespace, and DOD is talking about it [wired.com]

  • I mean... He's got the Internet Kill-switch, which seems like it would qualify as being able to: "destroy, deny, degrade, disrupt, deceive, corrupt, or usurp the adversaries' ability to use the cyberspace domain for his advantage"

    Ask the NSA if you want to: "intercept, identify, and locate sources of vulnerability for threat recognition, targeting, and planning, both immediately and for future operations."

    If you ask me, the Air force should just focus on flying their air planes. Look, I realise that i

    • by jfengel (409917) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @05:47PM (#41157365) Homepage Journal

      The Internet Kill Switch died in committee. Even if it had passed, that's not really what they're talking about here. It would (potentially) have shut America off from the Internet, but that's only degrading the enemy's capability in the sense that shooting yourself denies them the chance to kill you.

      The fact that this is being done in the Air Force is a little surprising, but there's a remarkable amount of redundancy between our branches. All of the branches do computer work of various kinds. That redundancy is expensive, no doubt, but it also creates diversity which makes it more robust.

      Whether we actually need that robustness or if it's just more make-work for Congressional districts... I won't touch that. Let's just say that it's complicated.

      • "... but that's only degrading the enemy's capability in the sense that shooting yourself denies them the chance to kill you."

        Hahaha! Mod up. Best line I've read in a long time.

        • by tqk (413719)

          "... but that's only degrading the enemy's capability in the sense that shooting yourself denies them the chance to kill you."

          Hahaha! Mod up. Best line I've read in a long time.

          Oh please. It's called the Masada Defense, and it's been an old joke for about two millennia. "Ha! Didn't we make those Roman Legions look stupid! Nyaa, nyaa, you can't kill us because we committed suicide. Nyaa, nyaa!"

          • "Oh please. It's called the Masada Defense, and it's been an old joke for about two millennia. 'Ha! Didn't we make those Roman Legions look stupid! Nyaa, nyaa, you can't kill us because we committed suicide. Nyaa, nyaa!'"

            So? How is that relevant to the fact that it is still the best line I have read on Slashdot in a long while?

            It doesn't have to be new to be funny and appropriate.

            • by tqk (413719)

              So? How is that relevant to the fact that it is still the best line I have read on Slashdot in a long while?

              It doesn't have to be new to be funny and appropriate.

              I'm trying to think of something funny in reply, but all I get is old jokes, demnit. Oh yeah, "intercontinental cybernetic missives" in the same thread/story. That's funny! Well, I thought so. No offence intended, honest.

              Perhaps I'm being a bit over-critical this evening. I strive to educate at the least. I don't think Masada was anything to crow about. This [wikipedia.org] is more my style.

              [No, I'm not Jewish, FYI. :-) ]

          • "Oh please."

            Further yet, it doesn't even have to be particularly funny or appropriate to be a good line in the context of Slashdot.

            • by tqk (413719)

              "Oh please."

              Further yet, it doesn't even have to be particularly funny or appropriate to be a good line in the context of Slashdot.

              Do you want to play "/. Stereotypes?"

              i) We all live in our Mom's basement.

              ii) We've never had a Significant Other in our lives.
              iib) There are no women here or in the rest of the IT Universe.

              iii) "Social skills? What're those? Bath? What's a bath?"

              iv) "They're" == "their" == "there"
              ivb) "Two" == "to" == "too"
              ivc) "Lose" == "loose" ...

              v) "What's an apostrophe?"

              vi) USA! USA! USA!

              Boston Red Sox 5, LA Angels (of Anaheim) 4. I'd rather be watching the Mets. I'm very glad it's not -40 [CF] today.

              • Do you want to play "/. Stereotypes?"

                Yes, of course that's what I was doing, in a humorous/sarcastic way. And it was pretty silly.

                Having said that, I object somewhat to (iib), but I really like (v).

  • Suggestion (Score:5, Funny)

    by Antipater (2053064) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @05:26PM (#41157059)
    They'll need to get to work creating something to monitor and regulate all these cyberweapons they're creating. A defense net for the Air Force, a "Net-in-the-Sky", if you will. That should work, right?
    • by tqk (413719)

      They'll need to get to work creating something to monitor and regulate all these cyber weapons they're creating. A defense net for the Air Force ...

      I wonder if they'll bother to look into making their own systems immune, just in case it kinda, sorta, comes around and decides to bite them too.

      Nah. That wouldn't happen, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @05:29PM (#41157103)

    bet the password for the entire system will be cyberweapons12

  • I think they misunderstood what space we are talking about in cyberspace.
    • I think they misunderstood what space we are talking about in cyberspace.

      Cyberspace: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the cybership FreeEnterprise.

      So will the JPL be replaced with a CPL? Are we in a new CyberSpace Race? Are people going to start manufacturing stockpiles of intercontinental cybernetic missives?

      At least holodecks and replicators actually exist in cyberspace....

      • by tqk (413719)

        ... intercontinental cybernetic missives ...

        Now that's funny! I sent one of those to a friend in Europe this morning. I sure hope they didn't suffer.

        At least holodecks and replicators actually exist in cyberspace

        They do not. Since when was Hollywood cognizant of cyberspace? Have you seen the dreck they put out? Jeebus. Hollywood should stick to baseball movies.

  • Cypernetic weapons are en vogue again. Probably part of the Air Force's steampunk efforts. Next: Attack Zeppelins!

  • Air force just wants a bigger piece of the huge bloated military budget.

    Cyber warfare? We do that. Now give us the extra Billioooons of dollars.

    Fucking waste of money. We can defend our country with volunteers if we are ever attacked (see how well Iraq and Afghanistan held back the US military with just poorly armed volunteers defending their homes and families from the invading army). A standing army is just for imperialist wars, and tyranny against the population.

    • (see how well Iraq and Afghanistan held back the US military with just poorly armed volunteers defending their homes and families from the invading army).

      I know, right? The Iraqis held the Americans off for 21 whole days [wikipedia.org]!

      • by BlueStrat (756137)

        I know, right? The Iraqis held the Americans off for 21 whole days [wikipedia.org]!

        Well, "held off" is a bit of an overstatement anyways, don't you think?

        More like: "It took us that long to haul enough ordnance to the place and to unload it again into the Iraqi Republican Guard given the finite number of soldiers/weapons we had there."

        It takes a bit of time to destroy/kill that much/many, you know. Weapons have cycling rates and reload times. Soldiers need meals and sleep. Vehicles/armor have a limited speed, especially if traversing rough terrain. Slower heavy supply/support transport ha

      • by tqk (413719)

        (see how well Iraq and Afghanistan held back the US military with just poorly armed volunteers defending their homes and families from the invading army).

        I know, right? The Iraqis held the Americans off for 21 whole days!

        ... then continued to bleed you (and them, and civilians) until Dec. 18, 2011 [wikipedia.org] despite it all being "over with" in 21 days. Some people will never understand Stalingrad (suckers) or the VietNam War (suckers^2). How long did it take to actually find Saddam again? "Most significantly, Saddam Hussein himself was captured on December 13, 2003 ..."

        Hmm. "March 20, 2003 to December 18, 2011 ..." I think that's a bit more than 21 days. In fact, I'm fairly sure March 20, 2003 to December 13, 2003 is quite a bit

    • by gtall (79522)

      Get some perspective. Cyber is cheap compared to all the hardware and personnel costs for running a military. The Air Force just doesn't want to get caught with their pants down, and doesn't want to depend upon another service to provide them cyber capabilities.

  • But sadly I have no cyberweapons to sell.
    Chemical weapons decanted intestinally from last nights taco fest I have in abundance.
  • We just need to get some of those "eWhore" bots together and use them in coordinated ddos and spam campaigns. Since most foreign people as well as Americans can't resist the urge of nice boobies or wood, all computers would be rendered useless within a few hours of having adware and spyware porn viewers installed.
  • Subsume the production of all commodity computer equipment in the world. Then introduce firmware that can do all sorts of things with the hardware, hence you would have complete control over your enemy's equipment.
  • He slotted the Chinese virus, paused, then drove it home. `Okay,' he said, `we're on..." `Christ on a crutch,' the Flatline said, `take a look at this.' The Chinese virus was unfolding around them. Polychrome shadow, countless translucent layers shifting and recombining. Protean, enormous, it towered above them, blotting out the void. `Big mother,' the Flatline said.
  • Listening to these people they are all assuming there is some sort of analouge to physical reality to be had when no such thing exists.

    "Resources" are meaningless. Your advasary does not need aircraft carriers, subs and tanks. A dialup modem is just as capable of bringing down power grids as is a well connected multi-gigabit pipe at every IXP.

    One smart, board or lucky person located anywhere can cause you just as much grief as an army of lesser such people.

    Denial of capabilities means nothing when those c

  • They're using their existing airforce vocabulary. Which means they're using their existing airforce thinking.

    You don't "intercept", "locate", "target", or "plan" with information technology the same way you do those things with enemy aircraft. We do have problems with information security and systems security, but they're not the same kinds of problems as bombers flying overhead. And we have solutions, too, which just don't detect or respond or work in the same ways. They need to find someone in the field a

  • Nobody at the US Air Force seems to be thinking strategically.
    • There are 2 major problems with offensive cyberwar:
    • The USA has the most to lose. We are the most dependent on the Internet. It doesn't matter who initiates a cyberwar act, the USA will take the most damage. And, any cyberwar act by the US legitimises all other cyberwar activity. The USA has nothing to gain and everything to lose by offensive cyberwar preparation. This is why Schneier is advocating cyberwar treaties: https://www.schneier.com/ [schneier.com]
  • In theory, the purpose of our military is to protect us. As such, they would be failing this job if they DIDN'T look into this kind of stuff.

    In practice, our military supplies a LOT of jobs for a lot of people. I don't see any reason why this shouldn't include the technologically inclined.

    In reality, we have far less to fear from the Air Force than we do from a host of other government agencies, all of which are probably already up to their asses in this.

    I'm just not seeing any reason to feel concern he

  • Tell them to give us the Stargate tech they're hiding in Cheyenne Mountain, and we'll talk about cyber-weapons.

  • by CDMan (247297)

    Get them to switch over to Time Warner Cable Broadband Internet...

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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