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US Cyber Command Discloses Offensive Cyberwarfare Capabilities 136

Posted by samzenpus
from the decker-brigade dept.
MojoKid writes "Earlier this week, the newly minted head of the United States' Cyber Command team and NSA head General Keith Alexander told assembled lawmakers that the U.S. has created an offensive cyberwarfare division designed to do far more than protect U.S. assets from foreign attacks. This is a major change in policy from previous public statements — in the past, the U.S. has publicly focused on defensive actions and homegrown security improvements. General Alexander told the House Armed Services Committee, 'This is an offensive team that the Defense Department would use to defend the nation if it were attacked in cyberspace. Thirteen of the teams that we're creating are for that mission alone.' This is an interesting shift in U.S. doctrine and raises questions like: What's proportional response to China probing at utility companies? Who ought to be blamed for Red October? What's the equivalent of a warning shot in cyberspace? When we detect foreign governments probing at virtual borders, who handles the diplomatic fallout as opposed to the silent retribution?"
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US Cyber Command Discloses Offensive Cyberwarfare Capabilities

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    And that'll be that !!

    • by stevew (4845)

      I think we're in for a whole new Code War. I'm sorry - I just couldn't help myself.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @07:15PM (#43177305) Homepage Journal

    Sure, the saying goes: if you want peace prepare for war.

    But what if you do not want peace, what if war proved to be much more profitable for people who are top ranking political officials and their buddies? Well, then you accuse everybody else of wanting war and attack first.

    So this here I came up with just now: If you want war, accuse others of warmongering and attack them.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's fine by me. As an employee for a government contractor, these wars have made me and co-workers very rich.

      Attacking first is what you SHOULD do when you have the upper hand in military strength. It's what has made and kept the United States the mightiest, richest, most influential nation in the history of mankind.

      It's a win-win situation.

      • by Motard (1553251)

        I think it's just a response to China; "Nice firewall you got there. It sure would be a shame if something happened to it...."

      • by MRe_nl (306212)

        http://listverse.com/2010/06/22/top-10-greatest-empires-in-history/ [listverse.com]

        A point could be made for "most willfully ignorant", but that's about it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's fine by me. As an employee for a government contractor, these wars have made me and co-workers very rich.

        Attacking first is what you SHOULD do when you have the upper hand in military strength. It's what has made and kept the United States the mightiest, richest, most influential nation in the history of mankind.

        It's a win-win situation.

        You are a fool,

        The United States is not the mightiest. It could be, but only if you are counting Nuclear Warheads, but why do you need 100 when 1 would have the same effect.

        The United States is not the richest. No, The US does have the highest nominal GDP, but it also has the highest debt. It is nowhere near the top of GDP Per Person.

        As for the most influential, now I know there is something wrong with you, the US still hasn't adopted the metric system.

        I can troll too!

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        The trouble is, you might well be serious.
      • And this is why I feel zero pity when layoffs or just about anything bad hit people in the "defense" industry. They're all like this. "Oh is there blood all over my hands? I couldn't see it because I'm neck-deep in MONIEZ LOLZ!"

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Is it worth winning every battle if you lose the war? We won't be able to defend ourselves from an invasion from Canada, once the debt gets called in. The economy is about to collapse, as a result of our military buildup. That's what did in Russia, and we are doing the same, just a few years (decades) later
    • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @07:35PM (#43177441)

      I think, and hope, that history has taught our military leaders plenty.
      BTW, they are forced to study a lot of history on their way up the greasy pole.

      Hence, they certainly know that whilst limited war, if there is such a thing, can indeed lead to vast profits, unlimited war surely leads to ruin.

      Of course, we are both gloriously off-topic...what is about is simply one nation-state recognising real and/or potential threats, and organising to counter them. I'm fine with that.

      • by roman_mir (125474)

        Hence, they certainly know that whilst limited war, if there is such a thing, can indeed lead to vast profits, unlimited war surely leads to ruin.

        - whose ruin?

        Once you are ready to start a war for your profit, what do you care who it ruins? Anybody starting a war for a profit by definition proves that he doesn't care about anything at all, killing, destruction, where is the question? It doesn't matter who, and if it's women and kids... you just don't lead them as much. Ain't war hell?

        Looks like they never want to end wars nowadays, the longer the better, the longer the more profit certain people make and notice that with every war the population go

        • While I agree with you on several points, I have to take exception to World War I and II. Would you prefer to be speaking German, these days?

          • by roman_mir (125474)

            I am speaking German these days. Not very good, but enough.

            While some wars must be fought, they cannot be avoided, you should also not be blind to the reality as to why they start in the first place WWII was the inevitable conclusion of the policies that the world engaged in for half a century before that. For Germany of-course it was a direct consequence of the WWI and the currency and trade wars that followed, which weakened the economy (and Germany was on the wrong path towards a version of socialism al

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            If we had joined WWI on the German side, what is the problem? The problem with collective memory is we still demonize the enemy, 100 years later. Why?
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Anybody starting a war for a profit by definition proves that he doesn't care about anything at all

          Nonsense, starting a war for a profit proves that you care about profits.

          And as capitalism loving libertarians have taught us, caring about and seeking profits are the most moral things. If you made a profit, it means you overproduced or under consumed (or both), discovered efficiencies and provided something the market wants. If the market didn't want your war, nobody would pay you to fight this war, and you wouldn't have made a profit.

          But if you did make a profit, it means you improved the economy. Your p

      • by AK Marc (707885)

        Of course, we are both gloriously off-topic...what is about is simply one nation-state recognising real and/or potential threats, and organising to counter them. I'm fine with that.

        If every country on the planet joined forces to attack the US, they would not be successful. If every country in the world (save NATO) tried to take Libya, and NATO tried to take Libya, the US would be on the winning side. There is precious little the US can't do, assuming everyone is our enemy. That, and our threat meters are broken. If we disbanded our military and abolished DHS and all they do (coast guard and such), China would still be unable to invade and hold a single US city in the contiguous US

    • So this here I came up with just now: If you want war, accuse others of warmongering and attack them.

      Yeah, you were the first to think of that :-)

    • by radtea (464814)

      Sure, the saying goes: if you want peace prepare for war.

      The saying is military propaganda. If you want peace, prepare for peace.

      If anyone doesn't know what "prepare for peace" means--or thinks it means "surrender"--they are part of the problem, too ignorant to partake in this discussion, unable to see that there are options that are better than war (and since war is both on theoretical and empirical grounds the least efficient, least effective solution to any problem there are always options better than war.)

      • The saying is military propaganda. If you want peace, prepare for peace.

        No, it's simple game theory. Let's say you decide to do away with your army or you defund it such that it is no longer capable. Your neighbor however decides to keep their army. Furthermore your neighbor is lead by a dictator who would really like to be your dictator too. Now that you no longer have an army you suddenly find yourself ruled by your neighbor who thought having an army was a fine idea. Maintaining an army (i.e. preparing for war) is simply an act of deterrence.

        It's not about military prop

    • Sure, the saying goes: if you want peace prepare for war.

      Sort of like how the motto of your religion should be "if you want liberty, prepare for fascism". Except, of course, some people honestly believe that war can bring peace - while any thinking person could tell that your aims would bring only fascism and never liberty.

    • by DirtyLiar (796951)

      [What if you want war?] Well, then you accuse everybody else of wanting war and attack first.

      So this here I came up with just now: If you want war, accuse others of warmongering and attack them.

      Ancient tactic, used even before recorded history.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      So under your sayings, what does one do who does not want to prepare for war? Prepare for peace, and get invaded? Is life after invasion any worse? The Romans (and many others) have asserted that their invasions improved the lives of those invaded.
  • by Eunuchswear (210685) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @07:18PM (#43177317) Journal

    Stuxnet.

    • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @07:22PM (#43177359)

      Stuxnet, discovered in 2010, was hardly the first salvo to be fired.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_Rain [wikipedia.org]
      http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1098961-1,00.html [time.com]

      • Stuxnet, discovered in 2010, was hardly the first salvo to be fired.

        It was the first one to be noticed by the mainstream media and the peripheral bloggers. Yes, those of us who have been here, in the industry, know better. But then, we still consider hacker to be a term worthy of respect... not synonymous with electronic terrorism. What our community knows and understands, and what the larger society knows and understands, with regard to our community and the study and practice of our art, is worlds apart.

        • by thejynxed (831517)

          That's because to them, we are the Merlins of the modern world. We make magic happen. They don't care to understand the how or why, just that it is done and it works. I don't even think they can comprehend the how or the why, to be honest.

          Honestly, someone smarter than I am could probably turn all of the esoteric things found in IT into a major world religion and make serious bank doing so.

          If it worked for goatherders, carpenters, and fishermen in ancient days, and some hack novelist in the 1950s/1960s, it

          • Honestly, someone smarter than I am could probably turn all of the esoteric things found in IT into a major world religion and make serious bank doing so.

            While I can't speak on behalf of everyone smarter than you, in my own case, I wouldn't do it because, like most of my intelligent friends, the more we learn, the less we wish to use our knowledge and learning for personal gain at the expense of others. It seems that the desire for power is inversely proportional to the desire for knowledge. It's not often you find the two together... and even when you do, it's usually for a specific goal, rather than sought after in its own right. Most often, the highly kno

          • by tehcyder (746570)
            In terms of founding a religion, you face the slight problem of the charisma vacuum found in most IT experts.
        • by tehcyder (746570)
          The "community" also includes hackers/crackers for hire to governments and criminals, so I wouldn't big it up too much.
      • by jjp9999 (2180664)

        I think Buckshot Yankee was one of the first major ones (unless you count the Blaster Worm).

      • by KGIII (973947)

        Your post made me think of this from the description:

        This is a major change in policy from previous public statements — in the past, the US has publicly focused on defensive actions and homegrown security improvements.

        I've always assumed we had offensive capabilities and have never doubted we did. I suspect we are hearing about it publicly due to the recent news-making attacks from China. I'd have honestly been shocked and disappointed to find out that we hadn't prepared and we actively working in this area. I think it is a requirement for every warring nation to have such capability and I assume the non-third world countries all have such capacity.

        So, no, I don't thin

        • So, no, I don't think this is the first salvo, nor are your links, as I think that we've likely had this capacity for quite some time. It seems likely.

          I don't think it's likely. US Cyber Command was created in 2009. The government had its head buried in the sand for quite a while with regard to the need for offensive and defensive computer experts. They certainly weren't organized under a central command, it seemed more like each department had their own IT responsible for their own network security, like a corporation, and that was it. Meanwhile, China was proactively training their soldiers how to get into networks, steal files, and leave undetected

          • by KGIII (973947)

            Interesting and thanks for sharing your views though I guess I'm also HOPEFUL that we're not entering the ring this late in the game. I've always (well, in recent times at least) assumed we had a three letter agency who had a crew of folk who took care of that sort of stuff.

      • Stuxnet, discovered in 2010, was hardly the first salvo to be fired.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_Rain [wikipedia.org]
        http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1098961-1,00.html [time.com]

        But those are examples of espionage, not warfare.

        Stuxnet wasn't espionage, it was an attempt to destroy things.

        • Stuxnet wasn't espionage, it was an attempt to destroy things.

          It also was not targeted at China. Stuxnet is not a reason for China to attack us. I would argue that stealing classified information and destruction of hardware are pretty similar in the eyes of the government. They are both attacks.

          • Stuxnet wasn't espionage, it was an attempt to destroy things.

            It also was not targeted at China. Stuxnet is not a reason for China to attack us.

            I see Solo blasting Greedo I begin to thing I might need to shoot Solo first some day.

            I would argue that stealing classified information and destruction of hardware are pretty similar in the eyes of the government. They are both attacks.

            So you would nuke someone for spying on you?

  • That's easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @07:18PM (#43177323)

    >What's proportional response to China probing at utility companies?
    Redirect all traffic coming from the Peoples Army to goatse.
    >Who ought to be blamed for Red October?
    Sean Connery. What kind of Russian has a Scottish accent. "I know this book. Your conclusions were all wrong. Halsey acted foolishly."
    >What's the equivalent of a warning shot in cyberspace?
    Redirecting the Great Firewall to Justin Bieber's Twitter feed. Or making a press release detailing our cyberwarfare capabilites.
    >When we detect foreign governments probing at virtual borders, who handles the diplomatic fallout as opposed to the silent retribution?
    If there is diplomatic fallout then it wasn't really "silent retribution" was it? Take turns making it alternately look like Anon or Isreal.

    • Take turns making it alternately look like Anon or Isreal.

      Isreal is totally a real country. Israel is just a typo.

    • by Dusty101 (765661)

      >Who ought to be blamed for Red October?
      Sean Connery. What kind of Russian has a Scottish accent. "I know this book. Your conclusions were all wrong. Halsey acted foolishly."

      Ah, but that's because Marko Ramius was actually Lithuanian by birth. Everyone knows that the Lithuanians were the Scots of the USSR.

  • Ten years from now, a Pulitzer Prize winning photo of President Christie, or maybe President Hillary, in the War Room, head slung low, hand across furrowed brow.

    "President micro-managing the war, agonizes over accidental bombing of Habbo Hotel."

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @07:29PM (#43177395)

    joshua is the logon no password needed.

  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @07:31PM (#43177405)

    This nonsense is merely a result of defense contractors managing to convince the decision-makers that this kind of capability is necessary. Some imagined threat of "cyberwarfare" (that at most could do about the same damage to the United States as a widespread power outage) is used to justify spending untold billions on a division of... what? Are these people supposed to be hackers? information gatherers? Cyber-warriors just sounds cool I guess. Let's go through the fundamentals: Who is the enemy? What threat do they pose? What damages have we suffered in the past that could have been prevented? What kind of damage could be inflicted using what weapons, exactly? What does international law say about this activity? How closely can this related to actual war? I doubt lawmaker in that hearing could answer any of those questions accurately.

    As if American companies like Google aren't already leading experts in online security. Google is full of smart people, they can take care of their own front gate.

    We live in an exciting time. Stuxnet opened Pandora's box, so-to-speak. However for all that technology, I'm more worried about lunatics with assault rifles. That stuff is REAL.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by joe_frisch (1366229)

      Cyberwarfare has the potential to do LOT of damage. If every file on your home computer and backups were wiped out, how many of your hours would it take to recover. Multiply by say 100 million. Multiply by the value of the average computer users time. If say 100 million credit card numbers were stolen and used to make say a billion random small on-line purchases, what would it cost to back it all out? What are the digital rights to all of your paid-for content and software worth? Again multiply by 100 m

      • by radtea (464814)

        Nice use of the Standard Template for Pro-Government Action:

        1) Lead with wildly exaggerated scenario that you make out to be super-scary

        2) Middle paragraph that's patriotic and tough-sounding without actually saying anything that anyone doesn't already know, but presented as if its some kind of special revelation that only a super-tough uber-patriot could possibly have come up with.

        3) Close with a polite disavowal of the lead paragraph's wildly exaggerated super-scary scenario, so no one can call you out fo

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Defensive tech always lag offensive tech. The best deterrent is always the psychological one backed by offensive capability -- instead of intercepting the actual bullet, you intercept the very thought of firing that bullet by clearly defining the consequences of such action. This is basic doctrine whose rationale Slashdotters readily accept with regard to Iran's and North Korea's pursuit of weapons, yet somehow choose to mire themselves in morality here.

      Stuxnet didn't "open Pandora's box"
      http://en.wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        I don't disagree, but the fact is that a plane crash killing a few hundred people at once is bigger news than a couple of hundred road traffic deaths in aggregate.

        There is a reason why the 9/11 terrorists chose planes and large, famous targets, rather than assassinate a few thousand ordinary citizens one at a time over a period of years.

  • I got cyberspace, cyberwarfare, virtual, and cyber command.

    Also: "begs the question" does not mean what you think it means.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @07:33PM (#43177413)

    It should be called cyber espionage, and handled as an intelligence issue. Just like there's always spying, there will never be a "cyber peace". Threatening with a counterattack is based on a bad analogy, and doesn't work in this scenario.

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Stuxnet was an attack, not espionage so yes it does work in this scenario. Oh, and you're an idiot.
    • by EdZ (755139)
      I prefer the 'medieval siege' analogy of 'cyber war'. You country is the outer palisades of a walled city. Your Important Government Networks are castles in the city. Viruses are diseases, spear-phishing are saboteurs.
      You can totally wall off yourself from the outside world (shut down all trans-oceanic cables and sat links), but that's just slow death. You can monitor all travellers passing through your gates (enforced whole-country DPI), but there are so many you cannot rigorously inspect all, guards may
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @07:59PM (#43177607)

    I'm deeply troubled by the lack of understanding that most major world governments have regarding information technology. These are people who still believe copying a file is theft, that the internet and the world wide web are synonymous, and that using encryption must mean you're a criminal. As they do not understand many of the fundamentals of information technology, how can we expect them to make reasonable and informed decisions about the use of the military in response to threats against that infrastructure?

    We have had a disasterous serious of wars starting with Vietnam due to a lack of understanding (or willful ignorance) by politicians, leading to massive loss of life because they completely lacked situational awareness. In Iraq, the picture of Bush sitting in front of his "Mission: Accomplished" banner is a running joke even to this day, not because we didn't "beat" Iraq, but because we got stuck in a quagmire of tribal politics, shifting political opinions at home, and soldiers that were not trained for the new paradigm of urban warfare. Our military has traditionally not been a police force, and yet increasingly that's what we're using it for, with disasterous results. The road has not been smooth. I mean no disrespect to our military, or any of the militaries of the world in this, but it's something that institutionally has taken a long time to even approach this point.

    When we look at this in a historical context, it becomes clear exactly just how dangerous a military response to an IT crisis would be. The President is talking about an "internet kill switch", as are many other governments. This kind of thinking is wrong-headed and shows a remarkable lack of understanding of both the economic and sociopolical consequences of such a thing, let alone were it even technologically feasible without a massive outlay of funds in the middle of a global recession.

    The notion that we need to protect ourselves from foreign powers attacking our critical electronic, financial, and informational assets is unquestionably sound. But tasking the military with this protection, with the current command staff and structure, is intrinsically dangerous. In layman's terms, they don't know what they're doing.

    There needs to be a radical paradigm shift in military doctrine to even approach this new battlefield, let alone participate responsibly and meaningfully in it. In this field, the idea of units, divisions, generals, etc., have no analogue. Amongst our senior and most capable information technology assets, peer collaboration and decentralized information gathering and sharing is vastly more effective than the traditional military hierarchy. We need the capability to tear down and rebuild teams as needed, in a fluid and dynamic environment where individual soldier-actors within it are afforded a wide degree of freedom to make individual judgement calls. This is not a battlefield that is amiable to traditional tactics like "Throw 10,000 people at it. Stop when it dies."

    What I've seen so far is that the people who would call upon these military assets are completely uninformed about what they are realistically capable of, their relative strengths and weaknesses, and the costs and risks involved. Most of the people in the military are underinformed about this as well, but they are improving at (for an institution) a remarkable rate. They are still far behind.

    In light of all of this... I have serious reservations about going offensive. We're not even sure what we're defending yet, or how, or why. It's all shades of grey, and when we're talking about taking military action, grey isn't tolerable.

    • by Phrogman (80473)

      When you elect politicians based on the promises they make combined with the money they can generate from large corporations, and not really based on their experience and knowledge (you got rid of Clinton - a Roads Scholar - because of an overblown sex scandal, but kept Bush for a 2nd term), of course its doubtful that those making the decisions will be informed or aware of the details and consequences of their decisions. Politicians who have more concern about getting re-elected so they can better change t

      • by thejynxed (831517)

        Clinton was already in his law-defined second term (strange that we have Presidents and some Governors with limits, but not any of the rest).

    • by thoth (7907)

      So let's see... complaints about politician that suck, and the military gets to clean up their mess. Well yeah, that's the system, military is under civilian control and gets stuck making the impossible happen.

      When we look at this in a historical context, it becomes clear exactly just how dangerous a military response to an IT crisis would be.

      And what would the civilian response be? Punt the blame to someone else, deny a problem exists, bribe congress to create laws to mask corporate inaction? Wouldn't want to touch those profit margins when it is cheaper just to ignore the real problem and declare tampering illegal. I'm not sure you grasp

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      We have had a disasterous serious of wars starting with Vietnam due to a lack of understanding (or willful ignorance) by politicians, leading to massive loss of life because they completely lacked situational awareness.

      You lack situational awareness. Viet Nam was a war for profit.

      In Iraq, the picture of Bush sitting in front of his "Mission: Accomplished" banner is a running joke even to this day, not because we didn't "beat" Iraq, but because we got stuck in a quagmire of tribal politics, shifting political opinions at home, and soldiers that were not trained for the new paradigm of urban warfare.

      Right, Mission Accomplished. Next check up on No Child Left Behind. We're not leaving any of them behind, we'll take them all to war.

      There needs to be a radical paradigm shift in military doctrine to even approach this new battlefield,

      There needs to be a radical paradigm shift in what we do with our effort as a nation.

  • by GODISNOWHERE (2741453) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:10PM (#43177769)

    Ralph Langner (the guy who figured out Stuxnet was designed to attack Iran) has been critical of the US's policies of focusing on offensive capabilities while largely ignoring or grossly underfunding defensive capabilities. He wrote a op-ed [nytimes.com] in the NYT about this. Here [langner.com]is his rebuttal to Obama's executive order on critical infrastructure cyber security.

    One of the problems with cyber defensive security is that too many companies use "risk assessment", which is inappropriate for security concerns. This is because risk assessment assumes that you are aware of all possible vulnerabilities and what impact these vulnerabilities will have, which is impossible. It is too easy for companies to use a risk assessment model as an excuse for not spending any money on their security, because the costs of security show up on a balance sheet while the benefits do not.

  • by _greg (130136) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:17PM (#43177863)

    Attacks from identifiable sources in China or Russia are just exploratory research. Any serious attack would be launched from botnets running on computers belonging to citizens and companies in the country being attacked. Counter-attacking will just increase the damage. Poorly designed and maintained computers are like tinder waiting to be set alight and bring down the whole forest.

  • by gatkinso (15975) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:50PM (#43178159)

    Their role is to gather intelligence and secure sensitive government information.

    That is it.

    By developing these capabilities they make themselves a target, which can only negatively impact their primary mission. Maybe another IC member can pick up the SIGINT and crypto role that NSA seems to be abandoning.

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      NSA and CYBERCOM are two different commands who have one leader at the moment. NSA has one mission and CYBERCOM has another. NSA is not abandoning theirs.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder what is meant with US Assets, and when (not if) it will include US Intellectual Property.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      I wonder what is meant with US Assets, and when (not if) it will include US Intellectual Property.

      Put away the tinfoil hat, I doubt you're going to have cyber-marines on your ass because you downlaoded a couple of Justin Bieber tracks.

  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @09:17PM (#43178453)
    If you want to prevent "cyber" war, then let it be known that your policy is to treat every "cyber" action as its physical/kinetic equivalent. If China hacks into and disables a power grid, then treat it as if they sent in a company of paratroopers to take it over or destroy it. If a state steals sensitive information, treat it as if they or an agent walked into a government agency and stole it the old fashioned way, which would at the very least get a diplomat PNG'd. If it is something that would be considered an act of war if a person physically perpetrated the action, then it should be an act of war. Let them know that actions in "cyberspace" will have consequences in "meatspace".
  • by gmuslera (3436) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @09:23PM (#43178499) Homepage Journal

    That war will be fought in internet, and the innocent bystanders will be all of us, that in a way or another have some part of our lives here. No, won't be bullets, but privacy will dissapear (even pretending that you want it or try to give it to others could lead you to getting into political prosecutions [tumblr.com]), abuses of people in power will be common (like this [4closurefraud.org], maybe more **AA oriented this time), forbidding not "government approved" encryption, software, technologies and so on.

    Considering the investment on space exploration, Mars will be for long time the only "land of the free"

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Considering the investment on space exploration, Mars will be for long time the only "land of the free"

      Mars will never be the land of the free unless it is terraformed, by which time there will be plenty of time to put boots on throats on mars.

  • Today Obama called [nytimes.com] the new Chinese President, Xi Jinping, to congratulate him on his confirmation as head of state and chairman of the people's republic central military commission (he was already General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and chairman of the Party Central Military Commission). In that call, Obama made a point of addressing cyberattacks as one of the most prominent issues in their relationship.

    It's no accident that two days earlier NSA Chief Keith Alexander "disclosed" to the Hous
  • How does this statement make any sense?

    'This is an offensive team that the Defense Department would use to defend the nation if it were attacked in cyberspace.'

    Wouldn't that be a defensive team?

    • by KGIII (973947)

      When the Brits attacked on D-Day they were doing so in defense of United Kingdom. An offensive act may be committed in a defensive capacity in the form of needing to attack in order to get someone to stop attacking you. Make sense?

  • This shouldn't be that shocking. Congress authorized offensive cyberattacks in 2011. Remember? We talked about it: http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/12/23/1850209/us-congress-authorizes-offensive-use-of-cyberwarfare [slashdot.org] [Slashdot]

    That aside, however, the US can only let itself get punched so many times before it hits back. The Chinese are doing a lot more than just probing our networks, and they've been doing these things for a long time now: http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2011/04/wikileaks_cable.html [schneier.com] [ Sc

  • by gweihir (88907) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @10:19PM (#43178897)

    Sure, they keep claiming an "offensive capability" in order to keep the funding flowing, but they can neither target well, nor can they ensure the target is actually vulnerable. What they probably can do is damage civilian infrastructure. That will not impress an attacker and the claim that they can use this to "defend" the US is pure BS. Information attacks done under time pressure are like germ warfare to take out a very specific target: You never know whether your target may turn out to be immune and you will do massive collateral damage. It is no accident it is banned and heavily frowned upon.

    The underlying problem is of course that those in power do not get it to any degree. They want an "offensive capability", so one is faked for them as huge cost. It may even have some use, but effective information attacks need a long, long time to be customized for the target and hence are not suitable for use in a war of any degree of dynamics.

  • by Stiletto (12066) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @10:25PM (#43178947)

    'This is an offensive team that the Defense Department would use to defend the nation if it were attacked in cyberspace.'

    So which one is it? Offensive or defensive? Why is it that Americans can't seem to distinguish between the two? Here's a country whose "defensive" military is used entirely to bring war to foreign soil. The "Department of Defense" has not defended actual U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.

    1. 1- Tell China [nytimes.com] that cyberattacks must stop: the enemy is named
    2. 2- Announce offensive force: the weapons are ready
    3. 3- Next step is: use weapons to attack enemy. Then enemy will fight back

    This looks ugly, but it seems the only possible scenario since defensive strategies are out of reach because of their cost (replace everything everywhere)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      1. 1- Tell China [nytimes.com] that cyberattacks must stop: the enemy is named
      2. 2- Announce offensive force: the weapons are ready
      3. 3- Next step is: use weapons to attack enemy. Then enemy will fight back

      This looks ugly, but it seems the only possible scenario since defensive strategies are out of reach because of their cost (replace everything everywhere)

      Funnily enough, China would say exactly the same thing.

  • by ubiquitin (28396) * on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:32AM (#43179687) Homepage Journal

    Anyone can be seriously "offensive" in this business. All it takes is $100 laptop and msf.

    Defense? That, my friends, is the multi-tens-of-billions industry we're in.

    Cyber Command? Show me your defensive game and stop wasting my tax money.

  • Once Genode [genode.org] is done enough, we can start building secure systems that don't have the systemic weakness that comes from a default permissive paradigm.

    Capability based security offers a way forward, up and out of this quagmire. We can just build systems that don't have holes, and eliminate cyber-war.

  • You want 'offensive' 'cyber' 'weapons'? Just fire missiles into the datacenter. *sigh*.

  • 1a. pulling the plug to their router
    1b. (And, because their traffic is interleaved) everybody's

    2a. taking out their satellite. Or because they don't have one,
    2b. taking out everybody's satellite

    3a. assembling a target-specific pathogen and insert it
    3b. spreads everywhere to everyone and creates chaos

    4a. Denial of service flood attack
    4b. Again, everybody's problem

    5a. Centcom infiltrate websites with sock puppet and troll
    5b. Oops, the Internet is already down, this should have been #1

    I know the military likes

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