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Security The Military

Collateral Damage From Cyber Warfare? 134

theodp writes "If you're thinking about applying for that open US cyber warfare czar position, Robert X. Cringely points out that you will have to effectively function as a world cyber warfare czar, a fact that neither Republican nor Democratic Administrations have yet been willing to embrace, at least in public. The international nature of today's outsourced-and-offshored IT business has big implications for US security. Try to do a security audit of your company's technical resources in Argentina or Bangladesh, suggests Bob, and see what nightmare is unveiled. Toss some random Code Gods into the mix, says Cringely, and it's really too tough to predict who might win in a game of US vs. Albania."
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Collateral Damage From Cyber Warfare?

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  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Funny)

    by jo42 ( 227475 ) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @11:15AM (#28294261) Homepage

    Maybe it is time to end this man-made idiocy of nations and borders?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spun ( 1352 )

      But how will the rich hold on to their power and privilege if there is a real free market in labor, and workers can move wherever pays the most?

      • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mcgrew ( 92797 ) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @11:37AM (#28294617) Homepage Journal

        Having a real free world market is the rich's wet dream, and they've effectively accomplished it. You have H1-B visas so the rich can hire Indians, who don't have the high prices we do. They use Mexicans here illegally to do jobs that Americans would do if they were paid appropriately.

        How is a worker to "move where they pay the most" when he as no job? No job means no money for most people.

        In a world you describe it would be a lot easier for the rich to hold their power and privelege. Why do you think the rich lobby for things like NAFTA?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Don't you understand the one way nature of those regs? They don't want a free market at all. They want control, under the guise of "freedom". That "freedom" is for them only, and we get American Idol. You're not getting it. No borders means freedom for everybody to live where they please, not where the authorities grant you permission for somebody else's profit. Right now you are property of the state.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 )

            You know, if us suckers would stop governing our daily affairs with money, we wouldn't have the problem. Giving someone money is like handing them your voice in society. It's like a vote that you never get to take back even when you realize you've been conned. Which means conning suckers and using them harshly is the number one mechanism to achieve power. Is that what you want to support?

            The state isn't supposed to rule you. The state is all of you speaking together with one voice. Stop being cowards

          • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mcgrew ( 92797 ) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @01:32PM (#28296563) Homepage Journal

            I have 9,826,630 square km (3,794,066 sq mi) I can hypothetically live in. But I don't have the freedom to live anywhere in that three million square miles, as I can't live without money. I'm living in Springfield because that's where I found work 20 years ago when I'd been out of a job for a while; I'd rather be living in the St Louis area, where I grew up. Maybe I'll move back there when I retire in a few years, but then again it will depend on money, too. Will I be able to sell my house? Will I be able to afford to buy one there?

            Only independantly wealthy people have freedom to live where they want; the homeless do in theory, but in practice they don't have the money needed for travel.

            I'm not the property of the state, I'm the property of my employer. The state is also the property of my (and your) employer. The world is and has always been owned and ruled by the very rich.

            • but in practice they don't have the money needed for travel.

              If one has legs, one has the means to travel just about anywhere. I will grant you that, at least in the lower 48 states, it seems there are very few, if any, places where one can truly live off the land ala Lewis and Clark, so you'd still need money for food.

        • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @11:51AM (#28294851) Homepage Journal

          You have H1-B visas so the rich can hire Indians, who don't have the high prices we do.

          Actually, free trade means you can ship the work off to be done, so you don't even have to hire anyone, just contract.

          They use Mexicans here illegally to do jobs that Americans would do if they were paid appropriately.

          That's not really free trade either, it's slavery-plus. You underpay the workers, it's actually cheaper than housing them and trying to keep them healthy, and make a return on your investment. At the end of their period of employment you can just deport them and even skip a payment. You don't even have to whip anybody.

          In a world you describe it would be a lot easier for the rich to hold their power and privelege. Why do you think the rich lobby for things like NAFTA?

          NAFTA is not a free trade agreement, name to the contrary.

          The importance of NAFTA clauses that keep out foreign goods [] came to light as U.S. clothing manufacturers railed against the import of wool suits from our NAFTA partner Canada. The suits in question were made from third-country wool not covered by NAFTA rules of origin. Since Canadian tariffs on foreign wool were lower than U.S. tariffs (10 percent vs. 34 percent), Canadian suits sold for less and soon claimed a large share of the U.S. market. The fact that the entire discussion of this issue centered on closing this loophole in NAFTA rather than on lowering the injurious U.S. tariff on wool should prove how devoted NAFTA's supporters are to free trade.

          If you can come up with some actual examples of large-volume free trade in the USA, I'll be interested. I don't think you can.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            You don't even have to whip anybody.

            Kinda takes all the fun out of this slavery thing.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by spun ( 1352 )

          NAFTA let goods and money flow as if there were no borders, but not poor people. Mexicans with no money still somehow manage to get into the US, disproving your second point. H1-B visas are an example of unfair regulation of the labor market, not a free market.

          A real free market requires regulation in order to remain free, but the regulations need to favor the less powerful. Currently they do just the opposite.

        • by maxume ( 22995 )

          H-1Bs barely affect the economy. There are maybe 500,000 people working under an H-1B (that's making generous assumptions, 250,000 is probably more accurate), out of 140 million working Americans (there are another 15-20 million Americans who are unemployed but want a job).

          Now, those 500,000 H-1B workers are certainly competing with Americans for jobs, but they are not completely eroding the market they are competing in, a market which employs tens of millions of people.

          As far as Mexicans, they benefit you

          • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            they are not completely eroding the market they are competing in, a market which employs tens of millions of people.

            That argument would be a lot more convincing if 475k out of the 500k weren't in one industry, that the vast majority weren't controlled by a handful of companies, and if the "market" was really 10 million rather than the closer estimate of 4 million. 8-10% of the work force can seriously warp the playing field.

        • They use Mexicans here illegally to do jobs that Americans would do if they were paid appropriately.

          First, millions of Americans who, unlike you, have a bunch of neurons to rub together, take offense at an obvious nonsensical and ignorant remark: plent of Americans have been laid off (ever hear of Hormel) and had undocumented or illegal workers hired in their place (this also has occurred in dramatic proportions in the construction industry over the preceding 10 to 20 years). Also, many Americans work si

      • 1. nationalism a populist force. not an artificial force propped up by financial influence

        2. the rich are served by poorer workers in other countries. there is in fact a free market in labor, since there are rules on paper, but nothing really stops corporations from shopping for the locations of factories in the countries with the cheapest workers available

        3. if workers could move wherever they want, they would all move to the places with the highest salaries. this would dramatically increase the pool of wo

        • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @11:48AM (#28294793) Journal

          1.) Nationalism is an invention of the rich intended to make the poor support the interests of the rich. To the poor, one lord is much the same as the next, why should they care who rules them?

          2.) Ah, I see. Rules on paper make a free market. Rules that let the rich move their business wherever labor is cheapest, but does not let labor move where the pay is the best.

          3.) You've just described how the free market is supposed to work.

          • by MarkvW ( 1037596 )

            No, you silly fool. Nationalism is not an invention of the rich. Nationalism is an evolution from feudalism, which evolved from tribalism.

            As if human beings could actually invent and implement something as complex as nationalism. HAHA!

            • by spun ( 1352 )

              How did Nationalism evolve from feudalism? How did feudalism evolve from tribalism? Who's interest did both events serve? How is a sense of national identity complex?

              Your analysis is weak. HAHA!

              • The analysis is right on. And furthermore, tribalism evolved from the way animals mark their territory. It all followed a perfectly natural path. And it proves that animals and humans are the same thing. The interest is serves is that of domination. A very natural phenomenon, even with inanimate objects. Big stars swallow little stars that get too close. Everything "tries" to get as big as it can. It will accrue as much material as it can until it gets so big and gets hot and blows up.

                • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @01:29PM (#28296517) Journal

                  Cooperation is no less natural than domination. What's your point? Tribalism evolved from peeing on bushes?

                  There are two cultures in the world. The culture of feast and the culture of famine. You don't even know what the first one looks like, do you? Read 'The Continuum Concept' for a look at what non starvation oriented human societies look like. Look at the bonobo chimpanzees of South Africa for an animal example.

                  Everything does NOT try to get as big as it can. The universe is NOT total war of all against all, that is a culture of famine concept. And it is a self reinforcing, self fulfilling concept.

          • lol!

            nationalism is in fact a corrosive force in the world. i share your hatred of it. i share your hatred of the rich too. but at least i understand what nationalism is and what the rich aristocracy is a hell of a lot better than you do. the notion that it is invented by the rich is retarded

            nationalism is really just a form of tribalism, extended over a broader area because of commonalities of ethnic allegiance and shared language. it requires a modern media to drive it, and this explains why and how modern

            • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:39PM (#28295683) Journal

              Who benefits from nationalist sentiment in China and Russia? The rich. Oh, sure, not EVERY rich person, some get skewered by it, but it is still part of the owning class game, a manipulation of the populace, to get them to cheer on their own oppressors.

              "He may be a greedy, oppressive bastard, but he's OUR greedy, oppressive bastard!" is the sentiment that nationalism encourages. Really, it's a means of getting the oppressed to lay down their lives defending their oppressors from other oppressors.

              • study history

                nationalist uprisings throughout history are largely middle class in nature, and almost automatically are enemies of the contemporary aristocratic elite of the time

                here's an example:


                all original nationalistic movements HAD to make enemies of the rich of their time. the rich were entrenched in the political structures of the time, and therefore the rich were made rich by political arrangements that depended upon the

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by spun ( 1352 )

                  Funny how none of your examples ended up benefiting the poor, and simply ended up trading one set of oppressors for another. But that couldn't have been on purpose, nope.

                  • exactly (Score:2, Insightful)

                    and whatever you are fighting for would equally be eventually corrupted and serve only an entrenched aristocracy, and equally require revolution in order to right injustices. this is the inevitable cycle of history. every revolution is fought by the commoners in the name of righting injustice by the ruling class, and every revolution eventually decays into nothing more than a new ruling class. this observation applies equally to whatever the hell you think you are fighting for

                    that's why its called history,

                    • by spun ( 1352 )

                      Tell me, what victories over oppression have you achieved? Your attitude tells me that, if you were to achieve any, YOU would be more than happy to be the next oppressor. YOU know better than anyone else, YOU have the True Knowledge and everyone who disagrees with you is an idiot.

                      I've actually done concrete things to make the world a better place working as an organizer for Food not Bombs, Homes not Jails, and the IWW. What have you done, besides being an insufferable, self aggrandizing jackass?

                    • you assume my motivation is actually to help him

                      and so you should study a little psychology yourself: that the motivations of everyone on the intarwebs, nevermind civil society, would be the same facile and ridiculous goody two shoes "to serve and to help" is a whopping fallacy of an assumption on your part

                      mostly i'm just being self-serving: picking on an idiot for fun

                      which in a way, makes me an idiot myself

                      so see? i do know something of pscyhology: i'm the self-aware smug asshole ;-)


                    • of ideology, of faithful believers, villains of hate, and cynics who choose not to engage in the retarded battle, seeing it all as pointless (me)

                      certainly, the naive fool is an eternal force in world history. there is nothing new in you under the sun, and someone like you will always be around. the cynical corrupt asshole is another one, which you peg me as. but i personally consider myself more like the goat in animal farm, muriel:


                      Muriel, although not one of t

                    • You know, when you don't do any quoting, and the comments you're replying to are dropping off the radar, the effect of seeing the cascade of your comments with nothing in between is much like listening to a schizophrenic have a conversation with himself.

                      Quoting: It's not just so you know what you're replying to.

                    • by spun ( 1352 )

                      Shut up, voice in my head! Oh yeah, you shut up!

                    • My Good Citizen, spun, you indeed have my deep and abiding respect as those are truly righteous outfits you cited. Unfortunately, far too many "rights" organizations today are simply time-wasters (and by design, of course) and add to dissipating the donations of the concerned citizenry. There is, as you probably are aware, only one existing party today in the USA - the Davos Party. The American equation of 50,000 foundations + 35,000 lobbyists + 5 media-controlled corporations = our coporate fascist stat
                    • by spun ( 1352 )

                      Eh, it's like the story about the Very Low Tide. A man was walking along the beach during a very low tide, where thousands upon thousands of star fish were exposed and lay dying in the sun. He came upon a boy throwing the starfish back into the ocean. "Silly boy," he said, "You'll never save all the starfish!"

                      "Yeah," replied the boy picking up a starfish and tossing it back, "but I saved that one."

                    • you are 100% correct

                      i am merely flattering myself, thinking i could convince a random soul that the world is more complicated than they think it is

                      please, go back to your simple beliefs about nationalism and the aristocracy, forget little old me attempting to suggest it is more complicated than you think

                      simple minds need simple ideas to motivate their passions, and to suggest that it would kill your passions to suppose things are more complicated, is of course tomfoolery on my part, not yours. that a deeper

                    • but it often is

                      i reacted to your mischaracterization of the rich being the source of nationalism, since that idea is so completely out of whack with historical fact

                      if anyone needs to examine their reasons for thinking something, it is you

                      but of course, you take my attacks on your statements as attacks on your core beliefs and your ability to be passionate about them

                      you can still believe as you do, you can still be passionate about your beliefs. but you need to STRENGTHEN your passions and your beliefs by co

                    • by spun ( 1352 )

                      I worked with Food not Bombs in San Francisco during its heyday in the early nineties. We served seven meals a week, feeding one to two hundred homeless and hungry people, even when the cops were cracking down hard on us. Everyone involved was sober, we had to be to avoid the cops!

                      We fed people in the UN plaza, and in front of city hall. We would plan diversionary servings to draw the cops away, then quietly serve people where they weren't looking. Sometimes, we would wade into the reflecting pool and serve

                    • by spun ( 1352 )

                      I don't have core beliefs. I'm a cynic, but not in the modern sense. I don't know anything, but I suppose a lot. I hold beliefs in accordance to the weight of evidence supporting them, and change my beliefs as new evidence dictates.

                      Perhaps I was unclear in my characterization of nationalism. It wasn't the then-current crop of ruling class assholes who invented it, it was the bourgeoisie who wanted to replace the ruling class. The rise of the merchant class created nationalism. Perhaps it is wrong of me to c

                    • the most nationalistic amongst any population are the poor. in any time period. in any culture

                      if you won't go for educational wikipedia links, then please just travel more. do you even get out of the suburbs? what "poor" are serving as your baseline? western white urban 20 something hipsters? pffffffft!

                      again, like i said, you can believe whatever the hell you want to, but when you make statements that directly contradict well-established fact, i feel compelled to reply to you. that's my weakness i guess. i

                    • by spun ( 1352 )

                      I've lived in Europe and all over the US. I lived in Chania, Greece for a year. Crete isn't exactly rich. And I read those wiki articles you linked to years ago. You haven't told me anything new, original, or insightful, sorry to burst your bubble.

                      Please explain how the poor in 'any time period' were nationalistic before the rise of nationalism? Got any citations for that? Before the 19th century, people did not think of themselves as 'English' or 'French.' They were Londoners, or Parisians.

                      Who was shouting

                    • i'll call you a moron

                      is that a personality failure on my part? ok, but i don't know how else to react to stupidity than call it stupid. and you're stupid

                      like this:

                      "Before the 19th century, people did not think of themselves as 'English' or 'French."

                      i mean how do i respond to this? i mean, the statement is obviously fucking retarded. but i can't say that? i have to be nice and put on a plastic smile and supportively hold your ignorant hand and calmly explain to you the fucking obvious?

                      i'm sorry, i don't know

                    • how the rationalization process works, to shore up the blind spots, and maintain the beliefs in spite of reality

                      that's about all i got out of this thread

                      "Before the 19th century, people did not think of themselves as 'English' or 'French."


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kell Bengal ( 711123 )
      We must certainly dispense with this notion that US interests somehow trump the rest of the world's nations' sovereignty. They have no more right to be world internet czars than they do to be world police. For what its worth, our national borders protect us from becoming them and that's something I, and other nationalists, appreciate.
      • Your comment is very confusing. What country do you live in? It's clearly not the USA, because our national borders certainly haven't prevented us from becoming the world police, a job to which we are highly unsuited.

        • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:59PM (#28296025) Journal

          Are you sure that we aren't suited to being the world police? Our police state techniques are pretty damn good. We have a higher percentage of our population incarcerated or otherwise caught up in the penal system (parole and probation) than any other developed country. I'd say that when it comes to disenfranchising huge portions of the population, we're doing pretty darn well.

          How do you prevent change in a political system? Strip the rights of everyone who runs afoul of it and might be inclined to change it.

          • We're well-suited to be the next world conquerors, but that's not who I want to be the world police. I want the police to help keep the peace, not to go to war on freedom.

            • by dave562 ( 969951 )

              Nah, we can't even conquer Iraq properly, much less the world. At best we can hope to be the world destabilizers. Our appetite for drugs and power has already given us a huge infrastructure to utilize for those purposes. Look at what a great job we've done in Central and South America. Hell, we had a direct hand in building the biggest "terrorist" menance to date, al Qaeda. The CIA and their friends at DIA, DEA and all the other ??A's seem to be damn good a destabilizing things.

              If anyone should be the

              • Policing takes a certain herd mentality, an "us against them" mindset that is the antithesis of a well rounded educational process.

                I would argue that a well-rounded educational process would accommodate those people who are always going to be part of the herd by giving them enough education to chew their cud, and thus be able to spend more effort on the other students.

                It is a terrible tragedy that "special needs" students, some of whom can simply never achieve scholastically what other students are capable of, cost us orders of magnitude more per head than whiz kids who, with a little more encouragement, could do great things instead o

                • by dave562 ( 969951 )

                  I often read similar statements about how (paraphrasing here), the "dumb kids hold back the smart kids". Here in California, they have the GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) program. All of the high functioning kids got involved in GATE, and all of them had to be tested to get in (IQ tests and the like). Aren't there similar programs in other states? For elementry school, I was bused to a magnent school where the district gathered all of the bright kids together. For middle and high school, I was in

                  • I often read similar statements about how (paraphrasing here), the "dumb kids hold back the smart kids". Here in California, they have the GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) program. All of the high functioning kids got involved in GATE, and all of them had to be tested to get in (IQ tests and the like). Aren't there similar programs in other states?

                    I was in GATE in an elementary school in a rich white neighborhood (I was literally the most ethnic meaning brown kid in my school until about fifth or sixth grade and you really can 't tell) so I know that it is both a total joke, and the recipient of a tiny smidgen of funding compared to "special needs" classes.

                    I don't feel bad for the bright kids because they can succeed despite the odds.

                    It's not so much about feeling bad for the bright kids, as feeling bad for all of us, because we would all be better off if they had been allowed to rise to their full potential.

                    The average kids who could understand most of the same concepts and materials that the bright kids do, if only they had more time with it.

                    Yes, and the retard

                    • by dave562 ( 969951 )

                      Are you talking about kids who are disruptive in the class room, or are you talking about full on, dual diagnosed, developmentally disabled kids? My girlfriend's brother is the latter, and he lives in a state facility and you're right, he won't ever be very economically productive (he works at the Salvation Army) and happiness with his situation given the shitty hand that God dealt him is pretty much the best that he can hope for. To fault the educational system for having to devote resources to the poor

      • It's not that we trump your sovereignty, it's the fact that you wanted a piece of the pie that we created (and controlled) in the first place.

        Back then, it was simply a business matter. These days, it shouldn't be treated as such.

        It needs to be treated like a political matter. You have your territory, and we have ours, just as you have your infrastructure in your country, and we have ours.

        By the way, we aren't the world police if we haven't been acting as such. 3 generations ago, perhaps we did, but our

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Maybe it is time to end this man-made idiocy of nations and borders?

      That's a great idea, let's make the UN a real world government with the authority and ability to enforce laws. And to make sure the laws are reasonably and fairly enforced, we'll get the Human Rights Council to oversee that (you know the one that has China and Cuba on it--such fine upstanding respecters of human rights).

      • Maybe you don't get it. Without borders how can China and Cuba exist as anything separate from the rest of the world? You think the bums that run those places now would still have any power over anybody else?

        • Without borders how can China and Cuba exist as anything separate from the rest of the world?

          I always thought it might have something to do with having lots of tanks, bullets, and the ability to employ or force people to use them. You can declare borders illegal tomorrow but that won't stop groups from reimposing them. And in the absence of nations, who is going to stop them?

          • Guess you gotta pay the tank drivers to point their guns the other way. Look, this isn't going to happen by decree of some dictator any more than anti bias laws can do away with hate. But we have to recognize that the concept of borders is nothing more than animal territorialism. Then maybe the fences will fall by themselves. They are inhuman and inhumane. And considering that we are supposed to know better, it makes us actually worse than animals.

            • You have far more faith in humanity than I do. I suspect most people understand animal territorialism but they either agree with it or just don't care. If there is a finite resource, X percent will want to control it. Another X percent will go along because they benefit. And X percent of economists will write books justifying it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Narpak ( 961733 )

        And to make sure the laws are reasonably and fairly enforced, we'll get the Human Rights Council to oversee that (you know the one that has China and Cuba on it--such fine upstanding respecters of human rights).

        And USA and Britain for that matter; another two Nations with a far from flawless Human Rights record. Though if we really wanted point out the irony of the Human Rights Council not only are China, Cuba, USA and the UK on it but it also include; Saudi Arabia, Russian Federation, Egypt and Pakistan (and others who I don't really know anything about but I am sure have their share of closeted skeletons).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BigBlueOx ( 1201587 )
      Maybe it is time to end this man-made idiocy of nations and borders?

      I called Princess Peach, My Little Pony and The Care Bears and they're on it.

      Consider it done.
      • I think Princess Peach might have a conflict of interest, you know being the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom and all....
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by iamhigh ( 1252742 )
          Actually if you are in power of a small kingdom, what better way to expand your power than spearheading a campaign to eliminate all other small power and rule as the supreme overlord.

          I for one welcome our pink, floating overlord.
    • Say it brother! Say it loud! I've been getting nowhere with the idea for many years. I wish you better luck than I have. But the mafia will chase you to the ends of the earth to squash it if it looks like it has the remotest chance of taking hold. To me it would a great step towards acting like truly sentient beings, as opposed to the animals we act like now, pissing on trees to mark our territory.

  • You might as well say that if China appointed a cyber security "czar" that person should / would be the WORLD czar, too.

    They could probably make a better claim to the WORLD position (after all, it's not like the WORLD series - where only americans take part), having as they do, the great population size and a lot more cyber security already in place.

    But then again, I suppose Cringely is pandering to an audience, who just want to be told that they're (still) king of the world - no matter what the reality

  • It is really simple, no one country owns the internet and therefore no one country can stand alone in cyber warfare. I do think that it will take a long time to get past the politics around it being related to any government.
  • None of the widely used operating systems out there is secure. Until we embrace microkernels which have been proven to be secure, along with default usage of the object capability model, we'll never be safe.

    It's possible to secure a computer to withstand the full force of the internet, even with normal users... but not with the code we have now.

    Tannenbaum is right about microkernels... and Linus has reached the wrong conclusion.

    • So? You and Cringely are still thinking in brick and morter terms. If you bomb a factory, it takes a while to rebuild. With a warm standby, you can rebuild a server in minutes. Easier to take down, yes, but also easier to put back up somewhere else. (If you plan ahead)
      • by ka9dgx ( 72702 )
        If you have an OS which is secure... you only need one... and it just keeps working.
        • Let me know when they make one. And connect it to a perfect and secure network, on perfect and secure fiber. In a city with no natural disasters, too... And I want a pony.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ViennaSt ( 1138481 )

      "The internet is a bunch of insecure nodes"

      No no no. It's a series of tubes, powered by hampsters running in rotating wheels. You're right about these microkernels you speak of--we must "embrace" them, for they are the food that power the hampsters. With the power of the microkernals, these super hampsters can then secure the internets from "enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material," and soon the internet will become a big truck that you can dump anything on.

  • There are a few ways any country can "win" in a cyber-war. For one the wires can be cut, I remember a year or two ago a lot of undersea cables were cut by anchors leaving people with no internet. If you really want to get a country off of the internet, theres a lot more ways of doing it than with DoS attacks. What we really need is a totally global net. One where you can't tell which country the IP is from, one without government control. Its too hard to do this with the current net, but a second internet c
    • Of course it is being built in the opposite direction with identity management and tracking built into the core. It is almost as if the designers want to eliminate anonymity... That, and if no one knows where it is, how do you get there? Ohh... points here now? Take it down. Massive, geographic, and resilient redundancy, on the other hand, fixes a lot of problems.
  • ... is there really a cyber WAR going on? Are people dying? No? Then I don't want to hear about it.
    • Considering how much we depend on computers these days for increasingly vital stuff (read: power, water, hospital/medical records, etc...), people could very well die in a cyber war from the collateral damage if nothing else.

    • Having lived in Houston, post Ike, and seeing first had what a few days with no power in a large city can do... You might want to hear about it. And generators work very well when the gas station has no power to refill it.
  • Internet isnt about geographical borders, and treating it like it is definately will cause collateral damage. So far most of internet based attacks were done by individuals or groups of individuals not related with government (at least, not directly). Even If we put a complex (?) criminal organization instead of a single person behind the biggest botnets, we would not be speaking about countries. And even if countries try to get a cyberarmy, probably the biggest talents (and so threats) will want to be out
    • (hint, most of the spam is still generated in US).

      Signal to noise... Most of the traffic is from the US as well. (At least on my servers here in the US. However, we get damn little valid traffic from China and the Ukraine. Not fair, but I can go home before midnight.

  • As disturbing as it is to me, that is the way things seem to be going. "World" or "International" is a word being thrown around at the government level for a long time now. Especially since countries are slowly becoming more and more combined in terms of borders (look at the European Union, and the proposed North American Union and Asian Union). While I don't agree or think these "unions" are great ideas, having the position of the cyber security "czar" be a kind of international position would sorta make s

    • It's just going to outline the way things are slowly proceeding:

      ideas that are cultural are being blended. USA was the melting pot, the world is becoming the melting pot. What this means is that things such a religions, values that are specific to a culture, are all going to have to be thrown out. Giant culture shock, but that is the way that it goes.

    • Proposed by who? It isn't something I have seen getting any serious political attention, so talking about it as if it is a serious possibility is on the level with talking about the proposed Interplanetary Union.

  • As virtual as the Intertubez are, there still IS a physical layer. You could have the L33t-est of hackers in Albania, but that's not going to mean a damned thing when a Super Power decides to start surgical strikes on your infrastructure.
  • by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @11:46AM (#28294769)

    I'm tired of the resources of my nation being used to protect the world. I would really rather see our Cyber Czar take the opposite approach:

    Secure our stuff, and let the rest of the world deal with their own problems in the way they best see fit.

    This would require a moderate paradigm shift, to be sure, for example:

    1) US-based corps that choose to outsource will need to factor this into their costs. Perhaps a US-based callcenter, backed by our security efforts, would be a better investment.

    2) The original concept of the 'net would need to be reinstated - where if one or many nodes go down, the bulk of it remains functional.

    3) Vendors inside the US would need to be encouraged to step it up and provide equivalent IT products to those available overseas. ...and so on, and so on...

    I propose we look at the US in much the way any Security Pro looks at his sponsoring company. I can't be concerned with securing everyone on my same internet subnet. That's their deal. I wouldn't propose to use services and resources on those (presumably unsecured) nodes. Only my own IP's are my concern. The opposite is insanity, and is simply not in the best interests of those paying my paycheck. Same for our government, IMHO.

    Likewise, where exactly in the Constitution is 'policing Pakistan's internet' supported? Are we still talking about the Commerce Clause? Because at some point it is going to logically fail. You can't just keep expanding power without putting paper behind it, unless we're ready to scrap the whole notion of a common set of national guidelines for what our government should and should not be.

    • 'I'm tired of the resources of my nation being used to protect the world.'

      Don't worry, they're not being so used.

    • Any international policing should, by default, be relegated to the world of international politics, which is a very heterogeneous group.

      Any internal policing could, even if we don't want it, be relegated to the dept of Homeland Security (which is oh so wonderful).

      Either way, approaching it by appointing a cyberwarfare czar is the wrong way to go; you're just asking for backlash. I would support a cyber-political appointment though, because it stresses the idea of peace before war.

    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      Consequence: in the "good times" when there isn't a bad security situation, then the US-based corporations wind up with costs that are a little higher than their competitors.

      Therefore the competitors win and the US-based corporations go bust.

      When the "bad times" come and there are severe network security problems, well, it's too late by then.

      Will the market be willing to spend a little extra money to buy from a company that has spent more on security which will possibly be worth it in ten to fifteen years?

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @11:55AM (#28294915) Homepage Journal

    If you haven't seen Die Hard IV: Revenge of the Nerds [], you should. It's a great nerd movie (at least, the unrated version is, the theatrical release was more like a censored for TV version).

    Almost all the characters except John McClain are nerds. "Freddy", AKA "W4rlock", is the stereotypical uber-nerd, living in his mom's basement. In the movie, America's infrastructure is attacked programatticaly. As McClain and Farrell (a former black hat who has turned white hat) are flying the helicoppter over the darkened city (the bad guys have killed all the electricity) trying to find w4rlock, McClain asks him how they're going to find his house. "Easy, it'll be the one with the lights on".

    The premise of the movie is a "fire sale" - everything must go. The bad guys turn all the traffic lights green, causing massive traffic accidents, then have the stock market boards show losses in all stocks, causing wall street panic, kill the electricity, etc.

    It's great mindless fun about cyber-warfare. From the wikipedia article about the film []

    The film's plot is based on an earlier script entitled by David Marconi, screenwriter of Enemy of the State.[9] Using a Wired article entitled "A Farewell to Arms"[2] by John Carlin, Marconi crafted a screenplay about a cyber-terrorist attack on the U.S.[10] The attack procedure is known as a "fire sale," depicting a three-stage coordinated attack on a country's transportation, telecommunications, financial, and utilities infrastructure systems. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the project was stalled, only to be resurrected several years later and rewritten into Live Free or Die Hard by Doug Richardson and eventually by Mark Bomback.[11]

    Willis said in 2005 that the film would be called Die Hard 4.0, as it revolves around computers and cyber-terrorism. IGN later reported the film was to be called Die Hard: Reset instead.[12] 20th Century Fox later announced the title as Live Free or Die Hard and set a release date of June 29, 2007 with filming to begin in September 2006.[13][14] The title is based on the state motto of New Hampshire, "Live Free or Die", which is attributed to a quote from General John Stark. International trailers use the Die Hard 4.0 title,[15] as the film was released outside North America with that title. Early into the DVD commentary for the film, both Wiseman and Willis note a preference for Die Hard 4.0, and subtly mock the Live Free or Die Hard title.[16]

  • will long for bullets, bombs, and nukes.

    It will be nasty beyond measure. Worse than anything save nukes.

    We need to accept this, and prepare for the inevitable.

  • Who would win in any given matchup are underground groups. not any countries. no resources a formal government is able to muster can top the able hackers of underground scenes. this has been the case all along. us, china, russia, any of them has been hacked by these people wantonly, at will. neither this will change with applicatio of a 'cybersecurity tzar' or any such absurd official, or mustering of millions of $ and hundreds of men in any country's 'cyberwarfare unit'.

    hacking, cracking, infiltration, sec

    • Those underground groups are still subject to their nation's laws.

      Accountability is there, as well as responsibility.

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Who would win in any given matchup are lowly microbes and viruses (the kind that attack people). Not any countries. no resources a formal government is able to muster can top the able microbes. This has been the case all along. US, China, Russia, any of them has been attacked by these germs wantonly, at will. Neither this will change with application of a 'center for disease prevention' or any such absurd officialdom, or mustering of millions of $ and hundreds of scientists in any country's 'doctor unit'.


  • why the HELL are countries connecting their sensitive networks and data to internet ANYWAY ? it doesnt take millions of bucks and hundreds of it people and a 'cybersecurity tzar' to realize that ANYthing sensitive that is connected to internet is hackable, REGARDLESS of you outsource, offshore, implement hard, tight, restrictive internet controls and protocols, or track every move of every goddamn person on the internet or not.


  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @12:15PM (#28295283)

    The man is a tremendous douche who always writes ridiculous articles so that people get their dander up and drive traffic. He's nothing more than a journo-troll.

    And this whole cyber-crap thing misses the mark. First off, nix the cyber. Nothing makes you sound less knowledgeable than using cyber when talking about computers. Second off, computer warfare is just another way of fucking with the enemy's infrastructure. If anything, you could classify it a subset of cold warfare. That's anything that's indirect, doesn't involve the acting killing of others, but is a true struggle between nations. Economic warfare is the usual manifestation with trade wars, resource wars, and political maneuvering. It's not some crazy new thing that's all black leather and sexy computer chicks.

    Did you steal info from a poorly-secured computer system? Great, that's just digital espionage. You could have sent a guy in with a camera to photograph stuff 30 years ago but you did it with a computer now. Same idea, different tools. Did you crash his telcom system? Great. Could have been done with a saboteur 30 years ago (generally poor luck with that sort of thing) but you managed it from your desk. Excellent.

    While there will always be security holes in software, most of this exposure can be mitigated against with simple, sensible procedures. The thing we tend to forget is real life ain't like Hollywood. It may be cool in Chuck to think that a guy with a supercomputer armband can hijack a Predator whenever he feels like it but that's not reality. It may be cool to think that a hacker could pick any target he wants and break in but it's usually more a matter of running scripts and finding holes where you can get them, very luck of the draw.

    When it comes to infrastructure attacks, I'm far less concerned with computer attacks. Throughout this country, we have a number of single points of failure that would be difficult to replace. Any civil engineer could draw up a hitlist in five minutes far more knowledgeable than I'm going to suggest here.

    1. Long-haul transmission lines. It wouldn't take that much explosive to bring a tower down and they're often running through isolated areas. Knock a few towers down, then we're stuck spending billions to guard the rest.

    2. While everyone is preoccupied with towers, hit the ...crap, I'm forgetting the name. My memory is wonky here but there's some expensive stuff used in electrical distribution that has very long lead times for ordering replacements. Blow up one of these, it could be a year before the new one arrives.

    3. While everyone is preoccupied with that, send a few Lee Malvo teams to randomly snipe people around the country. Doesn't matter that the average commuter is ten times more likely to die in a crash that day than get sniped, everyone will panic.

    4. While everyone is preoccupied with snipers, one of the other soft targets can be hit. Seriously, one electrical line failing took out New York. Making that happen again would have to be easier than plots like blowing up tanker trucks in the tunnels.

    By all means, let's protect the computers but it's attacks like I've outlined above that I think would prove far more deadly. Of course, if I were the terrorist, I'd rather fart around with computer attacks from the safety of my cave than risk entering the target country but that's just me. I think people should be ridiculed for their political views, not killed. I'd make a lousy terrorist.

    • One of the advantages of cyberwar is the ease of scale. While sending a few dozen spooks in to photo documents was a major undertaking in the 60s-70s, today you can mount a massive assault on data networks with very little in the way of hard resources. And one clever guy can do it all. Botnets give you millions of spooks.

      And data is a real thing, to be dealt with. Just as a sniper would seed fear and chaos, so also either downing major banking sites or even threatening to hijack nees/finance/government

    • There are very many easy-to-destroy terrorist targets all over the USA which would kill many people or cripple infrastructure for long periods of time. The fact that this doesn't happen continually is a testament to just how few real terrorists there are out there.

  • What we've already observed is the fact that cyber-warfare is a very real reality. Sure, it hasn't become a problem for the lowest common denominator, but there is no un-crossing that line, and no amount of pretending can make that potential threat go away. We can prevent cyber-warfare, or we can promote it.

    One of the simplest ways to promote it is to treat it like "anything goes". Rules (including social rules!) have to apply; and politics has shown us a way. Treaties, alliances, and all that good stuf

  • Wall Street downtime (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @01:32PM (#28296577) Homepage

    What worries me is an attack that takes Wall Street down for three weeks. When it comes back up, the US will no longer be the financial center of the world. Singapore, Beijing, and Dubai will have taken up the load.

    That wasn't possible in 2001, by the way; the other trading centers didn't have the capacity or the capital backing. Now they do.

    Then again, Beijing is going to displace New York within a decade anyway. The US is now a debtor nation, and trading moves away from debtor nations.

    • What worries me is an attack that takes Wall Street down for three weeks. When it comes back up, the US will no longer be the financial center of the world. Singapore, Beijing, and Dubai will have taken up the load.

      Hopefully, they will have built some redundancy by now. In the UK, they've had this kind of redundancy for their financial exchange for a while now, since the IRA taught them that lesson in their attacks of 1992. For most investment banks in London, one day a week, 10% of their London staff wor

  • This is the logical outcome of outsourcing technology. In the USA, we have given our expertise away. After energy shortages, I would have to assess this as THE security risk for us. We won the first Iraq war on our technology. We will lose the next one on our technology, wielded by others. And of course it was all done to make profits look good for the next quarter so some managerial technopeasant could get their bonus. Indirectly, we were sold out by Wall Street MBAs and a business culture that thinks mon
  • Of course the first time someone challenges one of these so called "czars" in court about having no oversight from the Legislative or Judicial branches they will all be ruled Unconstitutional. Which is the correct ruling.

panic: kernel trap (ignored)