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Ex-Marine Corps General James Cartwright  (Source:
James Cartwright, a recently retired four-star Marine Corps general, is urging the U.S. government to be more open about its use of offensive cyber weapons so that they may act as a deterrent

The string of cyber attacks that were launched against corporate and government entities this year has placed a spotlight on the need for strengthened cyber defense in the U.S., and an ex-U.S. general is pushing for openness on the topic of cyber weapons and when they will be used. 

James Cartwright, a recently retired four-star Marine Corps general who is now a fellow at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, is urging the U.S. government to be more open about its use of offensive cyber weapons so that they may act as a deterrent.

"We've got to step up the game; we've got to talk about our offensive capabilities and train to them; to make them credible so that people know there's a penalty to this," said Cartwright. "You can't have something that's a secret be a deterrent. Because if you don't know it's there, it doesn't scare you."

A recent report from the U.S. intelligence community pointing out that China and Russia are the most guilty users of cyber attacks in order to obtain U.S. technology and trade secrets. According to Cartwright, talking more frankly about offensive cyber weapons and explaining when they will be used will help ward off foreign cyber espionage.

"We've got to get that done, because otherwise everything is a free shot at us and there's no penalty for it," said Cartwright.

The U.S. government has been quiet about offensive cyber weapons. It fears that releasing too many details could make the U.S. vulnerable to those that could use the information to figure out how to beat it or defend themselves against it.

But more and more experts and government figures are calling for more openness in this realm of security. David Smith, former U.S. diplomat and current fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, noted that it's important to find a healthy balance between sharing information and keeping the specific details hushed.

"You deter by keeping a level of uncertainty," said Smith. "To craft a good deterrent posture, you sort of tell people the kinds of things you have, and roughly, what the response would be if the interest of the United States were threatened, basically, that nothing is off the table."

Cartwright's words echo those of ex-head of the National Security Agency and CIA and retired U.S. Air Force General Michael Hayden, who stated just last month that cyber security is a topic that is "horribly over-classified."

"This may come as a surprise, given my background at the NSA and CIA and so on, but I think that this information is horribly over-classified," said Hayden. "The roots of American cyber power are in the American intelligence community, and we frankly are quite accustomed to working in a world that's classified. I'm afraid that that culture has bled over into how we treat all cyber questions."

Source: Reuters

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No "Ex" Marines
By KakarotUSMC on 11/7/2011 2:12:08 PM , Rating: 5
Please do not refer to General Cartwright as an "Ex-Marine Corps General."

As our saying notes, "Once A Marine, Always A Marine."

Protocol would be to identify him as retired, such as, "General James Cartwright, USMC (Retired)."

Maybe your headline could read: "Retired Marine Corps General: We've Got to Step Up Our Cyber Security Game."

Thank you. Semper Fi.

RE: No "Ex" Marines
By gwem557 on 11/8/2011 9:15:26 PM , Rating: 2
You want respect for the military from Tiffany?

Good luck with that.

Good luck with that...
By quiksilvr on 11/7/2011 11:38:57 AM , Rating: 3
Most servers are still using vulnerable Server 2003. Many still don't even have Service Pack 2 on it and are therefore stuck using IE6 and IE7 for their browser needs (you can't run IE8 without Service Pack 2 on 2003. Oddly enough Firefox 7 runs fine on it).

Upgrading software and hardware on servers is a really messy situation. Hopefully Windows 8 (sans Metro UI) will help streamline things.

As said before...
By excrucio on 11/7/2011 12:23:45 PM , Rating: 2
Keep servers with secret information OFFLINE.
If it's secret it shouldn't be on the grid.

If it's sensitive information that must be shared, then there are other ways to share without letting the world know the computer even exists. It will slow things down, but it's much more secure.

We are getting our asses handed to the world with all these security intrusions.

Dr. Strangelove
By titanmiller on 11/7/2011 1:10:37 PM , Rating: 2
"You can't have something that's a secret be a deterrent. Because if you don't know it's there, it doesn't scare you."
-General James Cartwright

"The whole point of the doomsday machine is lost if you keep it a secret!" cries Dr. Strangelove. "Why didn't you tell the world?" After all, such a device works as a deterrent only if the enemy is aware of its existence. In the movie, the Soviet ambassador can only lamely respond, "It was to be announced at the party congress on Monday."
-Dr. Strangelove

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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