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Should our nation spend more money to safeguard us against nations like China that are reportedly grooming legions of military hackers and striking out at the U.S. and other nations? A new report argues the opposite, saying cyberdefense is confusing and should not be a spending priority. It advocates focusing existing resources on military networks.  (Source: Fox News)
A new study recommends a cautious approach when defending the nation against cyberterrorism

Be ready for both defense and offense.  Cover all routes of attack.  Practice careful surveillance.  All of these would seemingly be logical paradigms for our nation's cybersecurity efforts.  However, a new report takes a different bent and says that the nation shouldn't make cybersecurity its top priority and instead should focus on reallocating limited resources to defence of critical infrastructure.

The new report from the RAND Corporation says that electric power, telephone service, banking, and military command and control in the U.S. are all accessible and able to be attacked from the internet.  That makes them open to attack, according to the report.  RAND's press release describes, "Working against connected but weakly protected computer systems, hackers can steal information, make the systems malfunction by sending them false commands and corrupt the systems with bogus information."

Martin C. Libicki, the report's lead author and senior management scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization, adds, "Adversaries in future wars are likely to go after each other's information systems using computer hacking.  The lessons from traditional warfare cannot be adapted to apply to attacks on computer networks. Cyberspace must be addressed in its own terms."

The report says that estimates of current cyberwarfare damage to our nation aren't consistent and cite anything from several billion yearly to hundreds of billions.

According to the report, military networks should be top priority when it comes to defense, as attacks on military networks are potentially the most potent.  They describe a hypothetical scenario in which an enemy could silence missile defenses of a nation and then pound its critical targets with rockets.

The report says that offensive cyberwarfare is largely useless as it tends to bother, but not generally disarm adversaries.  Further, Libicki warns that cyberattacks are amorphous and determining the identity of attackers is largely guesswork.  Attempts at counterattacks are thus largely futile, according to the report.  States Libicki, "This is not an enterprise where means and ends can be calibrated to one another.  As a result, it is ill-suited for strategic warfare."

Rather than try to target nations or launch counterattacks, the study suggests a focus on diplomatic, economic and prosecutorial efforts against cyber attackers.  However, the report suggest that such efforts not be made a priority in the nation's spending.  Reads the release, "Libicki does not recommend the United States make strategic cyber warfare a priority investment."

Other recent reports have taken a different bent, advocating more funding.  They have argued that the U.S. is woefully unprepared for cyberattack.  They also point to nations like China that are grooming legions of computer-savvy troops to launch cyberstrikes.

The RAND study was federally financed, with the goal of offering independent policy alternatives for the U.S. Air Force.

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Report was printed in China
By honestIT on 10/9/2009 2:21:57 PM , Rating: 5
just FYI

By Alexstarfire on 10/9/2009 2:27:04 PM , Rating: 3
Lol, that makes it all the more hilarious. And I was just coming to say, yea, that sounds like a great idea. How much government and other important data just been let in the wild due to morons? Yea, we should really cut back on spending so that even more information gets loose.

RE: Report was printed in China
By JasonMick on 10/9/2009 2:27:56 PM , Rating: 4
I found it interesting that reading more of RAND's reports on cybersecurity/China, that RAND also suggested that the U.S. would lose a war against China centered around Taiwan.

Interesting stuff, I don't know if I agree with their conclusions, but it's a scary thought. Let's hope we never have to find out if they're right...

RE: Report was printed in China
By HrilL on 10/9/2009 2:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting story but some how I think this leaves out too much. it assumes that we stick with current tech while the Chinese progress with newer tech. By 2020 we'll have laser weapon systems. possibly even on satellites and on our air craft as well. In the last test Boeing completed they were able to take out many targets within seconds. We also have better missile defense and it is improving rapidly. We'd likely be able to take out their air bases in a short amount of time. Its great that they have hardened hangers but what good are those if you're runway isn't usable?

RAND's reports seem to give false hope to china. These reports seem like false intelligence so we are underestimated.

By StraightCashHomey on 10/10/2009 2:55:12 PM , Rating: 2
And what percentage of your post is speculation?

RE: Report was printed in China
By bangmal on 10/11/09, Rating: 0
By James Wood Carter on 10/9/2009 3:26:23 PM , Rating: 2
RAND has alot of these reports, they are all hypothetical. I think if there is any conflict over Taiwan it would be similar to the Russian-Georgian war. That is ... international commitee sit and watch and perhaps send carriers in the name of aid.
The issue over Taiwan is a battle of oppinions. China and others believes its an internal issue, while others say otherwise. To start a war over this is unnecessary and most definitly cause more problems than solutions.
BTW i think The RAND reports don't seem to explore the possibility of Russian involvemnt. I think Russia won't just sit and watch, it would probably take sides and make the most of it.

RE: Report was printed in China
By kattanna on 10/9/2009 3:42:06 PM , Rating: 2
interesting read. and initially, they could very well "win" the opening rounds if they launched a sneak attack on our bases and ships in the area. that attack would severely cripple us and allow them initial victories.

but then we wouldnt just sit back, it would result in a complete counter attack using all available resources and that would cripple the chinese.

while the chinese army is bigger in pure man power, it is poorly equipped, and most importantly, poorly trained.

RE: Report was printed in China
By StevoLincolnite on 10/9/2009 10:08:35 PM , Rating: 2
Either side would be severely crippled if it came to war, the "Allies" are not a push over, and I believe no one truly wins a war, as there is usually countless innocent deaths on both sides of the fence.

There would also be massive Financial fallout afterwards, which would cause significant harm to most Nations on the planet.

RE: Report was printed in China
By Reclaimer77 on 10/10/09, Rating: -1
RE: Report was printed in China
By Moishe on 10/12/2009 4:37:20 PM , Rating: 1
The "western" world could use some good loss and pain to remind us what freedom costs. Having too much money, peace, security lets the next generation grow in a vaccuum.

I don't harbor ill-will toward anyone, but the world is full of evil and it's inevitable, frankly.

RE: Report was printed in China
By bug77 on 10/9/2009 3:40:49 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously now, how do you think you can win against a 2 million, nuclear capable army? Just look at Germany vs Soviet Union.

RE: Report was printed in China
By TOAOCyrus on 10/9/2009 5:04:46 PM , Rating: 3
A large front ground war against china would be suicide but a defensive war where china has to make an amphibious attack greatly reduces their numerical advantage. To safely transport a large force would require complete air and sea dominance. Right now there is no way the Chinese could achieve this but according to this article they might by 2020.

RE: Report was printed in China
By TOAOCyrus on 10/9/2009 5:05:32 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Report was printed in China
By wetwareinterface on 10/9/2009 10:45:17 PM , Rating: 2
amphibious attack?
China has the worlds largest air force with the highest percentage of large planes in it. that translates to roughly half their military being able to parajump into Taiwan which is only 60 miles offshore. you assume the U.S. would be willing to defend Taiwan and further that we'd already have the military presence inside Taiwan to do so. it would literally take all of our combined service's available ground force potential to repel an attack on Taiwan and that's assuming they'd already be in Taiwan. the sad reality is that China would mobilize their military and invade Taiwan and we'd only be able to muster our ready response units in the same timeframe. the problem with this is 75% of our ready response units are already engaged in Iran and Afgansitan. so we'd be able to muster up and have on the way approximately 25,000 troops total in the timeframe China would have to muster and drop 500,000. they'd beat us to Taiwan due to proximity and ability to deploy paratroopers. launch the invasion first, worry about bullets at time of drop and send in beans and bandaids second to troop drop roughly 2 hours later. we couldn't even get there in 4 hours, by that time Taiwan is already Chineese.

RE: Report was printed in China
By MrPoletski on 10/11/2009 8:20:03 PM , Rating: 2
dont forget that the chinese military is not as old and out of date as a lot of poeple think:

Chinese submarine just pops up in the middle of a US carrier group on military exercises. That sub could have sunk the carrier easy and probably a number of its other ships with that level of suprise.

RE: Report was printed in China
By bpurkapi on 10/11/2009 10:27:41 AM , Rating: 3
We would most likely lose due to the fact that Taiwan is not worth starting a war over. We have made our defense of Taiwan so ambiguous that we obviously don't really care too much if China were to attack. In the days of containing communism Taiwan was a big deal, but today we are talking about an island of 23 million that is internationally isolated and in many people's opinions already part of China. This is all very sad, as I live in Taiwan at the moment and really enjoy the people and understand their plight(a long standing impasse due to the Chinese Civil War. The majority of Taiwanese see the nationalist KMT as mainlanders, and the source of the problem...). But to engage China in a war over Taiwan would be far too costly.

RE: Report was printed in China
By ajfink on 10/11/2009 11:08:03 AM , Rating: 2
If Taiwan had the will, they could make a Chinese invasion so bloody they probably wouldn't need our help beyond air support.

RE: Report was printed in China
By Moishe on 10/12/2009 12:22:45 PM , Rating: 1
If we had a spineless, weak-on-war administration we might lose that war. In a conflict with a powerful opponent, you have to have the balls to hit hard and fast. Pussyfooting around will really screw up the chances for a win.

For instance, we are pussyfooting around in Afghanistan right now. In addition, the world's strongest and most influential country (the U.S.) is essentially letting small, weak countries walk all over it (Iran). A big stick is all but useless in the hands of a weak man.

RE: Report was printed in China
By amanojaku on 10/9/2009 2:32:07 PM , Rating: 3
Then China can lead by example and take down the Great Firewall! There's no need to protect a bunch of WoW players. Oh, wait, it's not really supposed to protect anyone, is it?

RE: Report was printed in China
By TSS on 10/9/2009 5:56:00 PM , Rating: 3
It's supposed to protect the internet from those chinese. And it's not doing too bad a job.

In soviet China, connections block you.

RE: Report was printed in China
By MrPoletski on 10/12/2009 5:52:29 AM , Rating: 3
Think of all the poor gold farmers!

RE: Report was printed in China
By bigboxes on 10/9/2009 9:58:06 PM , Rating: 3
Ah, the "grab your ankles" defense strategy.

RE: Report was printed in China
By Moishe on 10/12/2009 4:23:36 PM , Rating: 2
It's popular :)

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