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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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Meaningless report
By HrilL on 10/9/2009 2:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
This report was a waste of money that could have been spent on defending our networks and getting our own division for cyber attacking. We attached Iraq at the start of our war with them. If there ever is a full scale war again the key to winning will be to take out the other countries communication networks. No communication leads to chaos. Jamming wireless signals taking out satellites will be the first steps in any major fight now days.

RE: Meaningless report
By werfu on 10/9/2009 2:52:50 PM , Rating: 2
If ever an all out war against China happens, you won't care about Internet because if you're still alive, your computer surely won't (say hi to EMPs!)

RE: Meaningless report
By 91TTZ on 10/9/2009 3:16:59 PM , Rating: 1
EMPs have a very short range and won't affect the vast majority of people.

RE: Meaningless report
By dj LiTh on 10/9/2009 3:58:15 PM , Rating: 4
Your wrong. A very small nuclear blast in space (near the planet) or the upper atmosphere of the planet can effectively knock out entire continents with an EMP. Its pretty much why dont test nukes in the upper atmosphere/space (near the planet) anymore.

RE: Meaningless report
By MrPoletski on 10/12/2009 5:43:59 AM , Rating: 2
while you are correct, the chinese would have to get that weapon over the USA if they want to do that. This is impossible without it being noticed.

doing such a thing is likely to get them nuked back.

RE: Meaningless report
By rippleyaliens on 10/9/2009 3:17:24 PM , Rating: 3
Very Meaningless.. Yes the Chinese with subs,missiles, etc.. People always forget that it is not like the USA has the same thing. Worse fact, is Planes/subs/torpedos etc.. Do not win wars.. Tactics, planning, logistics, and more importantly than all of that, is that man on the ground. China has this , that, and whatever.. YET they have -0- means to 1. Move /Deploy that stuff. 2. A 10million man army, yet Only support aircraft to get them there. (that is a big nono). 3. -0- Navy..

The US with all its bumbling, and fumbling.. Has an Elite Air force.. an ELITE naval Air Force, but a very serious Transport and Logistics element, that is just devastating.
That is something no other country on the planet has. Yes even china can get another country, but how long will it take to get someone on the ground and HOLD said country.

Also, something to consider.. IF china attacked Taiwan, Do you just think the rest of the world will just stand by, and bow down??? China unfortunately cannot protect THEIR assets around the globe. First rule 1. BOOM, disrupt their support. Beans, Bullets, Billets. = Their food, their FUEL, and the Means to transport those items. They have 1bill plus people, disruption of that, is soooooo easy to do. So Remember WAR is not just 1:1 fight, but it is Fight Hold, and FEED YOUR TROOPS for extended periods of time, AND DEFEND those capabilities..

RE: Meaningless report
By crystal clear on 10/9/2009 4:42:01 PM , Rating: 1
IF china attacked Taiwan, Do you just think the rest of the world will just stand by, and bow down???

YES they will stand by & bow down !

Anybody succeeded in stopping N.Korea developing/testing its nuclear & missile programmes.

The same applies to Iran.

Russia invades Georgia ?

China still occupies Tibet ?

The list is endless.....fact remains we & the world have outsourced just everything to China.

Just as our economies are dependent on OIL, so are we on China for manufacturing.

Its "made in China" rather than "made in the USA" & we are to be blamed for that.

RE: Meaningless report
By TOAOCyrus on 10/9/2009 5:09:03 PM , Rating: 3
It works both ways dude. The consumer is hurt far less by a boycott then the manufacturer. China's economy is more dependent on us then we are on them.

RE: Meaningless report
By crystal clear on 10/9/09, Rating: 0
RE: Meaningless report
By ClownPuncher on 10/9/2009 7:52:43 PM , Rating: 3
Besides the mass graves full of people who starved to death while their insane leader is sipping cognac? Yea North Korea seems to be doing great. The actually have recipes for root bark soup because there isn't even enough rice.

RE: Meaningless report
By Chocobollz on 10/11/2009 7:23:26 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah but which one do you think is better, a nation with a lot of starving peoples but will go all out in a war or a nation who have a bunch of smart peoples and a lot of technologies but are a bunch of fat asses who only cares about eating their hotdogs? :p

RE: Meaningless report
By Scrogneugneu on 10/11/2009 12:43:18 AM , Rating: 2
China's economy is more dependent on us then we are on them.

Of course.

Remind me what is expected to be the biggest market in the world for the coming decades?

RE: Meaningless report
By AnnihilatorX on 10/9/2009 5:59:17 PM , Rating: 1
IF china attacked Taiwan, Do you just think the rest of the world will just stand by, and bow down???

Yes, certainly. Most world countries do not recognize Taiwan as a free nation and recognise Chinese sovereignty on the region. If China somehow has to 'invade' Taiwan to quench say an uprising, no country except maybe US would even dare to interfere (apart from humanitarian aid), as that would be trespassing internal affairs and a declaration of War.

On top of that, a war with China is too damaging to the US economy. China owns 24% of U.S. treasury securities.

RE: Meaningless report
By Spuke on 10/9/2009 6:59:03 PM , Rating: 2
On top of that, a war with China is too damaging to the US economy. China owns 24% of U.S. treasury securities.
No they do not. They own 24% of the FOREIGN owned treasuries.

RE: Meaningless report
By Kurz on 10/10/2009 7:21:32 PM , Rating: 2
Umm Google that before you say that.

RE: Meaningless report
By Kurz on 10/10/2009 7:23:29 PM , Rating: 2
Umm Google that before you say that.

NM i understand what you are getting at.

RE: Meaningless report
By MrPoletski on 10/12/2009 5:46:31 AM , Rating: 2
not a waste of money, because you know what politicians are like. They'll take this cyber security fear idea and use it to pass a load of spending bills (with their own little earmarks, unrelated policy points and such).

Spending loads of money on cyber defence would be a waste of money, because by the time it has been bought, set up and installed it will be obselete already.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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