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The Pentagon is now jumping into the world of domestic cyberdefense. The move follows intrusions at critical defense contractors like Lockheed Martin by foreign spies.  (Source: Progressive Fix)
Plan is necessitated by growing cyberassault capabilities of regions like China and Eastern Europe

Much as the prescient 1984 science fiction classic Neuromancer predicted, the next great war will likely be waged less in the physical world and more in cyberspace.  The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and intelligence agencies are slowly adapting to this mindset.  However, they lag badly behind the world's largest and most dangerous cyber-military power -- China.

In an effort to expand its cyberdefense against such powerful aggressors, the U.S. Military is shifting money and spending from international operations to domestic defense.  The Pentagon's cyber policy chief, Robert Butler, reveals that the DoD has signed a new domestic cyber-security agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Mr. Butler, also deputy assistant defense secretary, says that the agreement "sets up an opportunity for DHS to take advantage of the expertise."  The DHS will still lead the U.S.'s cyberdefense, but the military will now step in and provide cyberdefensive expertise both to various government entities and to a handful of critical public corporations.

One of the growing challenges that the DoD hopes to address is the subtleties of cyberwar.  Right now the U.S. government is struggling about whether to categorize certain intrusions as benign or malicious.  The picture is not clear cut as in the real world -- intrusions could be a harmless ruse or exercise -- or they could be a scheme to steal critical info or set up mechanisms to disable critical infrastructure.  States Mr. Butler, "As we move forward, one of the key things we have is to agree on is the taxonomy."

The other unspoken difficulty is how to balance preserving civil liberties in the U.S. with the need for increased electronic surveillance.  U.S. citizens have the constitutionally guaranteed rights to privacy and due process.  Some recent court mandates and policies have erased some of those rights raising serious questions about the nation's current legislative and judicial direction.

The DoD effort shouldn't run into many of these issues, though, as it's constrained largely to protecting the government's domestic systems, and a handful of key corporate partners.  Unless you're intent on committing an illegal cyberintrusion in a branch of government you should have little to worry about.

The need for government intervention to protect the cyber-interests of key civilian contractors seems apparent.  A fine example is in Lockheed Martin's recent data breach, in which servers involved with the critical F-35 Lightning II fighter project were infiltrated by foreign cyberspies.  The F-35 Lightning II is to become the backbone of the U.S.'s air defense and stolen electronic information could give the nation's foes an inside track to developing countermeasures to exploit its weaknesses.

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Makes me laugh!
By HighWing on 10/21/2010 3:07:53 PM , Rating: 2
the next great war will likely be waged less in the physical world and more in cyberspace

Worker 1: "Oh know we're being attacked online, what ever shall we do!!"

Worker 2: "Hey I got a great idea, lets just unplug the servers being attacked from the internet."

Worker 1: "Will that work?"

Worker 2: "Well they can't attack us anymore if we do that!"

It's real easy to prevent anything you don't want stolen/compromised by the web by simply not putting it online! I understand that it's not always as simple as that these days with how much things rely on the web. However, some smart planning can easily take this into account and fix those problems. And even for stuff that must be connected there is still always the back up plan of just physically pulling the plug when you see that there is major attack in progress that you can't stop!! After all, it is kinda hard to be attacked via the web when your physically not connected to it!! And the cost in damages is most likely going to be greater than the loss in any sales/production from being temporally offline.

We existed and did business for long periods of time without being online. And many places can still do that! Sure the web makes things a lot easier, and even being temporally offline can hurt businesses, but it also gives us greater tools to combat those problems and bounce back just as fast. If a business has to go offline because of a persistent attack, it can always come back online with new hardware, new IP address, and changed passwords! Granted thats a rather costly measure, but it would work none the less, and thats just one of many back up plans a business can have in place.

Bottom line is I just don't see this great cyber war really being as big as everyone keeps saying when all it takes is some smart planning to prevent it! While I do realize many companies may not have any smart plans set up or planned, that does not mean every company does not. And when the attacks come, those business that have been prepared will come through un-harmed.

(Replace business/company with government and reread!!)

RE: Makes me laugh!
By GSystems on 10/22/2010 2:25:14 PM , Rating: 2
I was thinking the same

Truly, pulling the plug (or otherwise disabling network interfaces) would hinder an attack immediately (kind of like when players disconnect their ethernet cables when they're getting pounced on Madden NFL 11 lol)... '

I think the issue is that if you allowed every attack to cause your network to go down, you would probably hardly ever get anything of substance completed. You could imagine that the government gets attacked several hundred/thousand times per day. Would you want these huge, complex systems to go down ten times per day? They don't just boot back to the internet like a home router...

Furthermore, it's kind of like terrorism. If you allowed the actions of another to change your fundamental behavior, the person who has attacked you wins.

Lastly, there's a bit of egoism in the whole bit. You don't want anyone saying or showing that they're better than you, even if you have decreased your investments in education, and continually propagandize the threats to you...;-)

RE: Makes me laugh!
By HighWing on 10/22/2010 3:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
Well as it stands now, every attack does not cause most networks to go down. Pulling the plug is one of those last minute oh my god were're gonna lose options that just so happens to be a guarantee to stop the attack.

But the point is that unlike a physical war were you can't stop the enemy from attacking, in a cyber war, you always have that last option of pulling the plug to stop the attack when things get bad. Hell places that have the money, rather than pulling the plug, can just switch over to new servers. Which would be kinda like transporting the whole battlefield to a new location. Those kind of tactics currently don't exist in a physical war, and they are game changing tatics.

If you allowed the actions of another to change your fundamental behavior, the person who has attacked you wins.

I get what your saying here, but pulling the plug when your losing is not really a change in fundamental behavior, it's a defense strategy that buys you unlimited time to rebuild your defenses and figure out what went wrong. You just don't have those kind of options in a physical war.

Just to be clear I'm not saying that an entity being attacked should pull the plug every time they are loosing and stay offline until they aren't being attacked. There are many other options that can look like that from the enemy's point of view. And many more that can stop the attacker from even getting access to the servers. But pulling the plug is a guarantee

What I am saying here is that when you can stop the attack dead cold, as in no more attacks would be able to happen after that point for a reasonable amount of time, you now have the ability to consistently stop an attack from causing damage or even happening! Now that being the case, how is there a war? It's more like a pissing contest!

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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