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Government Security

There Is No Cyberwar 149

crowfeather notes an interview with cybersecurity czar Howard Schmidt that Wired's Threat Level conducted this week. "Howard Schmidt, the new cybersecurity czar for the Obama administration, has a short answer for the drumbeat of rhetoric claiming the United States is caught up in a cyberwar that it is losing. 'There is no cyberwar,' Schmidt told Wired.com in a sit-down interview Wednesday at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco. 'I think that is a terrible metaphor and I think that is a terrible concept,' Schmidt said. 'There are no winners in that environment.' Instead, Schmidt said the government needs to focus its cybersecurity efforts to fight online crime and espionage. His stance contradicts Michael McConnell, the former director of national intelligence who made headlines last week when he testified to Congress that the country was already in the midst of a cyberwar — and was losing it. ... There's been much ink spilled in recent years over the turf battles in D.C. over whether the NSA (representing the military) or DHS (on the civilian side) takes the lead role in cybersecurity. But... "I haven't seen that tension," Schmidt said. As for which will take the cybersecurity lead, Schmidt simply says it's a shared effort."
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There Is No Cyberwar

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  • by H0p313ss (811249) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:22AM (#31371306)
    ... we have always been at war with Eurasia.
  • And he's right. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:26AM (#31371338)
    It's not a war if only one side is putting up a fight.
  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:27AM (#31371350)
    This guy sounds out of touch, like he is more concerned with the politics of appeasing China than the job of securing our country. Can we somehow get this guy removed from office for incompetence?
  • Re:And he's right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jimbolauski (882977) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:28AM (#31371362) Journal
    So that explains why the whitehouse banned the term war on terrorism.
  • Re:And he's right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DIplomatic (1759914) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:32AM (#31371420) Journal
    I definitely agree. I make sure my house and car are locked and secure but I wouldn't say that I am waging a war against burglary.
  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:35AM (#31371458)
    No, not much. Just a bunch of massive cyber attacks on the U.S. government's websites.


    Doesn't really matter if it's China behind any of it to call it a cyber war.
  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:48AM (#31371626)
    The US owns the sea. the Chinese know this. Their sub technology is borrowed from the Soviets, and the Akula class is a barge underwater and it's all they got, and their Navy sucks.

    The US has shown it possess the technology to splice underwater fiber cables and tap them. Google it, they've already done it in the North Sea.

    And that is the trump card. China launches a major offensive against the world, they better have routes down through Korea, because every trans-pacific cable leading to the mainland will get cut in minutes.
  • Aptly? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ink (4325) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:51AM (#31371670) Homepage

    If it's a war, then the Constitution requires Congress to declare it. We have wars on poverty, drugs, terrorism; why do we need to further dilute what it means to be at war? I find Schmidt's comments refreshing; perhaps we could have a rational discussion about security without needlessly ratcheting up the fear machine. Traditionally wars had beginnings and endings -- that is to say, they had structure (not to be quaint). When we're eternally at war with concepts, it numbs the sentiment.

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:55AM (#31371716) Homepage

    I don't see how emailing your post to the white house could fail to do the job. I mean "sounds out of touch"? How can anyone read that and not know he's not suited for the job?

    Seriously, focusing on online crime and espionage without re-engineering the internet to eliminate anonymity, instead of focusing on a Cyber-War buzzword with all the "but we're at war!" excuses for doing whatever they want? That's no way to exercise executive power! You're so right; how incompetent can you get?!

  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Friday March 05, 2010 @10:59AM (#31371786)
    From the below article about the 2007 attack on the Pentagon: The Pentagon is exposed to "perhaps hundreds of attacks a day," and the department has back up systems in place, Gates said.


    What would you call a regular series of attacks on our military headquarters using computers, hmmm? A compu-insurgency? Techno-terrorism? Cyberwarfare seems pretty apt to me.
  • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Friday March 05, 2010 @11:03AM (#31371836) Journal

    There is a cyber war, but it's within our own government, and it's over who gets the budget dollars to fight it.

  • Let's see ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday March 05, 2010 @11:06AM (#31371866)

    What would you call a regular series of attacks on our military headquarters using computers, hmmm?

    I'd call it "the daily life of a firewall". Seriously, check your firewall logs. Mine are being "attacked" every hour of every day and I'm not a military installation.

  • by FriendlyPrimate (461389) on Friday March 05, 2010 @11:26AM (#31372144)
    IBM has recently started directly laying off American developers and replacing them with Chinese developers working in the "CDL labs". They're doing this for code designed to run on System z mainframes, such as Rational HATS (half the team just moved to China in the past couple of weeks). The main reason why companies use System z at all is because it's supposed to be ultra-secure, and therefore it is used for the most sensitive of processes (like banks, etc...). How unrealistic would it be for a Chinese developer (either willingly, or coerced by the Chinese government) to plant security holes in IBM mainframe products? They did it with Google...isn't it logical that they'd also be trying to target IBM? It scares the heck out of me thinking how many Fortune 500 companies that use System z for their ultra-secure mainframes might be getting exposed to Chinese corporate espionage.
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Friday March 05, 2010 @11:34AM (#31372230)
    mod parent up please, this is exactly what it's about: budget and turf.
  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday March 05, 2010 @11:36AM (#31372244) Homepage

    The curent attacks on the US infrastructure are simply finding our many weaknesses and no matter of sticking our heads in the sand will stop it. The only way to stop it is to start taking a proactive approach, shoring up our weaknesses, and start doing the same to our enemies.

    Huh, that sounds like a familiar sentiment. Where have I heard it? Oh yeah, TFA!

    "We can't sit there and be waiting for the next intrusion attempts to take place," Schmidt said. "We need to become stronger in what we are doing so we are better able to resist the things that are being thrown at us."

    Get it? "Shoring up our weaknesses" is exactly what he's talking about. What he's also saying is that you don't have to cry "Oh my god we're in a CYBERWAR!" and then use that to justify destroying privacy on the internet like McDonnel wanted to do.

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday March 05, 2010 @02:22PM (#31374386)

    as it stands any cyberwar launched by a government would be missed in the noise due to insignificance next to the legions of botnets, script kiddies, hackers, crackers and miscellaneous.

The University of California Statistics Department; where mean is normal, and deviation standard.