Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Security The Internet The Military News Technology Your Rights Online

NSA Chief Wants Internet Partitioned For Government, 'Critical' Industries 258

Posted by timothy
from the little-cubbies-for-everything dept.
GovTechGuy writes "NSA chief Keith Alexander, also the head of the US Cyber Command, told reporters that he would like to see the creation of a secure zone on the Internet for government and critical private sector industries such as utility companies and the financial sector. Alexander has repeatedly emphasized the dramatic nature of the cyber threat facing American networks and his comments were a further sign that the Pentagon does not think the war against foreign hackers can be won. Alexander denied the military has any role in safeguarding civilian networks currently, but didn't rule out the option in the future."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NSA Chief Wants Internet Partitioned For Government, 'Critical' Industries

Comments Filter:
  • by symbolset (646467) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:11PM (#33681174) Journal
    Somebody's confused about the difference between "an internet" and "The Internet".
    • by swschrad (312009) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:57PM (#33681734) Homepage Journal

      you get yourself a bunch of private pipes, and you use them as a backbone using IP, and you use a private set of addresses like the 10-net, and you make no connections whatsoever between this and The Connected Internet.

      and you have an internet.

      and it's not connected to The Connected Internet.

      and then you can control your own security.

      and as long as you do not put any software on any machines on the private internet that comes from untrusted sources and has not been vetted, you're nice and secure.

      nothing with any criticality should EVER be connected to The Connected Internet.

      glad you've made a start in this process. now build one. a bunch of pre-teens could hash up one in an hour if you don't need a bunch of wacky routing rules.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by lseltzer (311306)

        It's not pipes, it's TUBES! TUBES!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tgatliff (311583)

        Let me guess.... Actually, what this is really about is that the head of NSA is upset that he cannot currently stream HD 1080p porn directly to his desk from another government friend employee. I mean, it is just sooooo choppy. A new network must be made immediately!!!

      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        And a lot of useful information that exists on the Internet will be unavailable, so the disadvantages of the private net will outweigh the advantages.

        Most of the problems on the net is caused by the fact that most computers runs the same OS (or OS family) which makes it easy for intruders. A larger variation in operating systems and applications would have made it a lot harder for malicious people.

        • How so? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:09PM (#33682454)

          And a lot of useful information that exists on the Internet will be unavailable, so the disadvantages of the private net will outweigh the advantages.

          Like what?

          The only one that immediately springs to mind is email and that's simple enough to handle.

          What else would a person working on a secured network need to access?

          • by poetmatt (793785)

            oh, who knows, maybe things that aren't also on the same local private network?

          • Re:How so? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by c6gunner (950153) on Friday September 24, 2010 @09:15AM (#33686120)

            What else would a person working on a secured network need to access?

            Depends what you mean by "secured". Speaking from experience ... the military runs a separate network, but provides gateways / proxies for external net access. At one point I was tasked to work on web development for the internal network, and I found external internet access to be invaluable as a reference - especially since a lot of the programming was in ASP, and I only had experience with PHP. Without it, I would have had to create a purchase request for an "ASP for Dummies" book, get the funding approved, wait a year (ok, maybe 3 months) for it to finally arrive, and then spend 3 times as long digging through it as it took to just punch a search into google every time I wasn't sure about something.

            That's just one example - there are plenty of other legitemate reasons to have internet access on an otherwise secure network. Of course, as I said, it depends on your definition of "secured network". If we're talking about the control systems for a nuclea power plant, then yeah, it might be a good idea to have an air-gap.

        • by mr_mischief (456295) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:42PM (#33683426) Journal

          There's no reason to hook up just one network to your facility if you need real security. You can have public Internet access on one set of systems and private internet (small 'i') access on others.

          If you need to search Google (which would probably have a separate government-funded server farm and Milnet (oops I mean "private secure internet") connection anyway) you go to an Internet-connected system. If you need to access a secure remote site, you go to the private network systems.

          If you need to get data from the public Internet to your private network, you use removable media only, move only non-executable data, and scan it very carefully with a number of tools for cleverly crafted data formats designed to overflow buffers or smash stacks.

          If you need to move info from your secure systems to the public Internet... then you don't really need your secure systems that damn much first of all. Yet if for some reason you do need to do this, you can use removable media for that. I've even seen people read from one terminal and type into another to bridge information across networks that were kept separate for security reasons.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The trouble with the OS diversity argument is that it is really calibrated to the concerns of "low interest" targets. If my computer is worth maybe 25 cents as a low-reliability spam node, with perhaps a buck worth of credit card details cached somewhere, the fact that it is running the same OS as another $HUGE_NUMBER of machines is basically the only thing that makes it worth attacking. Writing a decent virus/worm/trojan and maybe doing some social engineering to get me to download it isn't free, nor does
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That already exists. Depending on the intelligence agency, there are many "high-side" networks that operate exactly like "The Internet". Some even have a version of twitter and facebook/myspace.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Worldwide_Intelligence_Communications_System

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gerf (532474)

        wacky routing rules

        This is absolutely necessary. I'll asplain why.

        A Unconnected Internet would be a pretty much by definition a lucrative honeypot for those who you are trying to keep out. As such, it'd be the most targeted network imaginable, with any entity (China Iran Venezuela, N. Korea, Cowboy Neal, al Qaeda, IRA, Libya..) that would possibly want to damage infrastructure a super huge easy target. Since it's a "separate" network run by the internet-incompetent government, it's going to be vulnerable once access is had

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MightyMartian (840721)

          In theory, the idea makes sense. In reality, unless you're going to have every terminal under armed guard, there's going to be risks, and even armed guards won't completely eliminate those risks. If it's an IP network, it and the protocols that flow on top of it will be vulnerable in the same way that the real Internet is.

          If there were a way to make safe zones in the manner that this guy is talking of it would have been done long ago. Unfortunately, security is really hard, and requires not just the tale

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ultranova (717540)

          As such, it'd be the most targeted network imaginable, with any entity (China Iran Venezuela, N. Korea, Cowboy Neal, al Qaeda, IRA, Libya..)

          Of this list, only China and Al-Qaeda are likely to attack the US's infrastructure. Iran and Venezuela have nothing to gain from such a stunt, and would simply be giving the US an excuse to invade. The same is true of North Korea, who's leader cares only about his own life of luxury. Al-Qaeda is nuts, while China is a rival for world power, so they might do it. Dunno a

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by networkBoy (774728)

            You Sir are an idiot. Underestimating the power & insanity of Cowboy Neal as you so obviously do!

            (:heh: sorry, couldn't resist)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bev_tech_rob (313485)
        When I read the summary that is what I thought....'isn't he describing a private WAN?'.... Critical infrastructure control systems shouldn't be connected to the open internet, period. The CEO's can loosen their purse strings and hire someone to monitor the systems instead of trying to do it remotely.
      • by DCFusor (1763438) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:41PM (#33682662) Homepage
        Until someone gets tired of having to use another machine for the "real" net and hooks up a router between them. Half an hour tops before some idiot breaks the separation model. Yes, people ARE that dumb.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ultranova (717540)

        and you make no connections whatsoever between this and The Connected Internet.

        And the larger your network grows, the harder this becomes to enforce. A single laptop connecting to a nearby open Wi-Fi port is sufficient to compromise you. So is someone using a mobile data connection or something to check their e-mail. And of course, if your network is big enough, an attacker can simply physically intersect the cables.

        No, it's best to assume that any network will be compromised and design accordingly. Don't

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tgatliff (311583)

      He apparently seems to have a misunderstanding on what a VPN is as well...

      Also, the problem is not "the internet". The problem is people in general. If you only allow a system to be modified by a physical person in front of a unix/linux/vxworks (or similar) terminal with no network connection, then it makes "hacking" something like pretty much impossible unless a person is physically present.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      You mean "a network based on protocols developed for The Internet" and "The Internet".

    • by mjwx (966435)
      Somebody's confused about the difference between "an internet" and "The Internet".

      So this guy wants a Wide Area Intranet?

      WTF, we already have this. A private business I can pay an ISP to connect my offices in a manner that they never touch the internet. Traffic between my offices would never leave the ISP's routing network.

    • by mysteryvortex (854738) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @08:20PM (#33682540)

      I've always said: "Why should [X] be connected to the public internet in the first place? Isn't connecting [X] to the public internet a really bad idea?"

      Where [X] is any number of things: (list not exhaustive)
      a power plant control system
      a waste water treatment plant control system
      an electrical plant control system
      an electrical substation control system
      a train station control system
      a traffic control system

      There are many things besides control systems, but for this post I am thinking of basic infrastructure. If these things need to be networked, they should be on their own private network with limited access. These problems also occurred before the internet existed. For example by connecting them to the public telephone system. (sometimes with no password, relying on the obscurity of the phone number to limit access)

      It is not just the public sector that needs to learn this, but also private industry. If it is vitally important, limit physical access to it. Private networks exist for a reason. There is no need to do anything to the public internet.

      -Mysteryvortex

  • by XanC (644172) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:16PM (#33681244)

    This is what a bunch of us have been saying for a while: there's no reason for those really critical things to be on the Internet. Now they're proposing that they won't be, but are calling it a "partition". (??)

    • by airfoobar (1853132) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:21PM (#33681326)
      Their goal is probably to get an excuse to somehow restructure the internet.. Who knows what "partitioning" may entail?
      • by causality (777677) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:30PM (#33681432)

        Their goal is probably to get an excuse to somehow restructure the internet.. Who knows what "partitioning" may entail?

        This could be a great "excuse" for us, too. We should make him a deal. Partition off the governmental and "critical industry". Now the public Internet has no more high-profile targets. Then, drop all the warrantless wiretapping, eavesdropping, and other monitoring from the public Internet and use it to lock down the governmental and critical parts. All of the resources and manpower focused on a much smaller target should do wonders towards securing us against the currently trendy bogeyman of "cyberattack".

        • by Kjella (173770)

          And for all of you who seriously believe that, I have a wonderful investment opportunity in a bridge to sell you... In fact it's the same bridge, and it doesn't even exist and I'm actually just going to scam you for money but I assume your mind blanked after the first sentence and you're off to your bank to see how much you can mortgage your home (causing a second financial crisis) right now, but you'll probably start reading again at the end so: Limited time only, 300% guaranteed return! Sign up at i.r@gul

        • Yes, let's tell him he can have his special internet on our terms or else we'll...uhhh...

        • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:47PM (#33682244) Journal
          The people doesn't need an 'excuse' to make a deal with the government. We don't need to make deals with the government. In a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, when we want something done, we tell the government to do it.

          Now all we need to do is convince the vast majority of the country to oppose warrantless wiretapping, etc. Most people are ok with that kind of thing, you know, because it catches criminals or terrorists or something. In other words, he doesn't need to make a deal with you, and he won't, because he has the people on his side. See also, "how Bush got congress to agree to invade Iraq by convincing the vast majority (for a brief moment) that it would help with terrorists or something."
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by h00manist (800926)

            The people doesn't need an 'excuse' to make a deal with the government. We don't need to make deals with the government. In a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, when we want something done, we tell the government to do it. Now all we need to do is convince the vast majority of the country to oppose warrantless wiretapping, etc.

            To start organizing people, finding 10 people who agree on anything besides drinking beer and partying would be a phenomenal start.

      • by sokoban (142301) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:05PM (#33683198) Homepage

        Their goal is probably to get an excuse to somehow restructure the internet..

        Actually, it's an excuse to get the funding to somehow restructure the internet.

    • by Kepesk (1093871)
      Yeah, I'm not sure why this concept has been so hard for them. If they really need critical information to be distributable on a system like the internet, all they would really need to do is set up a separate, independent internet using existing technology for their own secure purposes. I'm sure that with their vast resources, they could do it.

      Am I right?
      • There are lots of little Internets around, actually private networks that emulate Internet infrastructure; the telcos offer them as extensions of their old private messes. Methinks the NSA just needs more money to complete their own wiring. And of course, that'll cure everything until we get our little backdoor router into the thing.

        The Internet II was supposed to be an experiment to look at a nice OC192 highway to link universities in the old DARPA model... and it's wired (actually fibered) now.

        I can just

    • by bartle (447377) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:33PM (#33681468) Homepage
      This idea of a nationwide secure network has never made much sense to me. Creating a secure network in a small organization is pretty easy but creating one that links many public and private enterprises sounds like a disaster. Gaps will inevitably appear but worse it creates a real target for someone who wishes to create harm.
    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      yes this is just an internet for a restricted group if you want security build your own network and stick an air gap between you and the internet - this isnt exactly rocket science
    • by jd (1658) <imipak @ y a h o o .com> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:08PM (#33681864) Homepage Journal

      The whole point of the Internet 2 project was to provide secure, robust, high-speed communication to those who needed it. Not that I really know what makes "Internet 2" anything more than a section of the regular Internet 1 with restrictions on traffic routing off the high-speed backbone they've got. That and a functional IPv6 infrastructure which they've had in place for about 15 years without the need of tunnel brokers. Oh, and IPv6-aware applications - something else Internet 1 users have too few of and they've plenty of.

      So the military have only NOW realized that putting sensitive or mission-critical information over a public network is a Bad Idea? Pffft. Pull the other one. They're one of the key players IN the Internet 2 endeavor. I can understand them wanting to get power stations and other critical infrastructure onto it, I can even understand them thinking Joe Public is too stupid to remember all of the news coverage Internet 2 has had over they years, or to google to see if such a network exists. But I'm frankly amazed that they've not been called on it by anyone, and shocked (shocked I tell you!) that nobody on Slashdot has mentioned it.

      • So the military have only NOW realized that putting sensitive or mission-critical information over a public network is a Bad Idea? Pffft. Pull the other one. They're one of the key players IN the Internet 2 endeavor. I can understand them wanting to get power stations and other critical infrastructure onto it

        To be fair, the military was one of the key players IN the Internet 1 endeavor too. They also run a special, non-Internet connected WAN called SIPRNet for classified information. (Which means that they understand why it's bad to put mission critical information on a public network.) It sounds like this guy is proposing making a version of SIPRNet (that is, a private, non-Internet WAN) with civilians agencies (police, firefighters) and infrastructure (hospitals, power plants, maybe mass transit.) Sounds reas

    • by Jaime2 (824950)
      I think they're even more confused than that. It's pretty basic common sense that these critical services shouldn't be on the Internet. But, they are. Somebody must have weighed the security risks and benefits of connecting to the Internet and made a conscious desicion to connect to it. There is no way that this new "partition" could offer what they sought when they connected to the Internet. So, all this would do is reset the environment back to the time when they weren't connected. The same results
  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:16PM (#33681252)

    One little gateway to the great, unwashed Internet, and the whole walled garden is compromised.

    In fact, thinking they are safe in a walled garden is likely to lower their level of caution.

    And it doesn't require an active network link spanning the networks. Virus and other nasties can be entered via CD's, USB sticks (I'm looking at you, U.S. Navy), or malicious persons on the inside.

    If this guy is serious, what he probably wants is the ability to partition the Internet such that walled gardens can be set up, torn down, and have their membership adjusted very quickly.

    On, and to hope that the ability to mess with that never gets into the wrong hands.

    • He might want to mess with the network and its topology because he's a network guy. Right now the biggest threats come from exploitable bugs in software so rather than attempt to create a new Internet, this guy should be funding massive security code review of both free and non-free software.
      • He might want to mess with the network and its topology because he's a network guy. Right now the biggest threats come from exploitable bugs in software so rather than attempt to create a new Internet, this guy should be funding massive security code review of both free and non-free software.

        Fair point. But I'm not sure which approach would be cheaper and/or more effective.

    • by Znork (31774) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:52PM (#33681678)

      Partitioning is a pipe dream; any network with a significant number of users will have uncontrolled exchanges with the internet.

      The only way to have reasonable security is to keep certain subsystems separate and accessible only via specific gateways; no user is ever logically placed on those segments, and they are only ever accessed over very few very specific interfaces.

    • by Aqualung812 (959532) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:11PM (#33681898)

      I used to work at a bank, and I really wished for something like this. Imagine a network with no home connections, nothing moving across it but VPNs. VPNs from bank to bank, power company to government, etc. Every node would be authenticated. No worms.

      In this type of network, I can turn the logging on my firewall to the max, and anything that even looks at my bank's firewall with a ping can be reported to the agency that runs the show. Once it is confirmed that they're going where they should not, they're kicked off the network.

      The issue I had is that because there are so many cases where bank A needs to talk to bank B, and neither want to have the T1 line under their name. If the Internet goes down, no money can be moved and there are big problems. Making a walled place for this would be great.

      People need to understand that you can EITHER have security OR the ability to be anonymous. If you want one, you're losing the other.

    • One little gateway to the great, unwashed Internet, and the whole walled garden is compromised.

      It's okay, they can just create their own, malware-free porn sites on the government network and nobody'll ever be tempted.

    • You mean, unless theres actually real security there? I would hope the NSA could afford better equipment than dumb switches and a single router.

      There are, for example, pieces of network equipment that will detect outbound traffic on the network and forcibly route it through itself (the equipment I saw doing this was a Nomadix gateway). Tie that with a managed layer-3 switch (configured to prevent DHCP from coming from untrusted ports), plus a little configuration to raise a red flag when a node's mac c
  • I suppose (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KarrdeSW (996917) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:17PM (#33681262)

    I suppose it would be possible to build a whole second infrastructure across the country for Government agencies and 'critical industries', one that would never necessarily cross lines with any part of the 'insecure' internet. However, I would think the fact that you would need a nationwide infrastructure is what would make it just as insecure as the real thing, as there would be innumerable points for a malicious person to connect in. Also, unless you plan on creating a whole new 'secure' operating system to connect to every computer on this new network, you're still going to be vulnerable if anyone brings in a flash drive or a DVD with a virus.

    Oh, and you could NEVER allow wireless connections to this network... that would just be too damn easy.

    • That's just it, though, the only way to truly securely establish a separate network would be to run separate lines -- build in separate hardware, build in an air gap. Attempting to "partition" the Internet at the software level is pure silliness -- unless you command both ends of the pipe, and all points in between, there's a chance that someone may be able to intercept your traffic. And with deep packet inspection and similar tools these days, they could thus also alter your traffic, meaning any communic

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by causality (777677)

        That's just it, though, the only way to truly securely establish a separate network would be to run separate lines -- build in separate hardware, build in an air gap. Attempting to "partition" the Internet at the software level is pure silliness -- unless you command both ends of the pipe, and all points in between, there's a chance that someone may be able to intercept your traffic. And with deep packet inspection and similar tools these days, they could thus also alter your traffic, meaning any communications over the Internet cannot be secure, at least not in the way this Keith Alexander is talking about.

        Cheers,

        I think a much better approach is to assume that the intermediate network is insecure and beyond your control. Then, use very strong end-to-end encryption to make a secure tunnel, much like the SSH approach. I mean, this is the NSA here. It's not like they wouldn't know how to use good encryption.

        • Sure, the NSA is undoubtedly up on the best crytpo around. While encryption will secure a message payload, it doesn't ensure that the message gets where it's going -- routing traffic over the Internet leaves the end- and midpoints open to DDOS and other attacks, tying up servers and preventing message transmission. A physically separate network, however, would avoid much of the harmful noise that happens in teh intarwebs.

          Cheers,

      • Whats wrong with a government and critical infrastructure VPN?

        • Although the signal content might be secure, the signal itself would still be prone to disruption through various shenanigans like DDOS attacks and the like. A dedicated physically separate network would not face the same issues unless physically compromised. On the wide-open Internet, though, some bored teenager in Kuala Lumpur or Rotorua or Arkhangelsk could conceivably disrupt government systems, especially when so many such systems seem to be run on known-insecure Windows.

          Cheers,

        • by Twanfox (185252)

          DDoS attacks don't rely on compromising data so much as they rely on denying you access to resources. If you're on the same network as the 'unwashed masses', they can flood your pipe and block you from getting out unless you've got some really good traffic management protocols.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They are compromised from the inside before they even string up one RJ-45 cable. Just tell Gen. Nuisance that "We'll just not dial into the bad guy's BBS, Sir." and call it a day. These are the great "cyber warriors" from the USA; unable to comprehend and put up a VPN for this shit. Dumb, and dumber.

    • Re:I suppose (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PCM2 (4486) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:29PM (#33681426) Homepage

      I suppose it would be possible to build a whole second infrastructure across the country for Government agencies and 'critical industries', one that would never necessarily cross lines with any part of the 'insecure' internet.

      Yeah, but why would the NSA want that? This is the NSA we're talking about, not the Department of Defense. What they probably want is to reconfigure the Internet so that there are lots of "walls" all over the place, like a maze. Most of the walls will have doors on them, so your traffic will be able to pass through without noticing a thing. The NSA is selling this as if the idea is to make some special walls that don't have doors on them, so those parts of the network will be more secure -- but I'm betting the real idea is the NSA gets to sit on top of all those walls and look down.

  • Cyber Command sounds WAY too much like some sort of comic book superhero hangout.
  • Let there be an internet for government and sensitive business entities. I'm all for it. This would give less cause for government to screw around with surveillance and monitoring on the global internet I should think. (Yeah, I know they will still want that) It would also allow better protection of data without unplugging entirely.

    I don't think it should be "partitioned" so much as having a new one built in parallel... and while they are at it, make it all IPV6. We all need a way to transition and a b

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dwye (1127395)

      > and while they are at it, make it all IPV6.

      Why would the second, USA or NATO only, internet need IPV6? Remember, this is the one that YOU will never be allowed on (at least in your role as a private person), let alone Mexico, Central America, South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia. Likewise, this is the one that toasters, your gas and water meter, the coke machine on the 7th floor of Science Hall, or any other such appliances would not need to be on. In short, this is the Internet before Al Go

  • "What's up MPAA? Hey, RIAA are you in line too or just waiting for your order?"
  • by p0p0 (1841106) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:19PM (#33681298)
    Just tell all the companies worried about cyber attack to set their gateway as 127.0.0.1 and they'll be perfectly safe.
  • Uhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:20PM (#33681312)
    Is this guy legitimate? How the hell did someone so ignorant of networking become head of US cyber command? NOTHING stops someone from grabbing off the shelf hardware and creating a WAN that has no hardware connections with the global internet. Or, there's various virtual ways to do this that are almost as good. Companies and institutions have been doing this for decades. Hackers can only get in if the institution is dumb enough to put the mission critical hardware on a network that IS connected to the internet, or even dumber, run the mission critical control system on a windows machine. Of course, corporations do this all the time...
    • Re:Uhh (Score:4, Interesting)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:35PM (#33681500)
      The public statement is just a political maneuver, to help with the real goal: killing the open Internet. The free and open Internet is a nightmare for them, because it allows all sorts of people to communicate and do things without being monitored. It is bad for business (which is what the US Government is really interested in protecting) and bad for the politicians who bankroll the NSA.

      First they'll set up a new network for "critical infrastructure," which you can only connect "certified" devices to, and then you'll start to see things...like suddenly your bank will require you to use that new, secure, not-open network. Then new and popular music will only be made available on that network. Then videos, games, books, and so forth, until eventually the Internet falls by the wayside, as forgotten as Fidonet, even if it even remains in existence. You will only be allowed to connect certain computers to that network, running certain software, and of course, you will not have any sort of root access to your system.
      • by mangu (126918)

        new and popular music will only be made available on that network

        LOL [btjunkie.org]. Good luck with that, even if you "secure" all your networks [wikipedia.org]

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by im_thatoneguy (819432)

        So you're saying this guy is a sociopath with a dream of world domination?

        Seems like quite a leap to accuse him of that based on "Maybe we should setup a second parallel network which we completely control for mission critical information."

        I love that half of the comments to this story read:
        "OMG DON'T USE THE INTERNET FOR MISSION CRITICAL FUNCTIONS IDIOTS!"
        and the other half respond
        "OMG IT'S ALL A PLOY TO STEAL OUR INTERNETZ!"

    • Re:Uhh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Strange Ranger (454494) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:59PM (#33681758)
      Keith knows about WANs and VLANs and VPNs. My guess is this is just Keith's way of campaigning for a 200 million dollar budget so he can go on a serious shopping spree.

      Also, having direct control and access to all the information that will be on it. "Come on in banks and military suppliers, Telecoms, and Energy companies, etc., sure there's room for you on the Homeland Network!!"

      My tin foil hat doesn't warp my brain. "Killing the open internet" isn't the goal of this public statement or this proposal. Growing his budget and expanding the scope of Homeland Security, certainly.

      Do we still teach the dangers of Fascism in school these days? My tinfoil hat does compel me to include this Wikipedia quote [wikipedia.org] "Fascists seek to organize a nation according to corporatist perspectives, values, and systems, including the political system and the economy."

      Think how much easier it could be to share information [slashdot.org] without getting caught.
      • Re:Uhh (Score:4, Informative)

        by mangu (126918) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:16PM (#33681950)

        You beat me to it, that's exactly what I was going to write.

        Saying something as stupid as this "secure zone" proposal should be enough to get banned from ever working in a high responsibility government job again. "Secure zones" already exist [wikipedia.org], if they aren't being used correctly by the government is because people like Keith Alexander aren't doing their job.

    • guy legitimate? How the hell did someone so ignorant of networking become head of US cyber command

      Golf, scotch, and blowjobs.

      We the people have far more to fear from these dipshits than some horde of "cyber-warriors", if they even exist, do, as this demonstrates.

  • Because a segment of the internet dedicated to government and "high risk" sectors would be much safer...like when I put a DO NOT STEAL note on my bike.

  • Jesus Christ, you mean they're not!?!?

    What f$*!!ing moron thought it was a good idea to do this, anyway. I was always under the assumption that critical system were not connected to the internet.

    Holy Moly, I'm not going to sleep well tonight.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:23PM (#33681338) Homepage

    So, what they want is a private IP-based network. No sweat, we've been building those for a couple of decades now. When I did point-of-sale for a truck-stock company, we had our own private network for connecting to our stores, credit-card processors and the like. You need routers, appropriate leased-line or other dedicated bandwidth, and some time spent on a white-board laying out the topology. The only real hard part is making sure you don't connect any machines to this network that also have connections to the public Internet. Yes, this means the machines on that network aren't going to be able to access the public Internet. You wanted a private, isolated network, you get a private, isolated network. If you want to live dangerously you can create appropriate DMZs and firewalls and proxies to give internal machines external access, but remember that that means worms, viruses and other malware can ride in on stuff coming back in through that external access and infect machines inside the perimeter. At that point your "protected" network isn't protected at all (in fact it's probably more vulnerable, since you likely skimped on internal protection since it's supposed to be a protected network).

    • "So, what they want is a private IP-based network. No sweat..."

      You're absolutely right, of course. The problem comes in when they're working on their great little pos application in their walled garden and then some one says "Hey! You know what'd be great? If we installed SATAN and did an audit of Router D over there, well lemme just jump over to... oh yeah...", then they connect up and their walled garden is for sh*t...

      • by Todd Knarr (15451)

        Not a problem. As a developer I had full Internet access. Grab SATAN, install it, run it, no problem. If I needed to get it onto the internal network, I just had to burn it to CD and take it over to one of the Support machines that was on the internal network. Or, later on, use ssh and scp to move it to a bastion host and then onto the production-side system I needed it on. Fortunately we were using Unix and X11 and weren't dependent on a full desktop environment, so running all the graphical tools I needed

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by david.given (6740)

      I've always wondered why people in this situation didn't build private networks based on protocols other than IP. A quick glance at /etc/protocols shows dozens of different protocols that can be carried by ethernet --- there must be something there that's sufficiently flexible to build a useful network out of but can't be carried by the Internet without protocol conversion. The old OSI protocol suite, for example. Or even write your own if you want special features, such as pervasive authentication on all c

  • If it is in charge of a critical resource in which people's lives and safety is at risk, it should not be connected to the internet. I can be on its own, internal private network with no actual physical connection externally. It can be a pain at first, but really it is not that bad. Even if you need to download patches, etc, you simply download them to a box that is on the internet, put it on removable media, scan the media for viruses, remove it and connect to the stand-alone network. Really not that big a
    • > scan the media for known viruses

      FTFY, thereby illustrating the flaw in considering it "not that big a deal".

    • by vux984 (928602)

      Even if you need to download patches, etc, you simply download them to a box that is on the internet, put it on removable media, scan the media for viruses, remove it and connect to the stand-alone network. Really not that big a deal.

      Unless you've bought into the whole SAAS model, and half the things you need to do require you to be connected to the internet. Or a software vendor you are dealing with requires internet access for license validation/activation. Or you've outsourced 9/10ths of your IT to a com

  • by Sooner Boomer (96864) <sooner@boomr.gmail@com> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:27PM (#33681408) Journal

    I mean, wasn't the internet designed/made for the military in the first place (ARPA/DARPA)? Then first the institutions (.edu) and later the commercial market (.com) came along and took it over. I guess creating a new network from scratch (and doing it RIGHT this time) is easier than kicking the rest of us pikers off of what was theirs in the first place.

  • While you still have people in any partition you make you will still be at risk. And you still want that people visit your sites, no? NO?
  • by eataTREE (7407) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:48PM (#33681642)

    As many have no doubt pointed out, there is not now and has never been anything that stops anyone from building their own TCP/IP-based network and only allowing trusted users/machines/sites to connect to that network. There is no inherent need to connect *anything* to the public Internet, much less an asset that contains confidential information.

    The thing that bothers me most about this announcement is the clear implication that secret data *isn't* currently partitioned onto private networks at top-secret government agencies.

  • Never heard of an "air gap".

  • by rickb928 (945187) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @06:57PM (#33681742) Homepage Journal

    Completely. They have the .mil network, and can't secure that. So the answer is to segregate the 'real' Internet and a 'secure' Internet?

    And this will prevent infestations via USB drive how exactly?

    I thought so. Next, please.

  • by CherniyVolk (513591) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:37PM (#33682142)

    The government and military already have a "partitioned" inaccessible "internet". The real name of the "internet" you are using to view this site is called NIPRNET, and the "secure partitioned" one is called SIPRNET. The secured internet has been around for decades and is still used by governments around the world.

    So this proposition simply is a play on words, particularly a "partition" word, possibly for a total ground up restructuring scheme for sure. This is such a bold statement from a government official, it's baffling really.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      I think they want a third thing, that would connect government to corporate entities.

      Because the country is rapidly moving towards overt corporate control of government, and they don't want to have to fly to Washington to pull the strings.

  • In other words... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by straponego (521991) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @07:41PM (#33682180)
    The ruling class doesn't want to be exposed to those peons who are subject to laws.

    Oh well, at least they're not calling us Morlocks yet.
  • http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0921/Stuxnet-malware-is-weapon-out-to-destroy-Iran-s-Bushehr-nuclear-plant [csmonitor.com]
    Stop filling your critical industries with MS products that cannot use USB without risk.
    Comments like this would many go hmmm "a precision, military-grade cyber missile deployed early last year to seek out and destroy one real-world target of high importance – a target still unknown."
    The NSA is tapped into every big telco system within and outside the USA, they have the software and hardware
  • Bogus cruft (Score:2, Interesting)

    by woboyle (1044168)
    The US military and defense establishment already has its own private internet (DarpaNet), along with backbone and such. This is just, in the words of Bruce Schneier, so much security theater. The physics research community also has its own network, PhysNet, that provides high bandwidth and secure connections between major research sites and universities world-wide. Yes, they interconnect to the broader Internet, but they don't carry general Internet traffic and are quite secure against outside hackers.
  • by dbc (135354) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:06PM (#33682830)

    There's nobody else there anyway....

<<<<< EVACUATION ROUTE <<<<<

Working...