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Bruce Schneier: A Cyber Cold War Could Destabilize the Internet 124

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the slavery-is-freedom dept.
moon_unit2 writes "In an op-ed piece over at Technology Review, Bruce Schneier says that the cyber espionage between the U.S., China, and other nations, has been rampant for the past decade. But he also worries that the media frenzy over recent attacks is fostering a new kind of Internet-nationalism and spurring a cyber arms race that has plenty of negative side-effects for the Internet and its users. From the piece: 'We don't know the capabilities of the other side, and we fear that they are more capable than we are. So we spend more, just in case. The other side, of course, does the same. That spending will result in more cyber weapons for attack and more cyber-surveillance for defense. It will result in move government control over the protocols of the Internet, and less free-market innovation over the same. At its worst, we might be about to enter an information-age Cold War: one with more than two "superpowers." Aside from this being a bad future for the Internet, this is inherently destabilizing.'"
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Bruce Schneier: A Cyber Cold War Could Destabilize the Internet

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  • by logjon (1411219) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:18PM (#43161195)
    "Cyber war," "cyber attack," "cyber weapons," cyber fuck yourself. Cyber seriously.
    • by oPless (63249)

      Go go go script kiddies.

      Bugger off and stop clogging the intertubes!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, you just rephrased much of what Schneider says in the article.

  • Hypothetically.

  • by hessian (467078) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:19PM (#43161207) Homepage Journal

    I must respectfully disagree with Schnier on this one.

    A cyber Cold War doesn't come about without another Cold War having occurred first.

    In this case, Cold War II is playing out between NATO, the Russians the Chinese.

    Just like Cold War I, this one is rooted in a practical geopolitical concern: who will be the ruling superpower for the next century?

    Expect a Cold War II, if you're lucky. If not, expect WWIII, which will probably be more limited than the last two but still devastating.

    • by Dragoness Eclectic (244826) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:34PM (#43161383)

      "Cold War" is so 20th-century. In the 19th century, they called the same kind of schenanigans "The Great Game" -- it involved Great Britain, Russia, and Germany at the time. I have no idea what they called it in the 18th century, but it involved England and France, and a lot of hot wars between the periods of peace.

      Now China is playing the Great Game with us, and Russia is playing it with Europe.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      WWIII will be more limited?
      Duration, yes.
      Casualties, maybe not.

      Total WW2 deaths - 48 million.

      Current Populations:
      Pyongyang - 3.2 million
      Seoul - 10.5 million
      Tokyo - 13.2 million
      Shanghai - 23 million
      Beijing - 20.1 million

      Total for 5 major cities - 70 million
      The total population in the immediate area is near 1 billion.

      • I guess you just forgot to add these:

        New York - 8 million
        Los Angeles - 4 million
        Chicago - 3 million

        Who was it who said:
        "One death is a tragedy - 85 million deaths is a statistic"

        • 85 million is just for a few major cities. Even Uncle Joe didn't have anything to say about billions. It's one thing to starve a few million in the middle of a breadbasket, or kill 'em with the secret police or gulags, but billions? What's the point in being a dictator if there's nobody left to be a dictator of?
    • I don't know that I'd call this a "cold" war. The Cold War was a conflict of bluff and counter-bluff, accompanied by skirmish-by-proxy, backing little wars between alleged allies.

      What we have now is a real, direct - if mostly unacknowledged - conflict between principals. It's roughly at the stage where the opposing forces disguise themselves in animal skins, charge, and pummel the opposition because they haven't yet learned how to do much in the way of actual destruction of lives and property, but there's n

      • by Looker_Device (2857489) * on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @02:53PM (#43162205)

        China's goal isn't destruction of lives and property. It's advancing their economic interests. The U.S. and other countries have that goal too, of course. But very few are going as far as having their military actively conduct heavy corporate espionage to benefit their native companies. The U.S. government may kowtow to corporations, but I can't imagine Apple going to the White House and asking the President to have the U.S. military steal Samsung's next Galaxy phone design for them. This seems to be an everyday thing in China now.

        • very few are going as far as having their military actively conduct heavy corporate espionage to benefit their native companies

          I don't know why China bothers. "American" companies will happily give away their know-how for the promise of a few bucks from a joint venture, or even just the promise of compliant slave labor for their next Chinese factory. Want to know how to build good jet engines? Just call Jeff "Jobs Czar" Immelt at GE and he'll accommodate you.

          Since much of it seems to be done by the PLA, maybe it's their equivalent of our military insisting it needs to build up defenses around Seattle in case of a Canadian invasio

        • But very few are going as far as having their military actively conduct heavy corporate espionage to benefit their native companies.

          France does that. They even have a name for it: "the last century." The reality is most sovereign powers do this. The problem isn't that this happens, the problem is that we're reframing this as a matter of national security and using the military in what is essentially a private-sector enterprise.

          What this means is, a teenager who hacks a website for lulz may now be considered an unlawful combatant and disappeared or military force used against them, whereas before this would be merely a criminal matter, w

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Actually there have been a few cases in Europe of the US government spying on companies using things like Echelon for commercial gain. MI6 (British intelligence) have been implicated too.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      YES, EXPECT IT. -The illuminati, royal bloodlines, and corporate mega wealthy types NEED us to be perpetually at war with other so they can CONTROL US

      The United States, Russia, and China are all actually REALLY good friends when the COMPLETELY FAKE THEATER ON TV is not being played out.

      The original cold war was all a psyop - we were friends with the russians the whole time during the cold war and especially friendly with the nazis - it was hitler who went against the jewish banking cabal. But we sure as fuc

      • You know, I make it a point to ignore posts with randomised capital words. It's the sign of an unbalanced mind or one who is not secure in their argument.
    • Schneier points out three things that make sense.

      • Espionage is old news, it's ongoing, and it's hyped beyond reason. ("Cyber-espionage is old news. What’s new is the rhetoric...")
      • We individuals aren't informed by our governments, and our ignorance is preyed upon. ("Unfortunately, both the reality and the rhetoric play right into the hands of the military and corporate interests that are behind the cyberwar arms race in the first place... Arms races are fueled by two things: ignorance and fear.")
      • W
    • I must respectfully disagree with Schnier on this one.

      A cyber Cold War doesn't come about without another Cold War having occurred first.

      In this case, Cold War II is playing out between NATO, the Russians the Chinese.

      Just like Cold War I, this one is rooted in a practical geopolitical concern: who will be the ruling superpower for the next century?

      Expect a Cold War II, if you're lucky. If not, expect WWIII, which will probably be more limited than the last two but still devastating.

      ===
      I have to disagree with you. A good defence is a good offence. What you do is prepare your offence, test that it works by real of dry runs, and prepare for the idea that a real cold war would not occur. That is why the USA has deployed their armed forces everywhere around the world. If one location is attacked, the other locations can be called upon to come to the rescue.
      The USA, is very concerned about a run on a bank, or a domino effect of a electric grid shutdown. If planes can't fly, because they

  • by codepigeon (1202896) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:23PM (#43161253)
    I could just be ill informed, but why do pundits, media, and government officials keep trying to push the idea that you need giant military organizations to lauch an attack (ala nuclear weapon building).

    Is it not completely possible that one intelligent man, $300 laptop, and an internet connection be just as "deadly" as any country's electronic warfare unit?

    And why this old relic of an idea of a cold war. I am sure that there are many individual actors that are in active attack mode.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Is it not completely possible that one intelligent man, $300 laptop, and an internet connection be just as "deadly" as any country's electronic warfare unit?

      No.

    • by vbraga (228124) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:53PM (#43161577) Journal

      Is it not completely possible that one intelligent man, $300 laptop, and an internet connection be just as "deadly" as any country's electronic warfare unit?

      A large organization such a national electronic warfare unit is able to perform more target attacks: obtaining information about the target systems using other means such as human intelligence, coordinating a large team with multiple specialists (an exploit guy, a SCADA engineer, ...), being able to use again human intelligence to infiltrate the target, like bribing a guy to run a software from a USB drive or something like that.

      While a single individual might be able to pull a highly targeted attack, it is considerably easier to a large organization to have the necessary budget to hire different specialists, coordinate with other agencies to leverage their resources, and so on.

      • You don't need to bribe people, just leave a compromised USB key in the parking lot. Or if you're more industrious, host an industry-specific "lunch and learn" for the target audience. Make sure everyone goes home with a trojan door-prize - iPad, smart phone, camera - something that can deliver your payload and will likely be hooked up to a computer for registration or activation.

        Cost of 20 steaks + 20 iPads is pretty affordable, even for a malefactor of limited means.

        • by femtobyte (710429)

          You're missing the main point --- yes, a single person can find ways to compromise/infiltrate target computers, and cause a bit of random havoc. However, a single person probably doesn't have the time/expertise to cause really serious damage. Suppose your lone warrior breaks into some industrial control computers --- sure, he can set all the electronic valves to random positions and hope to break something; he'll probably set off a bunch of alarms and emergency failsafes, and shut the plant down for a week

          • In addition, government sanctioned organizations do not get raided the way loners would. For example, the U.S. traced major hacking events back to China's People's Liberation Army. What happened? The U.S. made public angry comments.
          • by wierd_w (1375923)

            I see your point, but have an equally provocative counterpoint.

            Because a major government org is behind such foolishness, and the "enemy" also has such an org, the two orgs will spend inordinate amounts of time and resources, the very things that make them stand out over individual agents, worrying about, analyzing, tracking, and attepting infiltration of each other.

            The lone fatguy with the pizza, can of mountain dew, and the cybercafe internet connection is not as heavily monitored. So, while his resources

            • by femtobyte (710429)

              You seem to be under the impression that government intelligence agencies are entirely staffed by stupid, bureaucratic incompetents (who would never manage all the clever ideas that Mr. Fatguy invents). Hint: the CIA, NSA, and foreign equivalents are actually *very good* at cloak-and-dagger stuff, and have plenty of very smart people (operating with little public oversight). Whatever Mr. Fatguy can do, so can the CIA/etc.: anonymous home computer botnets around the globe? No problem. Heck, the CIA might eve

              • by wierd_w (1375923)

                Not exactly. I am operating under the premise that not all govt agencies are crackshot teams, and some most certainly are incompetent boobs, (TSA, DHS, and pals to name a few) and that in the post patriot act world, inter agency data sharing has considerably fewer obstacles toward cross pollination. This allows for all manner of psiops and false flag funtime, by selectively feeding false positives to the more gullible agencies, and exploiting the beurocratic overhead involved in inter agency collaborations

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Is it not completely possible that one intelligent man, $300 laptop, and an internet connection be just as "deadly" as any country's electronic warfare unit?

      Sure. But one man doesn't scale up as well as a building full of them.
      Hence the electronic warfare units.

    • by TheCarp (96830)

      I don't know, but I would be shocked to see Schneier actually make such a claim. I think you misunderstand. While its true, one does not NEED a giant military org to do such things, that doesn't mean that giant military orgs do not HAVE them.

      Just this morning I was listening to an interview with a Syrian who claimed he was recruited by the Syrian military for their military units. Its not a matter of whether such units are needed for attacks so much as the fact that they have been created and are indeed ope

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      Is it not completely possible that one intelligent man, $300 laptop, and an internet connection be just as "deadly" as any country's electronic warfare unit?

      That seems to describe the Melissa 'virus'

    • Is it not completely possible that one intelligent man, $300 laptop, and an internet connection be just as "deadly" as any country's electronic warfare unit?
       

      Think of it as a matter of scale: If one smart person with a laptop can do X amount of damage to our enemies, 300 smart people with laptops could do 300X damage; 5000 could do 5000X, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Both the US and Chinese governments would love to have control over the internet. They would both love to know what each and every one of their users is up to. Perhaps they are colluding to make this easier for each nation's citizens to swallow.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sarten-X (1102295)

      There's a conspiracy at all levels of every branch of the government, threatening to undermine the very freedoms America was founded on. It is so pervasive and the agents are so highly trained that they are only detectable in subtle ways. The agents of the conspiracy will never reveal their actions, and it is only by this secrecy that the conspiracy has persisted for so long and affected our government in so many ways. For decades, the American economy has suffered while China's has boomed, and the American

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I think the phrase "citation needed" applies. Otherwise, you've simply written an interesting piece of fiction. Take away my Internet, and what do I get? I can't pay my bills online, and waste time doing things like surfing slashdot. I can't VPN in at high speeds to work. The Internet isn't required to do anything, it's just another way to do something, one tool among many. I can pay my bills via US mail, and the news can exist on old-fashioned things like TV and newspaper. People can talk in person.

        • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @02:33PM (#43161985) Homepage

          I think the phrase "Whoosh!" applies.

          Fictional hyperbole? Yes. Yes it is, as is the current Chinese cyberwar conspiracy. That is the whole point of quoting Senator McCarthy's 1950 speech almost word-for-word. I did add a bit of introduction and changes references to "Communism" into something more modern, but otherwise the paranoia is his, not mine.

          • We know now that there were indeed communists in the State Department, just like Senator McCarthy said. That he was a prick in no way changes this fact.
      • by invid (163714) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @02:28PM (#43161927) Homepage

        For decades, the American economy has suffered while China's has boomed, and the American people are entitled to know who is responsible for the tremendous economic victory in Asia and the dismal American defeat-the greatest defeat any nation has suffered in war or peace.

        I'm fairly sure "the greatest defeat any nation has suffered in war or peace" would not leave said nation with the largest economy in the world or leave it with the largest, most powerful military. Pretty prose though.

        • by Sarten-X (1102295)

          Pretty prose though.

          It'd be purple [wikipedia.org], but perhaps red [wikipedia.org] would be a better color...

        • I'm fairly sure "the greatest defeat any nation has suffered in war or peace" would not leave said nation with the largest economy in the world or leave it with the largest, most powerful military.

          If I cut off my right arm, a tourniquet and a trip to the ER will probably save me. I can say "it was not a defeat", but it doesn't mean I'll be better off for it.

      • by Fnord666 (889225)
        Well played sir.
      • by mrand (147739)

        For decades, the American economy has suffered while China's has boomed, and the American people are entitled to know who is responsible for the tremendous economic victory in Asia and the dismal American defeat-the greatest defeat any nation has suffered in war or peace.

        Whatever it is you are babbling about, I strongly suspect the majority of the citizens of the United States are as responsible as anyone. But just to be clear, what EXACTLY are you trying to find a responsible party for on this witch hunt of yours? "the american economy has suffered"... that's a pretty broad stroke, as is "economic victory in Asia." Do you think there is someone to blame for Japan not participating in this "victory"? Same or different villan than is to blame for the US woes?

        Marc

    • They would both love to know what each and every one of their users is up to.

      Who exactly do you mean by 'they?' The exact meaning behind the noun is important. Eric Holder might be interested, but Kathleen Sebelius probably cares 0% about that. What does Obama want? Government isn't some monolithic, mysterious structure. These kind of details make the difference between a conspiracy crackpot and someone who's uncovered a real conspiracy.

  • Null-route China (and all our other enemies for that matter) at a national level. Pull the plug on them.

    We'll see how fucking smart they think they are then.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Great Firewall of Chiii.. errr.. United States?

    • Re:Easy solution (Score:4, Insightful)

      by a-zarkon! (1030790) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @02:00PM (#43161653)
      Hmm, well that needs to extend one level past the "enemies" to include all of the countries/geographies/etc. that do connect with the "enemies." You don't launch your exploits from your cyberwar directly from your connection. First you compromise a bunch of systems in other countries and use those as the launch point. Possibly nesting this several layers deep. Yep - just like in the "hacker" movies. You are creating plausible deniability and muddying up the water for anyone trying to figure out who is really behind the attack. This approach is also in pretty much direct opposition to the whole concept of the global economy. If you prevent Internet commerce and communications with large countries deemed to be the "cyber enemy" but who also happen to be a "major trading partner" it will certainly be disruptive to that trade. Go ahead and ask the obvious question as to why we are trading partners with our enemies - I can't figure it out either.
      • Go ahead and ask the obvious question as to why we are trading partners with our enemies - I can't figure it out either.

        thats an easy one. money money money.

      • by jader3rd (2222716)

        Go ahead and ask the obvious question as to why we are trading partners with our enemies - I can't figure it out either.

        Someone is less likely to go to physical war with someone if they depend upon each other for their livelihoods. We're less likely to attack each other if we are all in this together.

    • Damn right!

      Totalitarian Fascism FTW!!!

      On a serious note - China is not my enemy. Probably not yours either.

  • So keep the non-public facing government infrastructure off the damn internet and you won't have this problem...

    • by geekoid (135745)

      IT's more then that. I mean, you are correct, but there is a lot more to it.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Maybe instead of the internet they could get DARPA to create this thing where different government departments can connect together to allow rapid communication with each other without the inefficiency caused by relying on postal services for communication.

      When it's up and running they could then expand it to departments they have overseas. When this is all working okay they could use it to communicate with friendly governments and research institutes. At some point they could make it accessible from anywhe

  • by alci63 (1856480)
    I liked this one ! Innovation on the Internet never really came from "the free market" and stating otherwise is pure ideology. It came from the ARPA, universities, the CERN, RFCs, etc... Profit minded companies mainly used the Internet and would really love to rule it, but did they bring innovation ? Seriously ?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Profit minded companies brought a lot of innovation to the internet. They gave us massive advertisement, user tracking and profiling, spam, phishing sites, fake antivirus, DRM and a bunch of other poisons.

      The real innovation was done by non profit companies or OSS developers.

    • by Tailhook (98486) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @02:26PM (#43161903)

      Profit minded companies

      Xerox, Bell Labs, AT&T, Kalpana (later Cisco) all put in huge parts, like Ethernet, switching and UNIX. People like Kevin Dunlap and Paul Vixie out of DEC gave us BIND (DNS)

      Here [arkko.com] (under 'Affiliations') is a histogram of contributing authors to all RFCs. The title says "companies" but it enumerates non-companies like NASA, Berkeley and MIT. So citing RFCs blows a big hole in your own argument.

      Your training as an anti-corporate malcontent has given you some blind spots. The Internet is largely American (Western, if your being diplomatic) and created by for-profit entities. But feel free to continue indulging whatever illusions make you feel good.

      • by pavon (30274) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @03:35PM (#43162601)

        Those plots are a bit misleading, as they intentionally leave out the Information Sciences Institute at USC. The ISI is responsible for drafting the lions share of early and fundamental RFCs including those defining IP [rfc-editor.org], ICMP [rfc-editor.org], UDP [rfc-editor.org], TCP [rfc-editor.org], SMTP [rfc-editor.org] and more. The internet did exist prior to 1988, unlike those plots would lead you to believe :) The core of the internet was developed almost entirely by government research agencies. Furthermore, the recent portions of the time plots are also misleading as they leave out "unknown" which largely consists of individuals who don't officially represent an organization.

        Now the Internet is commercialized, a large number the RFCs do come from large companies whose business in the internet, but they didn't create it, and their various attempts to create something similar over the years all failed, because they insisted on proprietary closed systems. The internet is a textbook case of how the government does well at fundamental research, and the market does well with mass deployment and incremental R&D.

      • by thoth (7907)

        and created by for-profit entities.

        funded by government contracts. You left that key thing out.

        If for-profit corporations created and funded internet, it would be a multiple isolated enclaves of non-compatible protocols, with toll-keepers at the gateways.

        Consider if Microsoft created internet. How would things be different? Well it would only be for IE and Windows clients, OSX and Linux users would be told to run Windows in a VM to access it (selling another Windows license to non-Windows users), your home page would be forced and unchangeab

    • Shit, I think I'm being possessed by a marketing drone...

      Profit minded companies mainly used the Internet and would really love to rule it, but did they bring innovation ? Seriously ?

      Well, Sure! Facebook transforms granular programs to envisioneered enterprise relationships with cultivated, synergistic cutting-edge infrastructures! Then, of course, there's Twitter, with its front-end mindshare of distributed aggregate efficiency markets!

      Client-focused!

      Embracing interactive communities!

      Positioning dot-com convergence!

      POP!

      *head asplode*

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:31PM (#43161345) Homepage Journal

    This 'cyber-war' is just an extension of the trade war that is really going on now, which itself is the logical extension of the currency war that has been in process for decades actually.

    Unfortunately for all, eventually currency wars and trade wars lead to hot wars, and nobody knows what the trigger may be. It may be some half important dude getting slaughtered in a hotel or it may be another round of 'cyber war' (and it doesn't even have to be a real one, all that matters is that news leak out that some important military installation has suffered in a serious cyber attack that 'stole' some heavy military secrets, wouldn't be the first time [wikipedia.org]).

    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      I think the main differences between North Vietnam and China are:

      1) The US was not dependent on North Vietnamese factories, but it is dependent on Chinese factories.
      2) North Vietnam could do nothing to harm the US directly, but China can reduce the US to ash in less than an hour, unless the US has a secret functioning anti-missile system that could handle hundreds of missiles at once.
      3) People in Washington basically fell for the Communist propaganda (Workers of the world, unite!) and believed that a Commun

  • Espionage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by schneidafunk (795759) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:33PM (#43161365)
    I like how Bruce points out that most governments are more interested in espionage than 'cyberwar'. Spying on their own citizens seems to be a popular hobby of governments. Hopefully more people will become familiar with encryption and proxies.

    "But remember: none of this is cyberwar. It’s all espionage, something that’s been going on between countries ever since countries were invented. What moves public opinion is less the facts and more the rhetoric, and the rhetoric of war is what we’re hearing.

    The result of all this saber-rattling is a severe loss of trust, not just amongst nation-states but between people and nation-states."
    • In the case of cyber "attacks" the intent may be to gather information from information systems, but the effect can be destructive and bring down networks, destabilize IT infrastructure, and cause the loss of data and communications capabilities. That is what makes it more dangerous than plain old fashioned espionage. As we become more and more reliant on integrated IT infrastructure for operations, a state linked or state sponsored cyber attack that causes outages in IT infrastructure, especially in cru

  • ...the Internet will eventually route around the damage. Perhaps the edges will be a little raggedy, but Life will go on.

    (You can't stop the signal. Everything goes somewhere, and the Internet goes everywhere. )

    • ...the Internet will eventually route around the damage. Perhaps the edges will be a little raggedy, but Life will go on.

      (You can't stop the signal. Everything goes somewhere, and the Internet goes everywhere. )

      Yes, a clever line for interplanetary fiction.

      Not so applicable here on Terra Firma; I doubt we'll be getting much signal out, after Big Brother cuts us off from the grid and surrounds us with RF jammers.

  • by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:38PM (#43161429)
    While the USA sounds so high and mighty in its admonishment of china, it makes it easy to forget the anti-centrifuge software trojans that were deployed by the USA against Iran's nuclear refining capabilities. The US has already deployed "internet" and "computer-based" war tactics against other countries while it goes on to claim others are doing so as if our hands are so clean. That is a sad way to attempt to lead the world.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... That is a sad way to attempt to lead the world.

      "I'm right, you're wrong". "What's mine is mine, what's yours is mine". These are the most basic tenets of power and control. Anyone who wants to 'have the most toys' will spout these memes in self-justification. The next step is community-based or religion-based justification for the 'war on terror', the 'war on drugs' and 'think of the children'. Remember that 'patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel'. Meaning, because we cannot partition or quantify our loyalty, creating an equivalency to pa

  • Has it backwards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gurps_npc (621217) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @01:56PM (#43161617) Homepage
    The lack of a cyber coldwar has created a weakened defense situation where there are security problems everywhere.

    As with any war, the bad officers die. In this case, those companies that don't take security serious will die.

    Yes, in the short term a cyber cold war would cause damage, but in the long term, we would come away MUCH stronger.

    No pain, no gain. A cold cyber war would be painful, but we would come away much better off.

    • Conjuring up a threat, a fear of an enemy, is a standard methodology in preparing a public to give up freedoms.
      "War on drugs ...", "the terrorist threat ...", "the domino theory ...", and so many more. Each one used to justify government mandated restrictions on freedoms eg. personal searches at airports. Point out in each case how 'we have come out stronger'; billions of dollars later the 'threats' remain, as do the the losses of freedoms. Ask yourself, who came out ahead in the end?

      In each case, consid

  • *... Could Destabilize the Internet*

    This starts off on a flawed assumption, that the internet is stable.

    REALLY?!?!?! ... REALLY!!!??!?!?!

  • Capt Obvious points out the obvious.

    Seriously, this rates as 'news'?

    Governments find a new arena of competition/avenueof conflict.
    Governments duking it out in this arena will prove unpleasant for non-governments also in that arena.

    This should be brutally obvious to inhabitants of Belgium, if not everyone else with the slightest grasp of history.

  • Could someone with knowledge and experience in the area of mesh networks tell us how feasible it would be for people to setup their own mesh networks that span cities, states, even whole countries? Obviously performance would be much lower than what we enjoy via the Internet right now, but I'm wondering if the people of the world could, without the assistance of government, setup their own large scale mesh networks. Then it wouldn't matter quite so much when the governments of individual countries do things

  • by Darth Snowshoe (1434515) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @02:27PM (#43161917)

    Because the last thing I would call the Cold War was 'destabilizing'. The Cold War established a fixed series of relationships between countries, blocs, an entire world order that was stable for decades. It provided a context in which to understand all conflict, diplomatic activity, even academic and cultural activities. Its hard to imagine anything more stabilizing.

    The difference is, we don't (know that we) have something that looks like mutually assured destruction, in the 'cyber cold war' (yet).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It was pretty destabilizing for Vietnam, Korea, Germany, Afghanistan and most of central and south America as we fought our proxy wars and the CIA mucked about trying to indirectly lash out at Russia and contain the commies.

      It CAUSED conflict. The sort where leaders are assassinated and people get shot. It just wasn't in your neighborhood. Just because it gives you a "context to understand" why dickhead A launched a rocket at dickhead B doesn't make the violence any more stabilizing.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @02:45PM (#43162093) Homepage
    The US is making things up and doing it themselves to scare people into letting them lock down the internet.
  • Why are computers that store/control extremely sensitive government information and processes (plans for weapons, locations of operatives, power grid controls, etc.) accessable via the internet? It would seem that the government should have its own pipes that are used for these purposes. They could then turn all of the security they want on those pipes - leaving the broader internet alone. Sure, the pipes could still be infiltrated, but there would have to be some sort of physical breach. In addition, t

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      Why are computers that store/control extremely sensitive government information and processes (plans for weapons, locations of operatives, power grid controls, etc.) accessable via the internet?

      So those who work on it can work from home.

  • by dgharmon (2564621) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @03:47PM (#43162743) Homepage
    "The fact is that governments and militaries have discovered the Internet; everyone is spying on everyone else"

    Only if you Microsoft Windows and connect to the Internet ...
  • On the bright side, a cyber war doesn't sound quite as bad as a global thermonuclear holocaust. Treat it like a grand computer game and keep the post office around just in case.
  • http://www.technologyreview.com/view/512386/danger-lurks-in-growing-new-internet-nationalism/?hubRefSrc=permalink#lf_comment=63033832 [technologyreview.com]
    ----
    As I suggest in this essay: "Recognizing irony is key to transcending militarism"

    http://www.pdfernhout.net/recognizing-irony-is-a-key-to-transcending-militarism.html [pdfernhout.net]

    "Military robots like drones are ironic because they are created essentially to force humans to work like robots in an industrialized social order. Why not just create industrial robots to do the work instead?

  • Leading people to begin to consider security seriously? You know, protocols, encryption, up to date software, actually not plugging every last device and every single fact into what amounts to a publicly accessible network? Nahhh, never happen.
  • At any point in time, where there are at least 2 competing powers (different ideologies, competing for economic superiority etc), there will inevitably be tensions, and they will 'fight it out', in a sense. In the past we have had the competition between European countries in the age of colonization, the two world wars, the cold war; and now competing for domination on the internet. Same fight, different medium. It remains to be seen who will gain temporary victory this time round, but the earth will conti

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