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President Obama Wants To Prevent a Cyber Weapon 'Arms Race' ( 138

An anonymous reader writes:During an address to reporters at the G-20 international summit in China, President Obama stated that he'd like to prevent an "arms race" among countries that have various cyber weapons at their disposal. The remarks come after Russian president Vladimir Putin denied having any involvement with the hack of the Democratic National Committee's emails earlier this summer. Obama said that the world is "moving into a new era where a number of countries have significant capacities", before noting that the United States has "more capacity than anybody, both offensively and defensively" when it comes to cyber weapons.
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President Obama Wants To Prevent a Cyber Weapon 'Arms Race'

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  • by bagboy ( 630125 ) <> on Monday September 05, 2016 @03:54PM (#52830575)
    It's called E.M.P.
    • Out of his depth (Score:4, Insightful)

      by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @04:14PM (#52830707)
      The poor guy is a law professor. He is totally out of his depth when talking about any technical matters and he doesn't even know it.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The poor guy is a law professor.

        His official title at the University of Chicago was "senior lecturer" not professor. Not the same thing at all.

      • True. SO true.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Two problems with this:

      1. EMPs are indiscriminate. They take out _everything_ not just specific services/functions. If you deny a countries population basic needs and services ... aka fresh water, that's Total War [] and the other country is going to strike back if they can (and the US, USSR, China and a few other countries have subs with SLBM's that any EMP is not going to touch).

      2. An EMP (currently) requires a nuke and lobbing a nuke over another country escalates things to a whole other level. To being

    • For how long. I hear doomsday Sayers site this EMP bomb causing the end of civilization.
      However Electricity and Magnetics field can be protected from. And such a fable weapon outside the lab environment will not distroy all tech just some of it. And other systems may need a reboot.
      Tactically the EMP would just create a short term disruption in technology allowing the military to invade past radar and preventing communication for at most a few hours.

  • by ctrl-alt-canc ( 977108 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @03:54PM (#52830579)
    "I don't know with what weapons Cyber World War III will be fought, but Cyber World War IV will be fought with abacus and slide rule".
    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      What about "with compasses"?
      (Weird word for me.)

  • So, stop (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XXongo ( 3986865 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @03:59PM (#52830609) Homepage
    If we don't want to be vulnerable to cyber warfare, then maybe we shouldn't race to put every single object in our house and every single piece of our critical infrastructure on the internet, then.

    It will only get worse with robotic self-driving cars and robotic everything else.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      But then how will Silicon Valley spy on every man, woman, and child and funnel the data to the NSA? Won't somebody think of the Tech Sector Espionage Complex?!?!?

    • I know no one will like this, but maybe don't have the internet cross international borders. Make it country by country. Packages can be inspected and stopped and borders, why not packets.

      • China and North Korea are intrigued by your idea, and wish for you to subscribe to their newsletter, comrade.

      • We don't like it for a lot of reasons, including the fact that it would not stop attacks. Getting an agent into the US is trivial.
    • Stop there! Your trying to make logical sense. That can't be allowed anywhere in society.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      NAT everything!

    • Not to mention all those objects are programmed by China.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Maybe the US shouldn't rush to deploy cyber weapons, spurring other countries to do the same.

      Struxnet was the watershed moment when the new cyber cold war started. It showed that as long a you had deniability you could pretty much do what you liked to another country's infrastructure.

  • when he was three days from leaving office. "Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades." []
  • it's already too late and unfortunately the US and other countries are already under attack. Don't believe me? Stuxnet.

  • Its late for that isint it? After deploying cyber weapons against IRAN nuclear program?
  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @04:12PM (#52830695) []

    and the Democrats referred to their recent attacks as "Terrorism"

  • by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @04:15PM (#52830711)

    We must make sure other countries don't attack us, because we've created so many back doors for us to attack ourselves.

    The NSA and their ilk have made us prime targets, and now we rely on begging other countries to not exploit all those vulnerabilities we've created.

    • Do you really think its fair to blame US intelligence services for the backdoors? What you have to remember is they are authorized to basically do whatever they want. If they want a secure login to your phone, they can get it. If someone in the private sector developing software for phones makes that same secure login and then logs in to spy on customers, he can be found and convicted just on the basis that he had the password to get into his own backdoor. However If he "screws up" and makes a vulnerability

      • It makes sense most of the backdoors are coming from this kind of corruption in the private sector, not the government.

        Please explain how the corporate private sector isn't the government. Who did Snowden work for, the government or the private sector? I'm so confused.

  • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @04:16PM (#52830719)
    Well I guess that means now everyone in the world is vulnerable to attacks with those same weapons []
    If the NSA can't even keep their own weapons from being stolen it looks like we are all in for a world of hurt.
  • Putin stated that the DNC attack was not an attack by the state of Russia. Putin said nothing about whether he ordered non-state actors to do the hack, a.k.a. plausible deniability.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Hillary didn't deny hacking the DNC either. OMG she was the mole all along!!!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone take Obama seriously anymore? Certainly none of the leaders at G-20 do.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    am I right? Well, given what the U.S has been doing onto their "allies" for many years, any country today would be nuts to not build up cyber warfare, and in particular be very very wary about the U.S, since again, they have been attacking their "allies" for many years.

  • by ArtemaOne ( 1300025 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @04:25PM (#52830763)
    It's like when he says "guns are bad m'kay" and sales skyrocket. Cyber war/sex/crime is bad!
  • Prevent? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <onyxruby@[ ] ['com' in gap]> on Monday September 05, 2016 @04:26PM (#52830765)

    That train left year ago. He's delusional if he thinks a race is even an option. The US is years behind and isn't even in the running. Hell we've just started to realize this is something we ought to /start/ training professionals for. We've still got people trying to outlaw security tools. [] [] [] [] []

    We're years behind the competition, where professionals have been getting trained and put to work for many years. We're just getting to the point of having courses in hacking, never mind college degree based level training. How the hell are we going to enter a race when only a handful of three letter agencies even have professional hackers in their employ? This isn't the kind of thing your going to call up your local friendly pen-test company for. You can't win a race you refuse to enter.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Just wait until next year: Comey has already promised us another "adult conversation" about encryption following the 2016 election.

      • Just wait until next year: Comey has already promised us another "adult conversation" about encryption following the 2016 election.

        Adult conversation about encryption?

        "You see Jimmy, when Alice and Bob love each other very, very much, Bob sends packets to Alice, and..."

    • The US is years behind and isn't even in the running.

      Stuxnet was really impressive tbh

    • What? We're behind? But we have so many DoD organizations with "cyber" in their name.

      And the heads of those departments make vast sums of money and live in Fairfax, VA with all the other wealthy government leaders.

      How could you suggest we are behind?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    A talented group of individuals with modest funding (compared maintaining a standing military force) can wreck absolute havoc and they can also do it in a why where there's enough plausible deniability to forestall immediate retaliation. If you launch an ICBM at someone, everyone knows it was you and the counter-strike will probably be in the air before your strike lands. If you screw with a countries elections or finances, no one may realize for days, months, years or ever. And even what's they do, what

  • ...and I'm not talking about the streaming service. The cat is already out of the bag; the only question is whether we'll be smiling in front of, or behind, our victims' collective backs.

  • by dromgodis ( 4533247 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @04:35PM (#52830813)
    How about if the US government (and others) spent more of the effort protecting their people instead of spying on them? As in helping its citizens to safe(r) communication and storage through technology, legislation and practices instead of letting them be susceptible to any potential enemy and letting them further into the infrastructure.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 05, 2016 @04:52PM (#52830881)

    The way 'cyber' wars are won is to have proper mechanisms in place such that there aren't security gaps in the first place. The way things are designed today we have significant bloat and in part as a result are incapable of securing our devices. Adding 'security' on top was never the answer and we've done a really terrible job of designing systems from the ground up to be secure. We need to design processors, chipsets, and the like with long-term shelf lifes and the software that runs on these chips with the utmost minimalism and simplicity. By doing so we can spend more time identifying and more easily identify and plug the holes. The systems we utilize should feel more like something from the 1980s and 1990s with a handful of modern enhancements.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just rich military people being retarded. Internet warfare already exists and is going on right now. All these military bozos have to do is not link up everything to the internet. It might be less convenient but it's at least 100% safe from online hacks.

  • In between the built-in backdoors, the work contracted to the lowest bidder, the lack of any professional oversight and the chronic short-termism, I would say that any networked infrastructure is pretty fucked should things go bad.
  • How to prevent a Cyber Weapon Arms Race, then don't use Microsoft Windows on Intel hardware anywhere on your network.
  • So the US is calling for restraint in the creation and use of cyber weapons now that other states and actors have caught up to them. Sounds exactly what had happened with nuclear weapons.

  • It will be very difficult to convince other countries not to invest in cyber weapons for the following reasons:

    1. Cyber weapons, unlike other strategic arms, are a relative bargain. For example, in comparison to nuclear weapons which are both difficult to keep secret and ruinously expensive, cyber weapons are much easier to keep under wraps, much cheaper and potentially more effective under realistic use circumstances.

    2. In a limited asymmetric war, which has become the norm rather than the exception now in

  • Don't put key assets on a common network.

    If you are an individual or business, it's your choice:
    * Accept the costs of not being vulnerable (stay disconnected)
    * Accept the costs of having a recovery plan and implementing it when needed (offline backups, etc.)
    * Accept the costs of NOT having a recovery plan or not being able to implement it (permanent data loss, insolvency, etc.)

    In modern society, the first option isn't an option for most people and most companies.

    Fortunately, the costs don't always have to b

    • > Don't put key assets on a common network% of unaffected .
      > If you are an individual or business, it's your choice:
      > * Accept the costs of not being vulnerable (stay disconnected)
      > In modern society, the first option isn't an option for most people and most companies.

      Ex-bleeping-scuse me, we've got too much stuff connected to the internet, and exposed to take-over, already. Here's "The Killshot Event" scenario...

      It's the middle of January, and the weather forecast is calling

      • Bombs, seriously why bomb something that just needs to be cut? Bomb making material is easy to track. Take an angle grinder to a few high voltage transmission towers. No one would bat an eye at someone buying an battery powered angle grinder and some cutting disks at Home Depot even if they were middle eastern. The clerk would probably think they were Mexican anyway. For fiber just use a shovel, again easy to get a hold of and not suspecious. Also the angle grinder and shovel can be used to take out cell to
  • The first weapons were brute force affairs. DDOS attacks. Whether they were cooperative (4chan had one for while) or the hijack versions that are part of scamware/viruses. There was also the pinpoint attacks of the Iranian Centerfuges. Plus attacks have been ongoing against anyone who handles a credit card. Plus keyloggers, usb stick hijacking, ad site malware, drive by malware, and half a dozen other attacks I can't think of at this moment.

    This new breed of attack are much more selective and directed. I
  • Generally, the ones that ask for a pause in an arms race are the ones that are behind.

  • Cyberwarfare uses weapons launched from anywhere. Untraceable. Unattributable. The cost is much lower than the value of the target(s), and the weapon can be reused.

    In fact, multiple weapons capable of different attacks are being used. And some are unknown to us yet .

    Defenses against these are at best reactionary. That's ineffective. But some effort needs to be made, if only to mitigate damage.

    But we are already at war, military and cyber, assymetrical, with a variety of opponents. Some are opportun

  • Time to build Arsenal gear.

  • We don't want to spend the money we have rightfully collected from our citizens on petty things like protecting them and their internet.

    We want to spend that money on creating wealthy, party-beholden government leaders, and who do you think you are to interfere with that?
  • Obama's concerns are about as out of date as his 1960s policies that were rehashed 1930s failed policies.
    Arms race has been underway since the late 1980s.

New systems generate new problems.