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Military Appoints General To Direct Cyber Warfare 132

Posted by timothy
from the barry-corbin-not-available dept.
An anonymous reader writes news from The Guardian, excerpting: "The US military has appointed its first senior general to direct cyber warfare – despite fears that the move marks another stage in the militarisation of cyberspace. The newly promoted four-star general, Keith Alexander, takes charge of the Pentagon's ambitious and controversial new Cyber Command, designed to conduct virtual combat across the world's computer networks. He was appointed on Friday afternoon in a low-key ceremony at Fort Meade, in Maryland."
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Military Appoints General To Direct Cyber Warfare

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  • Qualifications (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dward90 (1813520) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:48AM (#32320028)
    TFA doesn't seem to have any information on how General Alexander might be qualified for this position, and what his command will involve.

    Here's hoping the guy actually knows something about cyber security, and isn't simply the management figure for actual security experts, or he could easily f*ck this up hard.
    • Re:Qualifications (Score:5, Informative)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:01AM (#32320106) Homepage Journal

      The guy's got a Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] if you want to know more. Short version is, he's director of the NSA and it looks like he's spent most of his career in intelligence. He does have Master's degrees in physics and electronic warfare, and well, from his picture he looks like a slightly older version of the typical Slashdotter. ;) So he's probably about the best choice available in the senior ranks; hopefully he's smart enough to listen to the junior personnel under his command who are more likely to know what's actually going on in the hacking world.

      • Re:Qualifications (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:18AM (#32320204)

        You said,

        He does have Master's degrees in physics and electronic warfare, and well, from his picture he looks like a slightly older version of the typical Slashdotter. ;)

        I sure hope this "Cyber Warfare" General knows something about computers, because consultants, and especially computer consultants are very high priced (around half a million dollars a year over-priced [slashdot.org]).

        Richard Feynman seems to portray the definitive experience such a consultant can have with the military:

        After the war, physicists were often asked to go to Washington and give
        advice to various sections of the government, especially the military. What
        happened, I suppose, is that since the scientists had made these bombs that
        were so important, the military felt we were useful for something.
        Once I was asked to serve on a committee which was to evaluate various
        weapons for the army, and I wrote a letter back which explained that I was
        only a theoretical physicist, and I didn't know anything about weapons for
        the army.
        The army responded that they had found in their experience that
        theoretical physicists were very useful to them in making decisions, so
        would I please reconsider?
        I wrote back again and said I didn't really know anything, and doubted
        I could help them.
        Finally I got a letter from the Secretary of the Army, which proposed a
        compromise: I would come to the first meeting, where I could listen and see
        whether I could make a contribution or not. Then I could decide whether I
        should continue.
        I said I would, of course. What else could I do?
        I went down to Washington and the first thing that I went to was a
        cocktail party to meet everybody. There were generals and other important
        characters from the army, and everybody talked. It was pleasant enough.
        One guy in a uniform came to me and told me that the army was glad that
        physicists were advising the military because it had a lot of problems. One
        of the problems was that tanks use up their fuel very quickly and thus can't
        go very far. So the question was how to refuel them as they're going along.
        Now this guy had the idea that, since the physicists can get energy out of
        uranium, could I work out a way in which we could use silicon dioxide --
        sand, dirt -- as a fuel? If that were possible, then all this tank would
        have to do would be to have a little scoop underneath, and as it goes along,
        it would pick up the dirt and use it for fuel! He thought that was a great
        idea, and that all I had to do was to work out the details. That was the
        kind of problem I thought we would be talking about in the meeting the next
        day.
        I went to the meeting and noticed that some guy who had introduced me
        to all the people at the cocktail party was sitting next to me. He was
        apparently some flunky assigned to be at my side at all times. On my other
        side was some super general I had heard of before.
        At the first session of the meeting they talked about some technical
        matters, and I made a few comments. But later on, near the end of the
        meeting, they began to discuss some problem of logistics, about which I knew
        nothing. It had to do with figuring out how much stuff you should have at
        different places at different times. And although I tried to keep my trap
        shut, when you get into a situation like that, where you're sitting around a
        table with all these "important people" discussing

        • Re:Qualifications (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:27AM (#32320254)

          I sure hope this "Cyber Warfare" General knows something about computers, because consultants, and especially computer consultants are very high priced.

          I don't imagine, even if the good General "knows something about computers" that he's going to be spending time running around and making sure everyone's printer working fine.

          I sure how he knows how to organize an outfit.

          • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I don't imagine, even if the good General "knows something about computers" that he's going to be spending time running around and making sure everyone's printer working fine.

            I sure how he knows how to organize an outfit.

            It's obvious that I'm going to have to explain something. I NEVER said ANYTHING about a general doing front line tech support. That is such an ignorant and Trollish statement that I never bothered to comment on it until you got modded plus 5!

          • by RMH101 (636144)
            I am picturing a bomb droppiong towards its target, with "PC LOAD LETTER" chalked on the side of it
          • by owlstead (636356)

            I do think that organizing skills are important too - and probably the most important. But if you don't know anything about your business, you're not fit to make business decisions. I can't imagine how you could prioritize anything if you don't know anything about the subject. I'm very glad our CEO came from within company (after spending some time leading another smaller business in the same market.

      • Re:Qualifications (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tuomoks (246421) <tuomo@descolada.com> on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:25AM (#32320240) Homepage

        Yes, he's qualified! Now - typical government (not just military) "US air force disclosed that some 30,000 of its troops had been re-assigned from technical support "to the frontlines of cyber warfare"" and ".. Pentagon has been more explicit, stating on Friday that Cyber Command will "direct the operations and defence of specified Department of Defense information networks [involving some 90,000 military personnel] and .."". Wow - maybe double the manpower, then the baby will be born in half the time!

        Anyhow, assuming that General Alexander get's enough authority, doubtful!, network security, etc could / might get better. The question is not just "Cyber Warfare", that's a nice sounding term but doesn't really mean much. Often military research has benefitted everyone - we can only hope that it's same in this case!

        • by couchslug (175151)

          ""US air force disclosed that some 30,000 of its troops had been re-assigned from technical support "to the frontlines of cyber warfare"

          Many USAF "computer" weenies are essentially paper-pushers who also do very basic tech support. Career field consolidation and all that.,,

          Waving a magic wand (the same thing as referring to every troop as a "warrior", as if doing your fucking job was somehow unworthy!) and changing a job description is mostly a gesture.

          No insult intended to the folks who do tech support. Th

          • by Fr33thot (1236686)
            1. Much has changed since your last experience including a new career field and tech school. 2. Referring to folks in the military as warriors reflects a major change in how everyone is thought of/used. There is now greater focus on in field readiness. 3. No insult taken, but you should temper your cynicism with some good old up-to-date information every now and then.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MacGyver2210 (1053110)

        Just curious... ...where does one obtain a Masters degree in Electronic Warfare? Can it be obtained with, say, a BS in Computer Science as a foundation?

        • Re:Qualifications (Score:5, Informative)

          by cslax (1215816) on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:59AM (#32320364)
          GWU [gwu.edu]
        • by martin-boundary (547041) on Monday May 24, 2010 @02:42AM (#32320504)

          ...where does one obtain a Masters degree in Electronic Warfare?

          You get one when you beat the high score on Global Thermonuclear War. Would you like to play a nice game of chess?

          • I'd rather play a few hundred thousand games of tic-tac-toe.
          • Actually, there are several dozens of colleges offering Masters of Science in Electronic Warfare and Masters of System Engineering in Electronic Warfare degrees, starting with the Naval Postgraduate School. I might point out that the actual coursework is often at places like Caltech and MIT but under a different (more prosaic) name.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Just curious... ...where does one obtain a Masters degree in Electronic Warfare?

          He obtained his from the Naval Postgraduate School [nps.edu]

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by interkin3tic (1469267)

          Just curious... ...where does one obtain a Masters degree in Electronic Warfare?

          I think if you convince the army you have a masters in electronic warfare, that's a masters in electronic warfare.

          • by Bakkster (1529253)

            I do not think that Electronic Warfare [wikipedia.org] means what you think it means:

            Electronic warfare (EW) refers to any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack an enemy, or impede enemy assaults via the spectrum. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly unimpeded access to, the EM spectrum.

            In other words, radar jamming, at its simplest. It's the analog version of the digital Cyber Warfare that he's now heading up.

            Why appoint him? Probably because nobody has specifically trained for cyber war, at least not in the military. Think of the early days of computer programming: you went for the people with math and physics degrees (Alan Turing, anyone?), because there were few people with Computer Science degrees, since it was b

        • So, to get much past O-3/O-4 in the military you need a masters in something. It doesn't matter what. Luckily, the various services offer correspondence courses so you don't ever have to enter a classroom....
      • by Sulphur (1548251) on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:49AM (#32320346)

        Am I the only one who read **** general as a regular expression?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by DrugCheese (266151)

        What from his picture makes him look like a slashdotter? His hair is trimmed, his face is shaven and his smile seems to suggest he's been laid within 25 years.

    • Re:Qualifications (Score:4, Interesting)

      by identity0 (77976) on Monday May 24, 2010 @02:45AM (#32320520) Journal

      Why should he? It's not like we expect generals to fight in the trenches and shoot the enemy, why should a gerneral be expected to work exploits and hack code? Isn't a general's job by definition managing others who are experts in the field?

      A serious question, can someone provide examples in industry of good leaders who were so because they knew the details, or who were bad because they didn't?

      • This might be an odd or even newb question: What gaggle of troops will this general lead? How much personnel do you actually need assuming you have USA's defense budget backing you up?

    • Re:Qualifications (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Stargoat (658863) <stargoat@gmail.com> on Monday May 24, 2010 @03:57AM (#32320836) Journal

      I don't know that this could get f*cked up. It's operating out of Fort Meade, so it's basically operating in NSA territory. It's mandate is already being filled by the NSA, assuming that the CyberCommand cannot operate on US territory. (That should be assured, as the fellow is a general. But it no longer is; probably never was.)

      What I don't get is - how is this not the NSA?

      • by Glonoinha (587375)

        The guy has been the Director of the NSA for half a decade and now he is running this new program - and you are asking how this is not the NSA?
        It's too early for me to be snarky, but ... ummm ... yea.

      • How is this not NSA (Score:5, Interesting)

        by qbzzt (11136) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:35AM (#32321664)

        The NSA is an intelligence agency, I assume this means their primary purpose is to collect information. They might hack into a computer, but that would be to the purpose of obtaining information. The military is supposed to conduct offensive operations. Things like breaking into computers running dams or the electric grid to disable them. Psychological warfare by breaking into Web sites and changing what they show. Spreading disinformation into enemy communication channels.

        Basically, this is probably about doing low level nasty things when the situation doesn't call for an all out shooting war, and making sure an enemy can't trust his networked computer systems in case of an all out war. I'm pretty sure the US isn't the only one doing this.

        • by Bakkster (1529253)

          Basically, this is probably about doing low level nasty things when the situation doesn't call for an all out shooting war, and making sure an enemy can't trust his networked computer systems in case of an all out war. I'm pretty sure the US isn't the only one doing this.

          And, equally or more importantly, defending the US from attack. How exactly they might do so is another matter, but the defense and disruption is equally important as the offensive capabilities.

          As such, I can almost guarantee that they will be operating on US soil, similarly to how infantry divisions would be expected to should there be a physical invasion of US soil.

          To the GP, Fort Meade is more than just the NSA headquarters. It's a significant portion, but not the entirity of operations. Parent is r

          • by qbzzt (11136)

            And, equally or more importantly, defending the US from attack. How exactly they might do so is another matter, but the defense and disruption is equally important as the offensive capabilities.

            True, but I doubt they'll be able to add anything to the defensive capabilities. The targets aren't owned by the federal government for the most part. Because attacks can happen very quickly, it is necessary to protect the targets before they happen. Hacking is more like a terrorist attack than an invasion by a large

            • by Bakkster (1529253)

              True, but I doubt they'll be able to add anything to the defensive capabilities.

              Perhaps not, or maybe just not yet. In any case, it's certainly one of the primary goals, even if it ends up impossible.

              That said, I expect this will end up more of a system-wide defence (similar to a beach head or AA-batteries), rather than trying to reinforce individual corporations.

        • The US is NOT the only one doing this. I have been reading stories that the Chinese and North Koreans are already doing some of these things at a low level (probably to see if they can). There is most definitely a need for this division in the military. I wish it well. Our enemies are hiring crackers right and left to do their government's dirty work. Maybe that would save the military some money. Hire crackers who get busted and put them to work in lieu of jail time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tetsujin (103070)

      TFA doesn't seem to have any information on how General Alexander might be qualified for this position

      He's very experienced and diligent in issuing "A/S/L?" queries.

    • by Stregano (1285764)
      In other news, General Keith Alexander gets his facebook, myspace, personal homepage, paypal account, ebay account, and bank account hacked and then decides to put up a sexy ad for himself on his local Craigslist.
  • Hmm, (Score:1, Troll)

    The creation of America's most senior cyber warrior comes just days after the US air force disclosed that some 30,000 of its troops had been re-assigned from technical support "to the frontlines of cyber warfare".

    Whoa, boy. You'd better be skeered. Most of the comm squad monkeys I knew never even touched computers before tech school.

    The complex issues facing Cyber Command were thrown into relief earlier this year when the Washington Post revealed details of a so-called "dot-mil" operation by Fort Meade's

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Damn. I'm out of mod points.

      Quite right:

      "Finally, if your AFSC doesn't begin with "2A", you are a weenie. Bonus points for 2A0XX, 2A3XX, and 2A5XX."

  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:53AM (#32320068)

    I guess someone has never heard of DARPA.

    http://www.darpa.mil/ [darpa.mil]

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by thestudio_bob (894258)
      or cybernet
    • by caladine (1290184) on Monday May 24, 2010 @02:27AM (#32320462)
      Besides DARPA, the very idea of "despite fears that the move marks another stage in the militarisation of cyberspace" assumes that other countries haven't already taken this step, just not quite as publicly. In my mind, it just means that the US government is actually taking a serious threat... seriously.
      • by Bakkster (1529253)

        To be fair, publicly appointing a general in charge of it IS a milestone, even though other nations have almost certainly made similar appointments. Similarly, the Trinity explosion was still a large milestone in the nuclear age, even though we had been researching and developing such a weapon (in secret) for years.

  • by optikos (1187213) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:58AM (#32320094)
    What goes around comes around. The ARPAnet was military. Now perhaps it may become so once again. (With apologies to Ash Wednesday in the Catholic Church for the subject line.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 1s44c (552956)

      The Internet is a network of networks of computers. It's not a military playground, and just because DARPA were involved in the creation of it doesn't make it American property.

      Anything of critical importance such as military kit, medical kit, power, gas, and water infrastructure should not be on the Internet at all.

      • by dontbgay (682790)
        DARPA wasn't just INVOLVED in it's creation. I think you're missing the point though. If some other country with less "visibility" routes resources and creates a program for internet-based attacks, they don't have to be so forthcoming. If the US Government routes funding that's not in a "black" op and create a new Cyber Warfare Division without announcing it, someone SOMEWHERE is going to whip out an "OH NOES!!! SNEAKY BLACK PROJECT!!!" and it'll look like one. This way, they're out in the open.

        I agree wit
      • by qbzzt (11136)

        Anything of critical importance such as military kit, medical kit, power, gas, and water infrastructure should not be on the Internet at all.

        You're right. It shouldn't. It should use its own infrastructure, not connected to the Internet or the telephony network. Except for two problems:

        1. Any custom network is going to be smaller and have less redundancies. There might be a failsafe to revert to a VPN, in case the dedicated network is down. Which it might be, in the case of war, due to either electronic war

      • by Fr33thot (1236686)
        Technically the militarization of the Internet began in the '70s: "in July 1975, the network had been turned over to the Defense Communications Agency, also part of the Department of Defense." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet#ARPANET_to_several_federal_wide_area_networks:_MILNET.2C_NSI.2C_and_NSFNet). Also technically nobody CAN own the Internet. Finally, everyone has a right to defend their part of the network. If you think it hasn't been militarized until now then you should go ba
      • by idontgno (624372)
        If you chose to connect your network to a pre-existing military network, that's your mistake.
  • If the military used the Internet initially to store all their private information, but are getting cyberattacks now that the internet is public, why doesn't the military make Internet 2.0 where public citizens cannot get on. If they were in an Internet 2.0 that was impossible to get on from China, wouldn't that mean most hacks would stop?
    • by TheMiddleRoad (1153113) on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:14AM (#32320182)

      Yes, the military can (and probably does already) have their own network. However, damage will be done to our country via the regular internet. Imagine if, one day, all the bank accounts in the country went to millions of dollars or to zero? The military is, hopefully, going to take care of those kinds of scenarios. We need a central command to handle such attacks.

      • by 1s44c (552956)

        Yes, the military can (and probably does already) have their own network. However, damage will be done to our country via the regular internet. Imagine if, one day, all the bank accounts in the country went to millions of dollars or to zero? The military is, hopefully, going to take care of those kinds of scenarios. We need a central command to handle such attacks.

        Take care of that how? By random napalm attacks against anyone who looks a bit shifty? What country will you attack when an independent group screws with a bank?

        A security guy at the bank should take care of their security, if he fails the guy that wrote and tested the backup tapes should take care of it. There is no need for warmongering.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JackieBrown (987087)

          Take care of that how? By random napalm attacks against anyone who looks a bit shifty? ... There is no need for warmongering.

          You have a very limited understanding of what the US military does if you think it exists soley for wars.

          • You have a very limited understanding of the US constitution if you think the military is supposed to exist during peacetime.
            • U.S. Constitution - Article 1 Section 8

              The Congress shall have Power...

              To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

              To provide and maintain a Navy;

              Does not specify 'only in times of war.'

        • What country will you attack when an independent group screws with a bank?

          Under international law, the country which allowed the independent group to operate out of its territory. If the country isn't capable of policing its own territory, we have the right to defend ourselves by policing it ourselves. Otherwise, it would be too easy for governments to shrug and say "we didn't do it, it's not our fault that those terrorists happen to have stolen military supplies from our base, and recruited people who used

        • Take care of that how? By random napalm attacks against anyone who looks a bit shifty?

          Yep, that's what they did to help Haiti after the earthquake, napalmed any ground that "looked a bit shifty". Hasn't been a major Earthquake in Haiti since. Mission Accomplished.

          If you pay attention to the world around every now and then you'll notice the military can be and is used for a variety of purposes beyond killing people

        • Take care of it through their own security efforts including going to rogue servers and unplugging the damn things.

          And is that bank in charge of security when another nation's troops invade? No, of course not. The same should be said for cyber-security. Frankly, the cyber-security levels of our nation are pretty low. Laws need to catch up, and the government needs to help make it happen. I look forward to the day when all LAN connections are automatically encrypted end to end, not relying on some crapp

    • by dov_0 (1438253)
      The general public mostly interacts with the www only. The www is only a part of the internet.
    • It is far more complicated than a simple who is allowed and who isn't.

      Looking simply at network structure, there is much data that cannot be accessed out of what we call a "closed network" system. Furthermore the Military, correct me anyone if I am wrong, uses a security clearance levels for access to both hardware and internal network resources. "Cyberattacks", as they may be referred to, come in the form of systems that may have been compromised from the inside, or perhaps a denial of service attacks

      • In our SECRET-level avionics shop, we had to use an access code for entry and we had to account for all of our classified T.O.'s and disk drives at the end of every shift, but our terminals for ordering parts and entering maintenance data were on unclassified T1 connections.

        We had to use the STU-III [wikipedia.org] secure modem to receive the sekrit stuff over the wire.
        • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

          And that's all because a very small subset of information was actually classified SECRET. CAMS shouldn't have anything classified on it (and in fact, in SandLand we did CAMS via satalite Intranet). But certain parts and passages of your T.O. did. Along those lines, your DCS had removable drives that were marked SECRET because, via the STU-III, it contained (roughly) the same secrets in your T.O.s. And your DCS never touched a network that didn't come in via that STU-III (although I was able to get ours

    • They have that (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday May 24, 2010 @02:16AM (#32320430)

      It's called SIPRNet. There are others too, JWICS, NSANet, and so on. They are internets (small i) in every way. However, they don't interact with the public Internet (big I). It is how they keep classified data separate. It seems to work quite well. At the very least there's never been a break in to them that has been revealed.

      However, that doesn't mean there's nothing of importance on the Internet. It's not all just geeks chattering and LOLcat pictures. For example ATMs operate on the Internet these days. Heavily encrypted to be sure, but still. Companies make use of it for important business reasons. There are probably control systems for infrastructure on the net, and so on.

      So, the government has an interest in making sure it work well. That would include being able to deal with a cyber attack. After all, protecting classified data does little good if the the infrastructure of the US is taken out. The government itself is only useful in so much as it can govern and protect the country.

      Reasons like this are why things like AES exist. When the NSA was started, it was just a signals intelligence agency. Intercept communications, break codes, etc. While that's still a massive part of what they do, they were also instructed to work on securing the nation's computers. That was what lead to things like DES and AES. The government wanted businesses to have good crypto. Seems like they are serious too, AES has been analyzed for years, and remains extremely strong.

      Same kind of shit here. They want to figure out how to protect important things on the regular Internet from attack. They are also probalby interested in counter attack capability. After all, other countries rely on the Internet too. Could be very useful in warfare.

      Good defense starts with having lots and lots of contingency plans.

      • by Bakkster (1529253)

        It's called SIPRNet. There are others too, JWICS, NSANet, and so on. They are internets (small i) in every way. However, they don't interact with the public Internet (big I). It is how they keep classified data separate. It seems to work quite well. At the very least there's never been a break in to them that has been revealed.

        Yup [wikipedia.org].

        However, that doesn't mean there's nothing of importance on the Internet. It's not all just geeks chattering and LOLcat pictures. For example ATMs operate on the Internet these days. Heavily encrypted to be sure, but still. Companies make use of it for important business reasons. There are probably control systems for infrastructure on the net, and so on.

        So, the government has an interest in making sure it work well. That would include being able to deal with a cyber attack. After all, protecting classified data does little good if the the infrastructure of the US is taken out. The government itself is only useful in so much as it can govern and protect the country.

        Agreed. Have people forgotten how important naval blockades on commerce (much of it in the private sector) have been in nearly every naval war? Or how important disruption of supply, information, and production lines is? How crippled would our economy (or that of any other industrialized nation) be if there were a disruption to their automated supply systems? Whether it's a man or machine, a business or an individual ordering parts, they're almost certainly doing so via the internet. To need to go

  • Right now, it doesn't matter. He apparently knows how to use people who know more than he does. To me he proved that when he took out the honeytrap site (stupid move, but whatever).

    From TFA:

    The difficulties facing the new command were underlined in March by former CIA director Michael V Hayden, who said that the Saudi operation had demonstrated that cyber warfare techniques were evolving so rapidly that they were now outpacing the government's ability to develop coherent policies to guide its use.

    "Cyber was moving so fast that we were always in danger of building up precedent before we built up policy," Hayden said.

    This is the key point. Unfortunately the Federal government is SUPPOSED to move slow. The unfortunate part of that is something like cyberwarfare will always outstrip even the ability of a state government (with the assumption being that state government is meant to move quicker to respond directly to the needs of it's people) to make policy governing its use.

    Soooooo....*shrugs*

    I'm kind of torn on this. Let the government grind slowly away at policy like it should, or enable them to make snap, on-the-fly decisions with far-reaching ramifications. No matter what you choose, it's the wrong answer.

    • by nten (709128) on Monday May 24, 2010 @08:25AM (#32321890)

      I've been reading "cyberwar" by Richard Clark. He didn't have anything bad to say about the guy in the story, except that he was the only person willing to take a (pretty much identical) position, that Clark had himself vacated. According to the book the US is actually very very good at cyber attack. But he also says that businesses, he specifically calls out Microsoft, have lobbied extensively, not just to have the government look the other way from their bugs, and keep using their software, but to not regulate security for private business. DHS protects .gov, this cyber thingy protects .mil. No one protects .com and .org. None of the companies want to have security regulations placed on them (including power grid, and financial systems), and neither the previous administration or this one wants to force them. I'm generally against regulation and consider it a bad thing (tm), (its like my department noting they are going to hire more managers, again), but he does make a compelling case. The guys (apparently a very small group) he spoke with at blackhat apparently were persuaded as well, though they (and he) are worried about what sort of oversight is needed, to prevent privacy and worse abuses. Its all well and good to force ISPs to disconnect people detected to be part of botnets until they get their machine cleaned, but false positives that correlate strangely with unpopular opinions on the websites is a truly frightening idea. On the other side, who can argue that FDIC insured banks don't have an obligation to keep the insured money safe per the guidelines of the insurer?

      • I consider myself fairly intelligent but I'm trying to figure out what you are trying to say.

        At one point you are saying this guy is the one for the job.

        But then you seem to be saying there shouldn't be that job.

        And then you go off on some (seemingly, though not necessarily) unrelated tangent.

        My concern is about government guidelines regarding cyber-warfare, not our ability to wage it effectively, to protect our privacy and liberties. Only your last three or four sentences really directly pertain to what I

      • by jeff4747 (256583)

        I've been reading "cyberwar" by Richard Clark.

        Yeah, you can put that book down. Clark doesn't know what he's talking about. He has fanciful ideas such as a souped-up virus scanner can protect a network.

  • by outsider007 (115534) on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:30AM (#32320268)

    All that goldfarming has to stop.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Chinese are sending zerglings! Mass up some marines and counter-attack!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:39AM (#32320314)

    Should his last name be Connor?

  • I am the very model of a modern Cyber General
    I've information secretive and knowledge technological
    I know my way around the tubes and quote the cryptological
    From Adi, Bruce and Len to Ron in order alphabetical!

  • A story a couple of months back about US Cyber War said they were no good at it and would lose. I'm hoping my brain implant is from aliens instead of the States or that's probably not true. It's very sophisticated

    Look for these things around 2015 or so if this is a field-test. If it's aliens, I think we're gonna have 2012

  • "...despite fears that the move marks another stage in the militarisation of cyberspace." Isn't that totally a tautology? "The military using the internet marks another stage in the militarization of cyberspace! Egad!" Um, duh. I'd be more concerned with the consequences of militarizing cyberspace, than with the fact that cyberspace is being militarized.
    • That's nothing when you consider who developed the technology in the first place, it has been militarized from the very start!

      • by 1s44c (552956)

        That's nothing when you consider who developed the technology in the first place, it has been militarized from the very start!

        It's not a military project any more. There is no reason to go backwards.

  • For some reason, reading the post, I got a mental picture of a pimple-faced, gangly teenager, in a green dress-uniform that is about 6 sizes too big for him. He's swimming in it, looks awkward, and the only thing he's wearing that fits is his black horn-rimmed glasses, complete with the ad-hoc masking-tape bridge repair above his nose. This man, with his comically oversized uniform, is going to be in charge of protecting us from cyberterrorists, cybercriminals, cyberdecipticons, cyberrabidpitbullswithaids
    • by gtall (79522)

      Yes, your assessment is quite correct. It is well known that one can judge the measure of a man simply by looking him. Thank you for validating that cornerstone of human behavior.

  • ...against spammers.

    On the other hand, maybe the military's of the world will get busy enough with the battles in cyberspace that they do less damage in the real world.

    I'm sure virtual PTSD is easier to deal with.

    What could happen in cyberspace that can't be solved by turning off the machines?

  • cyber warfare refers to the use of internet to attack someone with computer virus or to acces computer security to steal commercial info to sell it to competitors, the cat and the mouse are out there . Canon SD3500IS [canonsd3500is.net]
  • The OP mentioned "the militarisation of cyberspace". Gee, didn't cyberspace BEGIN in the military?

  • Don't they understand there are industrial-strength nerds running all these Internet backbones? Just have a phone conference and start shutting stuff off. Ports, messages with certain content. Particular computers that are sending that content. They're probably way ahead of the military already.

  • WE SALUTE YOU!
  • Matthew 7:5 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Max_W (812974) on Monday May 24, 2010 @10:20AM (#32323028)

    "Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye."

    The good old US of A is the leading spam generating country by May 24, 2010: http://www.spamhaus.org/statistics/countries.lasso [spamhaus.org] . It's got on the first place spam-wise in the world.

    As far as I know the US army cannot act on the territory of the United States. But the spam is destroying our businesses. Colleagues have to spend a lot of time to deal with spam. Even filters do not help anymore.

    It it the police, not army, who has to deal with cyber criminals. And also there is a role for Interpol and ITU.

  • controversial new Cyber Command

    Skynet sound familiar to anyone?

  • ... to evaluate what threats there are to Amerca's infrastructure via the Internet, and what is involved to counteract that.

    A lot of that may involve encouraging other parties to "pull finger", as some of the necessary policies and law changes would be outside his scope.

    In World War II the RAF was responsible to defend Great Britain from German Bombers, but civilians had to play their part by complying with blackout regulations. Also many other facets of government had to be involved.

    So to with Cyber Secur

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