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The Code War Arms Race 74

pacopico writes "A story in Bloomberg Businessweek gives the first in-depth look at a wave of new start-ups selling cyber weaponry. The story describes this as the evolution of the defense industry in response to a wave of brazen attacks against Google, the Pentagon, the IMF and thousands of companies. It's pretty scary stuff, especially considering that these new weapons are not regulated at all."
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The Code War Arms Race

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  • President, we have ascertained the location of the hackers!

    Good, where are they coming from?

    They're hacking in from!

    Excellent! Unleash our counterattack now!

  • Cyber Weaponry? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Really? Good god, slashdot.

    • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @05:53PM (#36852316)

      Really? Good god, slashdot.

      Your cyber disgust has been cyber recorded for further cyber review.

    • FUD stuff. Sounds like Daily Show material to me.

    • Really? Good god, slashdot.

      I KNOW. The description which says

      It's pretty scary stuff, especially considering that these new weapons are not regulated at all


      • Backtrack Linux. They are giving away the entire aresenal - for FREE! Just download it, and you've got ALL THE FREAKING WEAPONS! Mass mayhem, for free, no regulation at all. It must be the endtimes, or some such drivel.

        • Read an interesting book (was reviewed here on slashdot) called Backtrack 4: Assuring Security by Penetration Testing. Look into it, if you need to learn ... or would like to see what the next gen of script kiddies will be using to turn to the dark side.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That the future of cyber warfare is a bunch of script kiddies in military uniforms clicking "Attack" on some shitty VBasic GUI?

  • The difference between hacking and warfare is the former requires out side the box thinking and creativity. Find me a US general with just one of those traits. Army culture is the exact opposite, not a stereotype.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And that is based on what? Your many years watching documentaries on the history channel?

    • Re:The difference (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @07:43PM (#36853330) Journal

      Find me a US general with just one of those traits.

      Arnold (before he turned traitor at the behest of his Tory girlfriend)
      Lee (before he fought for the Confederates - see also the Mexican-American War)
      Roosevelt (Theodore, not Franklin)

      ...the lineup kind of craps out after Korea (esp. w/ Westmoreland), though Schwartzkopf got pretty creative back in 1991 (though to be fair he was facing a pretty crap army).

      Long story short, well... your point doesn't stand.

      /P (who, as a USAF veteran, is wondering why the hell he's defending the frickin' *army*...)

      • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        Considering all of those generals in your list are long dead, I think his point does stand...

      • Petraeus.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by liamoshan ( 1283930 )
        Marine General Paul Van Riper [] showed exactly that sort of creativity, and he was fucked over by Rumsfeld for it

        (forgot to log in, posted this originally as AC)

      • I think you underestimate Schwartzkopf. He forced laser guided missile technology to the fore front. He used it to barrage the enemy with surgical strikes on communication priorities instead of traditional battle line troop bombing. He used the traditional Hun style semi-circle enclosure; but, implemented drop troops to prohibit the enemy from retreating to the better strategic fall back points. And. He did all of this with sociopaths in the white house and media people riding along with his army.

    • You might notice that some of the most successful military actions were based on out of the box thinking. If anything, this is able to catch the enemy by surprise.

      Lately it has been sorely lacking. I have to give you that. And behold the success the US army has against a vastly inferior foe, too...

      • I would think the true measure of a foe is how long they can go without you killing them, in which case the current [insert-"terrorist"-here] are pretty damned superior foes. Technology means shit if it's not implemented correctly and with properly trained people - Just because you're rocking around in a marauder doesn't mean a skinny can't come up behind you and crack your head open with a rock.
    • Re:The difference (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @09:44PM (#36853990) Homepage Journal

      The general may or may not be capable of thinking outside the box - but I guarantee that he has troops who are capable. I was Navy, rather than Army. We spent a lot of time thinking, inside, outside, under and over the box. Of six commanding officers, one was a VERY imaginative person, two more were only slightly less imaginative, and the others were more or less average in that respect. Box thinkers, but capable of following a train of thought that left the boxy station.

      Clue - military people are like civilians, in that everyone is an individual. You can't summarize how military people think - especially if you're not even a military person.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    FTFA, the Endgame company seems like a PMC at this point. They offer strategic intel, attack vectors to any individual or international group willing to pay. But hey, at least they say they won't attack the U.S.!

  • Launch all zig and make hackers hack themself! Set gateway IP to!...

    Wait...why we haz no internetz?

  • Stopped caring at "cyber weaponry".

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The only "Arms Race" is the race to shut down the internet in the name to prevent "Cyber War". The more articles like this posted, the more likely the treasonous congress will pass something to lock even more down right in your face.

    And you know what "Cyber War" is code for? It's code for "Stop! You are getting too close to the truth of the reality of the world".

    "Hacking" in it's purest form is exploring, probing, questioning, thinking, about a solution to a problem.

    The problem is deception, trickery, false

    • "Hacking" in it's purest form is exploring, probing, questioning, thinking, about a solution to a problem.

      Thank you. I've often pointed out at places like CNN and other news forums, that the world's most famous "hackers" include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and LInus Torvalds. Even here, on slashdot, where people should know better, half or more of the idiots assume that hacking is or should be a criminal offense, punishable by death.

  • []
    "Such powerful technologies of abundance, designed, organized, and used from a mindset of scarcity could well ironically doom us all whether through military robots, nukes, plagues, propaganda, or whatever else... Or alternatively, as Bucky Fuller and others have suggested, we could use such technologies to build a world that is abundant and secure for all. "

    Spam is ironic too in this way, with some few destroying email in o

  • The article is pretty scary. I'm not sure the people at these well-funded companies even realize the potential for these tools to be used accidentally to do all sorts of nasty things. Or what is going to happen when script kiddies get a hold of them or they are reverse engineersed, like Stuxnet is a blueprint for worse. It is just insanity. It shows the folly of current US defense posture relying primarily on extrinsic security (defending things by soldiers or hackers) and unilateral security (trying to sca

  • No way this could ever backfire. No sir.
  • They can't get me, officer! I have norton!!!

    • I once wondered what the Norton Scan button really does in the background? I know it ain't scanning for viruses but what is it computing, Pi?
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @08:57PM (#36853792)

    What WOULD render this ineffective: Teaching people how to secure their machines against the threats by exposing them.
    What WILL happen: A crackdown on "hacking tools" with the false idea that without tools there will be no hacking.

    For those that don't know why this is no solution: Try to outlaw them in China, and try to audit your machines for security holes without them.

    • by ka9dgx ( 72702 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @10:21PM (#36854152) Homepage Journal

      I disagree. I trust the users to make intelligent use of the computers they have accounts on. On the other hand, I don't trust programs, nobody should.

      When a program is run, the only limits on its actions are set by the security settings of the system with respect to the account that launched it. These permissions are usually assigned by an administrator, and out of the users control. Default permissive environments are the root cause of our current lack of security. A program gone rogue can do as much damage as a malicious user on their worst day, in the blink of the eye, without even showing any symptoms of trouble.

      The user, and the scanning tools are scapegoats here. Sure, some users make mistakes, and do stupid things, but it is impossible to determine if a non-trivial program can be trusted. Blaming users for failing at an impossible task is foolish, at best. Tools are just tools, to try to help increase transparency in terms of known vulnerabilities.

      The solution is a default deny environment for programs, in which the user gets to decide which, if any, of their resources are given to a particular instance of a program. If it's not in the list, the program doesn't get it, and doesn't even know about it. This lets the user decide what they want to work with, and strongly limits the side effects of a program gone rogue.

      It's not a very hard thing to conceptualize, nor to plan out. The hard thing is the massive amount of investment in our current code base, and mind-set, which need a subtle tweak, and some clever hacks.

      There are positive signs, but I fear it will be another 10-20 years or more before a system which is default deny becomes the more popular choice. That's a lot of time and effort thrown away, that could be better utilized.

      • I mostly agree with you, but here's the thing though: The "ammunition" and "weapons" in a cyber war are security exploits. So, Instead of releasing bug reports and/or patches "Cyber-Warfare" benefits by keeping the exploits secret and unpatched.

        Instead of creating superior weaponry and advancing the state of the art, Cyber Warfare seeks to ensure that the state of the art is retarded. Cyber-Weapons only exist only if we all have unpatched security vulnerabilities.

        Additionally, I run all my programs a

    • So to fix it is for the government to stop insisting on holes for them to peek through and the tools to make sure they, and anyone else with the skills, are not peeking? I believe that stands true in the US/UK/AU ad nausium... too.

  • That Kuang Grade Mark Eleven is a hell of a program...

  • It wasn't enough to have imaginary "property", now we have imaginary "weapons" to defend it with.

    This is just more inane posturing by idiots who have no clue as to what they're talking about. Here's an example: they come after me with their "cyber weapons" and I respond with hardware; say .45 caliber hardware. Care to bet on how that exchange would turn out?

    By now, the concept of vulnerabilities and how they get exploited should be well established. The bad guys don't always wear uniforms or work for a gove

  • Beside the fact that people who break into systems are crackers and not hackers, this military jargon sucks. Today everything is filled with this vocabulary. War on terror. War on drugs. A worm is not a gun or a bomb it is more a digital lock pick. As the Internet is a (meta)medium it allows all scams and tricks which could be done only locally in the past. now they can be done around the globe.

    We should learn that Information is not always true. Not only from governments, but also inside organizations. We

  • "A story in Bloomberg Businessweek gives the first in-depth look at a wave of new start-ups selling cyber weaponry"

    And yet in the opening para we have some guy in a ski mask breaking into some offices. This, another article from the school of bad fiction and total cyberbullshit

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.