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Why The US Will Lose a Cyber War 244

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-enough-code-red dept.
An anonymous reader writes "There's not another nation in the world that can wage kinetic warfare as effectively as the United States, and that's probably at the heart of the reason why the United States will lose a war fought in cyberspace, leading cyber security analyst Jeffrey Carr writes."
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Why The US Will Lose a Cyber War

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  • I've written about cyber warfare before and made some insightful points.

    The bottom line is this: We *CAN* win at cyber war but what we must do is ensure our warriors are comfortable and well nourished as they enter the battlefield. When a warrior is scheduled to go online, make sure they get a well balanced meal the night before. Lower carbohydrates and plenty of protein, preferably from vegan sources. For breakfast a high protein meal is a must, perhaps with some fair trade coffee lightened with a hint of organic soy milk. Some vitamin B complex and Omega 6 fatty acids will also help the brain stay alert during his mission.

    That's the nourishment side. Now to comfort.

    Low level, indirect lighting. High contrast, high refresh monitors at a distance that helps reduce the amount of EMR the soldier absorbs. Comfortable Pro Shiatsu massage chairs to keep the blood from pooling up in the back and torso.

    On of the most important things is the soldiers' nervous system care. If they are to be sitting at a computer all day long, they *must* have proper care both before and after their missions. I'd recommend an on-staff Chiropractor to break out the micro-subluxations that will inevitably form during the hours sitting in a chair. Even a good massage chair will let some develop, but they won't be serious if attended to within reasonable time. The last thing we want is a great cyber warrior crippled by subluxation (or worse, given cancer or heart disease by one) Chiropractic is by far the cheapest method of this. That's why we are petitioning the Veterans' Association to bring us on board in their long term care facilities. We can extend their lives and make the duration better quality.

    Take care,
    Bob
    • That one was actually kind of funny.

    • thank you, for posting this. i feel like my life has changed after reading it. so beautiful, so simple, so sincere.

    • by Denogh (2024280)
      I'm not really sure why you keep at it, Bob. These folks on /. are far to enamored with their germ theory of disease, and their scientific method, and their actual evidence that science based medicine lengthens lives and cures (or mitigates) diseases and their double blind studies and all the other things that are on their side.

      Of course, you and I know the truth. All these polio-free children running around today are the beneficiaries of chiropractic. Likewise, all the smallpox-free children, Diphthe
    • by shugah (881805)
      What's your opinion on tinfoil hats?
    • by Hylandr (813770)

      What do you think this is? The Air Force?

      - Dan.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @11:35AM (#37044634) Homepage

      The military have used EMF proof glass in their LCD monitors at the Pentagon and Chaney Mountain for years. Your research is based on old information and technology.

      Today the Cyber Soldier is housed in a gel immersion tank to simulate a weightless environment and has an array of no fewer that 4 projectors creating a 180 degree display. These projectors use 4 DLP chips designed for military use to eliminate any possible EMF or side band splatter making our Cyber Army nearly immune to any attack. Couple this with the light yellow tinted Revision Cybertactics Protective eyeware it eliminates strain and increases coordination by at least 27.685% over traditional outdated tactics like you talk about. The wavlet generator in the gel does sub-dermal massage to increase their comfort and the air permeable gel allows a constant air flow to keep them at a perfectly comfortable temperature.

      Also The Government has been testing on the ground troops the effectiveness of special energy drinks designed for this task Codename RIP-IT with some light Civilian testing as well to make sure the psychotropic side effects are controllable This creates a perfect nourshment system that gives them high carb energy drinks for morning after their high protien slurry feeding. Although some of them prefer the bar form instead of the slurry. All of this makes each soldier able to fight on the Cyber Warfront for at least 9 hours at a time. More dedicated soldiers accept the colostomy bag and urine tube to stay in the fight for days at a time. WE are working on better solutions for waste evacuation that are more comfortable for the soldier, NASA claims to have a solid waste sucker that only causes pinching discomfort for about 6 seconds while it extracts the waste.

      This has created a unstoppable force with one exception. the test unit of 12 team members were highly effective until their DSL connection at the pentagon was DDOS attacked. The Government is asking for Congressional funding to get more DSL lines installed but the current Tea-Party members are claiming that it is an un-needed expense.

  • by zget (2395308) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @09:38AM (#37043352)
    Large empires have always fallen when new technologies have arisen. They allow someone else to take the new number one place. China is extremely viable candidate for this, even without the whole cyberwar thing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      China has their own problems. For one they are tied to the U.S. financially. They are in the hopes that we will repay all that debt.

      Cyberspace has that odd dependency that we call real-life. Drop the connection and the servers and cyberspace disappears... Question becomes who is willing to do that.

      Cyber warfare is not the next battle ground. At best it is the next street fight. Yeah China or some country may break into some company or government computer, but hell we have 16 year old doing that as well. We

    • I'm afraid the empire has simply switched horses. Some decades of (fake) communism and the mirage of the west have had some effect. Who sells his kidney for an ipad, after all?

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @09:38AM (#37043356)

    The problem with defending the U.S. in a cyber attack is that there are so many targets and its economy has become so utterly and completely dependent on the internet and its computer systems. They're a very easy target because there are so MANY targets to hit there. Now, contrast that with a place like North Korea, which has almost no internet infrastructure and whose ragged economy probably wouldn't take a hit if every computer in the country exploded tomorrow. That's asymetric warfare taken to the nth degree. North Korea in that situation basically CAN'T loose a cyber war against the U.S. The worst that could happen is that the U.S. would stop their attack. And with enough attacks, one is bound to connect. And even one successful attack on an important sector or piece of infrastructure could produce chaos in the U.S.'s very large and powerful house of cards.

    In comparison, what has North Korea got to lose? Their few power plants are running on 50's tech. Most of the country lives in abject poverty with no electricity (much less internet access). They're like Battlestar Galactica, a ship with such old technology that a computer virus doesn't even phase them. How the hell is the U.S. going to fight a cyber war against them and NOT lose?

    Now, that's an extreme example. China, Russia, Iran, et. al. are a little more dependent on their network/computer infrastructure than North Korea. But NO ONE (outside of the first world, certainly) is as dependent on their IT infrastructure as the U.S. That's a real vulnerability that's almost impossible to plug.

    • by dokc (1562391)

      They're like Battlestar Galactica, a ship with such old technology that a computer virus doesn't even phase them.

      Err... Battlestar Galactica survived and eventually won the war against Cylons. And the technology was not so old, they just switched the network off.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        They didn't win, they hid from them and hid all their take from them so they just couldn't be found.

        The Cylons weren't wiped out, just no longer essentially immortal. They can still produce new Cylons in the same old mechanical way they used to before the original 5 met them.

        In BSG, humans clearly lost the war, even 150k years later, humans had not advanced to the point of being a threat to the Cylons (yet) again, and still only populated one planet with a joke for space travel compared to the old colonies

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        So Floppies and USB sticks became a highly valuable commodity.

        Sneakernet FTW!

    • by zget (2395308)
      North Korea does have internet infrastructure. They started using their block of 1024 ip addresses last year. It was assigned to them before, but late 2010 companies in the capital started using it. They also have good internal "internet" infrastructure.
      • by zget (2395308)
        Just to clarify the internal infrastructure. They started building their own network in 2000 which now connects all the universities, libraries, companies and even cybercafes where people casually hangout. Remember that internet to home isn't that common elsewhere in Asia either - most population go to cybercafes to check their email, play games or just surf the internet. It's really cheap too, and they stock beer and other drinks for customers.

        Most people stupidly seem to assume that North Korea is techn
        • by BitZtream (692029)

          Most people stupidly seem to assume that North Korea is technologically somewhere in the beginning of 1900. They are not.

          No, but 60s or 70s is probably a pretty accurate description of their technology level for most of the population in North Korea. They may have some people that can use a network, but the general population is lucky to have electricity, even living on the outskirts of the capital and some of the capitals 'skyscrapers' are electricity optional. So its not the 1900s ... but its pretty fucking close from a practical perspective.

          • by elrous0 (869638) *

            If you compare U.S. power generation to North Korea's, it's more telling. NK has about 1/13th the population of the United States. The U.S. generates about 4000 TwH of electricity each year. If you adjust for population, NK would have to generate about 308 TwH a year to be comparable to the U.S. In actuality, they generate about 17 TwH. So they generate about 1/18th the electricity per person as in the U.S. Not a lot of room there for modern living.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Then you had better go update the Wikipedia article on the subject [wikipedia.org]. Obviously the editors at Wikipedia don't appreciate glorious reforms that Glorious Leader has made of late. Typical western imperialists!

    • by Jaime2 (824950)
      Which is why, if the US is blatently attacked, they will respond with troops and bombs instead of cyber retaliation. That's one of the points of making the Internet a 5th domain. I would envision a typical response to be either cutting off the Internet connections from an attacking country (by physically destroying the cables with air strikes), or pinpointing the location of the attackers and turning them into red mist.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Which is why, if the US is blatently attacked, they will respond with troops and bombs instead of cyber retaliation.

        Cyber attack is already a routine reality; it's not some kind of looming futuristic threat. And yet the troops aren't being deployed and the bombs not being dropped, because no one knows how to do that and where to bomb.

        I would envision a typical response to be either cutting off the Internet connections from an attacking country (by physically destroying the cables with air strikes)

        This coun

        • by dkf (304284)

          This countermeasure definitely isn't viable, because the main mode of cyber attack is insurgency. The first step of cyber attack is to have your adversary attack itself. The US isn't going to cut off access to itself. Indeed, persuading the US to do that, could in fact be the very goal of the attacker, so your suggested defense is in fact surrender.

          You've got to distinguish between pulling the plug on the external internet (i.e., international links) which would be annoying but not fatal, especially if temporary, and pulling the plug on internal internet (i.e., what you seem to be thinking of). Losing connectivity with China for a few days would hardly be the end of the world, would it? Moreover, you don't have to kill all the links; pushing things so that congestion chokes the rest will do just fine and once the attack rate is reduced, it's quite pos

      • I would envision a typical response to be either cutting off the Internet connections from an attacking country (by physically destroying the cables with air strikes), or pinpointing the location of the attackers and turning them into red mist.

        Well, since the attackers would be a BotNet of compromised XP PCs located all over the US mainland, I don't think that would be effective. But I could certainly see some bonehead launching cruse missiles, then wondering why they appear to be circling back to base.

    • China infrastructure is on the cheap with safety not that good all over the place. Look at the China high speed rail crash and after that they where very quick to bury the train cars.

      Maybe they can hack a us nuke plan and likely at most trigger any number of auto shut downs / safety's but there own plans are likely lacking the same auto shut downs.

    • by decora (1710862) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:06AM (#37043670) Journal

      they shut down the power grids, by twiddling some bits in a computer, and laughing about grannies who would be without power.

      of course they got away with it, because they were well connected politically and ideologically to the 'free market uber alles' people.

      you could also argue the financial crisis of 2008 was a cyber attack on the part of the bankers, hedge fund managers, ratings agencies, insurance companies, and government regulators who all colluded to create massive fraud of the Synthetic CDO "industry", which wiped out vast mountains of money ... all using little numbers in computers, swishing things to the Cayman Islands and so forth.

    • A cyber war is a war that No one will win as well...
      A normal war while can have some that there isn't a declared winner or looser. But there are also wars where there is a Winner and a Looser. A cyber war will go on and on. Sure US will get hit the hardest and fastest, then they will just rebuild from the backups and make better security and retaliate and back and forth...
      There are no real people dying directly, so the war will just keep going and going. Until all sided are dried up. Or until one side ha

    • by couchslug (175151)

      We need MORE cyber attacks to coerce immunity. Ideally, they would be destructive.

      People will not implement security unless and until they are inconvenienced more by the attack than by security measures.

      We need malware and attacks that break shit.

      There is a reason humans can eat all sorts of vile stuff and survive in primitive conditions (like South Carolina). It's because we built immunity through natural selection.

  • sigh (Score:5, Funny)

    by hypergreatthing (254983) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @09:41AM (#37043392)

    no such thing as a cyber war. If i were to guess, it would be koreans who win a cyber war because they're pros are starcraft. The US might be able to win at halo though, so it would be some sort of give and take.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      no such thing as a cyber war...

      I used to believe that, but not any longer. And if you still struggle to believe in this, then I challenge YOU to go without any form of electronic communication for one week. Let's see how you, as an individual, fares without email, internet, or even a cell phone. You'll likely find yourself at "war" with yourself after a few days.

      Going to school? Good luck enrolling in classes or communicating with teachers.

      Looking for a job? Gonna be kind of hard to do that today on foot, sans any type of electronic

      • ohh so inform me how a foreign country is going to shut down all communication. I would love to hear that. Last i checked, there's phone and radio as backup to loss of the internet. Backbone routers go down every day, rerouting occurs and their fixed. What you're suggesting is that everyone in the US gets DDOSed all at once? I somehow doubt you realize how the internet works. How there are all private networks that interconnect at multiple different places, that if a private network goes down it doesn'

        • by Svartalf (2997)

          Heh...

          Phone: Driven by the same infrastructure that the Internet is on. It's got vulnerable attack surfaces with the SCADA systems that power the HVAC that keeps the switches cooled. It's got vulnerable attack surfaces with the security stuff around it. If you think it's all air-gapped from the Internet, you'd be mistaken. Phone'll be as toast as the rest.

          Radio: Talk about degradation of things. Sure, you can communicate with radio. Problem is, all the SCADA systems, phone systems, etc. that would get

          • by cforciea (1926392)
            Really, your attack vector on phones is turning off the AC so that the switches run a little hot and have a few percentage points higher of a failure rate? I'm not sure if that's more or less funny than the concept of an explode button on the scada interface for key pieces of our electric infrastructure.

            I'm not saying that somebody can't do damage to us via internet connectivity, but I think you've watching Live Free or Die Hard a few too many times or something.
        • by plover (150551) *

          Your personal ability to surf the web and register for classes is probably not the primary target of a cyberwar opponent. Taking down an ISP or two and preventing home internet services for a week would be a show that might get mentioned on the evening news, but would not really damage our economy. The GP posted some poor examples, and you fell for his trolling.

          Real cyberwar would likely be attacks taking place on targets anywhere in our infrastructure. Perhaps the attackers could disrupt the cellular ne

      • by Jaysyn (203771)

        I'll bet if you asked the majority of your friends, they would give up a car before they would give up a cell phone or internet access

        Most of my friends don't work at home so no, you are way, way off. Also, I personally know people that get along just fine without either a cell phone or constant Internet access.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Going to school? Good luck enrolling in classes or communicating with teachers.

        I happened to do just that the other day with a friend who was registering their child ... you walk into the office, fill out a couple forms, sign them, give over proof of prior education and go home.

        Looking for a job? Gonna be kind of hard to do that today on foot, sans any type of electronic communication. Do you even have a hard copy of your resume? Wait, don't tell me, let me guess, it's online.

        I've yet to get a job that I applied for online. Everyone I've had has been because I physically went to the location to apply. Thats what people who actually WANT a job too, online submissions are the lowest on the totum pole. When I'm looking for a job, I have several copies of my resume in my car as well

    • by Xemu (50595)

      no such thing as a cyber war.

      Are you sure?

      If one was to fight a cyber war, it would make sense to target the financial system and the stock market, to cause panic and confusion and hit the enemy where it hurts the most: in the wallet...

      Ring a bell?

      We have never been at war with Oceania.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @09:49AM (#37043470)

    Is it me or is the article a load of bollocks? "The Chinese will win because the I Ching teaches them synchronicity"! Haven't soldiers consistently exhibited synchronicity? The "gut feeling" that a valley is unsafe. The WWI idea that the "third light" was unlucky, so they extinguished the match after lighting two - years before someone figured out that the time to light three cigarettes was just long enough for a sniper to notice, aim, and fire!

    Also, It will take a lot to convince me that synchronicity is of primary importance in a cyber-war. We are not talking about pursuing agents through second life, we are talking about finding weaknesses in web-connected devices that control infrastructure, and viruses that will make the centrifuges in a uranium processing plant wear out. I think the author is talking complete bollocks.

    • by ugen (93902) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @09:56AM (#37043542)

      mod this up. the "article" is a complete hog-wash. if anything, author just wanted to show-off a shiny new word he found, and do it in a way that attracts attention

      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:33AM (#37043972)

        That would be the "war" part. These silly little hacking games that go on all the time, even if they have a government behind them, are not cyber war. They don't cause any real amount of trouble, don't advance any strategic objective. They are a nuisance more or less. Real "cyber war" would be like any other war in that the objective would be to hurt an enemy.

        Ok well two things to keep in mind about that:

        1) In such a case, the US would probably take more drastic measures. It would be easier than you think for them to cut off all Internet in and out of the US. That would work for the moment to keep things secure. They then could set about cutting the cables to the attacking country, via sub, bombs, etc. Once that country was off the net, they re-enable their link back to the world. That a cyber attack can be shut down by turning off routers or cutting cables means its long term effectiveness is rather limited.

        2) It is a war which means that it will be responded to as such, namely with physical force. If a nation started destroying US infrastructure by hacking, you think the US government would really sit back and say "Oh well it is cyber, so we have to just use computers in response."? Hell no, they'd start blowing shit up. See how well that cyber war goes when stealth bombers take out your power grid, your telecom centers, and so on.

        There would be no "cyber" war, there would be real war.

        Also in general it seems the government is reasonably well prepared for such a thing by virtue of having their own private systems for a lot of stuff. The government has its own phone system, its own internets, and so on. They were created for other reasons (the phone system because the PSTN got slammed when Kennedy was killed and the government wanted communications that couldn't get interrupted like that, the internets for security against espionage) but they also have the fairly useful function of limiting the damage someone could do to the government and military with a cyber attack. It isn't like a hacker could go and turn off NORAD or something.

        Finally, who the fuck is this guy? A "leading cyber security analyst"? Only according to himself. He is the "CEO" of some shit company who's site doesn't appear to have a functional domain, just an IP, and that is run in Wordpress. The guy is just trying to use scare tactics to sell worthless shit to CEOs. Slashdot shouldn't publish crap like this.

        • by delinear (991444)
          Indeed, I've always thought a real "cyber war" would only ever be a preface to a real invasion. After all, it's (relatively speaking) too easy to recover from a cyber attack, and long term the opposition have little to gain from it (you'll learn from it, secure things better and move on). The only way cyber warfare would be effective is a mass attack to try and cripple communications and essential infrastructure followed by a real attack to press home a real advantage, be that destruction of physical proper
        • by Svartalf (2997)

          "1" presumes you'll find out about the attack before it's all said and done. Unfortunately, much of our capabilities are after-the-fact detections of attacks. A bit late to respond when they've hacked the SCADA and blew out a substation or a generator for a given power utility.

          "2" depends on just how much damage they do to us as to whether we CAN respond with anything. Yes, we can respond with nukes...that's a poor response. And moreover, you're going to have a delayed response for any other kinetic typ

        • 1) In such a case, the US would probably take more drastic measures. It would be easier than you think for them to cut off all Internet in and out of the US.

          And what kind of economic damage does that cause? How difficult would it be for a country to sneak in a few dozen agents and electronic equipment to within US borders? How much damage can they cause if they already have hidden backdoors into multiple infrastructure sites that have been dormant? Cutting off the net from the world for one day would
    • by arkham6 (24514)
      Why would WWI soldiers be worried about the 3rd light? They would all be hanging out in their trenches down below the sight line of the enemy, NOT lighting matches and having a smoke in the middle of no mans land.
      • by Chrisq (894406)

        Why would WWI soldiers be worried about the 3rd light? They would all be hanging out in their trenches down below the sight line of the enemy, NOT lighting matches and having a smoke in the middle of no mans land.

        I stand corrected. Some web research shows that it was the Boer War.

    • by jbeaupre (752124)

      I fully agree. It's a nonsense article. The evidence he gives of why the US military doesn't get it looks a lot more like evidence that it does ( and takes it seriously).

      The point that cyberspace (I shudder to even type that name) is a hodgepodge of technology kludged together well enough to work most of the time, and consequentially extremely fragile, is exactly how it should be viewed. If the military didn't say that, then I'd be afraid.

      I'd rather hear more along the lines of the adage: "War is politic

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MuValas (91840)

      Is it me or is the article a load of bollocks? "The Chinese will win because the I Ching teaches them synchronicity"!

      Agreed. I got to the end and the author just loses it: The "West" will lose because we're the West and the Chinese have a superior way of thinking. There was almost nothing of substance in the article except the very end: "

      The decision to call cyberspace a domain was based on organizational necessity. That’s how the Defence Department is set up. It’s how budgets are created and funds distributed. It’s how contracts get assigned. Simply put, it’s how things get done at the Pentagon. This is why the United States will lose a war fought in cyberspace. A strategic doctrine built upon a flawed vision can’t yield a victory against an adversary whose knowledge of the battle space is superior to our own."

      If he would've just expanded on that idea instead, it would have been much more informative. Pulling a "the chinese have a mystical way of thinking that we can not replicate!" is just dumb.

    • My thoughts exactly. I'm not even sure I understand what the point of the author is. He is asserting that the Internet does not consist of man-made hardware and is instead an artificial and natural domain? And this matters why? I'll let the author go with his artificial and natural domain theory, and lets see what happens to his internet when the backbone is bombed, or the electrical grid is taken out.

      He uses a lot of pretty words to say nothing of substance.
    • by Afty0r (263037)

      The WWI idea that the "third light" was unlucky, so they extinguished the match after lighting two

      "Fish *** in it"
      - Captain Reggie Thistleton

    • The "Kinetic War" thing is a load of dingo's kidneys, too. The US cannot wage an effective war. The military machine is huge, but inefficient; we need a military 1/10 the size of ours, run on more advanced technology and with better planning.
      • by delinear (991444)
        As an observer it seems the real issue for the military are having effective, i.e. achievable, goals. If the military were allowed to say "our goal is to remove dictator X then withdraw" they'd be able to achieve that reasonably simply - when politicians insist the goal is "remove dictator X then bring stability to a region that's been unstable for decades/centuries (where a not insignificant portion of the local populace are against you and even the ones nominally for you see you as an invading force and w
    • by mcmonkey (96054)

      I wouldn't know. I stopped R'ing TFA at "In the earliest days of the Internet, otherwise known as Web 1.0"

      If the author thinks the Internet started (and ends) with the Web, then I very much doubt he has much insightful to add on the issues of digital systems combat.

  • by FhnuZoag (875558) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @09:51AM (#37043496)
    "The information that circulates in CST is every bit as material as a chair, a car, or a quantum particle. Electromagnetic waves are just as material as the earth from which the calculi were made: it is simply that their degrees of materiality are different. In modern physics matter is associated with the complex relationship: substance-energy-information-space-time. The semantic shift from material to immaterial is not merely naive, for it can lead to dangerous fantasies."

    Now there's plenty of reasonable ways to talk about US weaknesses in cyber warfare (which IMHO is commonly overstated: what seems like weakness can often be a strength. It may merely be the case that the US is more subtle about its cyber shenanigans), but this article seems to meander into complete incoherence. Jung's synchronicity? I Ching? Seriously? Seems like someone's watched too much Serial Experiments Lain.

    • by dkf (304284)

      "The information that circulates in CST is every bit as material as a chair, a car, or a quantum particle. Electromagnetic waves are just as material as the earth from which the calculi were made: it is simply that their degrees of materiality are different. In modern physics matter is associated with the complex relationship: substance-energy-information-space-time. The semantic shift from material to immaterial is not merely naive, for it can lead to dangerous fantasies."

      Now there's plenty of reasonable ways to talk about US weaknesses in cyber warfare (which IMHO is commonly overstated: what seems like weakness can often be a strength. It may merely be the case that the US is more subtle about its cyber shenanigans), but this article seems to meander into complete incoherence. Jung's synchronicity? I Ching? Seriously?

      Guess it's all fixable by attaching special crystals ($599+tax each) to the DOD's computers, and having everyone sitting in a circle, holding hands and chanting "Omm" or whatever woowoo is being pushed this week.

      Needs more cowbell, err, quantum.

  • by dcollins (135727) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @09:53AM (#37043512) Homepage

    Regardless of whether or not the U.S. would win a cyberwar (or even if such a thing exists), the article makes no testable or even clear assertions on any such thing. It's all about Carl Jung and "interconnectedness" and mind/body material/immaterial synchronicity and at root:

    "The Book of Changes or Yijing. It’s a divinatory oracle that dates back to the Qin dynasty and teaches that the universe is composed of parts that are interconnected. The yarrow stalks used in the Yijing symbolize those parts, while the casting of them symbolizes the mystery of how the universe works (Pauli's quantum indeterminacy). Chinese emperors and generals have used this oracle since approximately 300 BC, and it may still provide a glimmer of insight into the mysterious nature of this new age of cyber-space-time and how cyber battles may be fought and won. Unfortunately for Western nations, synchronicity has its origins in the East. Western nations have a tradition in causality, not synchronicity. And the US Defense Department is deeply grounded in traditional western thinking and practicality..."

    Seriously, this article makes the argument that the DOD doesn't understand cyberspace because it spends insufficient time casting stalks and reading from a 2,300-year-old book of divinations. Made my eyes roll so hard it hurt my head. Possibly the biggest piece of bullshit I've ever seen on Slashdot. Yeah, the DOD is just too "practical" (insufficiently magical?), there's your argument.

    • by Baloroth (2370816) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:17AM (#37043778)

      I think his point is that the DoD is thinking about cyberwarfare wrongly. To do this, he invokes a psychoanalyst and psychoanalytic principles and attempts to connect them to the Internet.

      He fails. The Internet is not some new form of "cyber-space-time". It is a massive repository of information, connected by wires (mostly) and run by computers according to the rules we have established. Its complexity does not make it something new. It is no more a new field of "space-time" than Conway's Game of Life is. Using psychoanalysis to talk about it is, frankly, somewhat ridiculous and makes me question just how much of a "leading analyst" he is.

      • by SirGarlon (845873)

        To do this, he invokes a psychoanalyst and psychoanalytic principles and attempts to connect them to the Internet.

        And quantum physics. Don't forget quantum physics, and the deep connection between quantum physics and psychoanalysis. Well the connection is readily apparent if you ingest the same substances that the author does but he is not sharing.

  • "We are now threatened with a script kiddie gap that leaves us in a position of potentially grave danger."

    Senator John F. Kennedy, American Legion Convention, Miami Beach, FL http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=74096#ixzz1UdOSia3p [ucsb.edu]

  • is not to play it. Too bad US, the country most vulnerable to its potential effects, already did their first moves (i.e. stuxnet).
  • It is quite understandable how the government would lose in cyber warfare: We all know .gov sites look ugly and are fat and bloated, and clearly their back-ends don't look any better.

    But it would seem like USA, Inc., the big corporations that pretty much define USA, are far better at it than other foreign big corporations, such as, say SONY.

    Although Amazon's cloud failures are quite discouraging, if North Korea attacked, I doubt Amazon would even notice.

    Not to mention China would NEVER attack Amazon, or eve

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:35AM (#37043984)
    Bomber gap, missile gap, mineshaft gap, Dr. Strangelove gap.

    This is just another example of either someone who's feeling a little insecure or is trying to exploit the insecurity of others for their own ends.

    Both strategies have a long tradition in the USA and all the defence related FUD has been found to be baseless when the truth leaks out (usually against the wishes of the govt/military).

    Ultimately there is absolutely no need to fight a cyber war. if the USA was ever attacked, the most effective defence would simply be to pull the plug on all incoming/outgoing IP traffic. Most americans simply wouldn't notice (except when the amount of SPAM decreased, or their favourite porn sites became inaccessible) and for most facilities that are targets for attack, there's no legitimate reason to have them exposed to the internet anyway.

  • by jjohn (2991) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:35AM (#37043988) Homepage Journal

    Whether or not the US is adequately prepared for "cyberwar" is certainly an open question.

    However, this article is riddled with neologism ("cyber-space-time" really?) and magical
    thinking (e.g. I Ching, synchronicity).

    If the Internet really isn't a hardware-software system, what is it? Why not claim it has a soul too
    and that we should sing to it?

    The real issue is that the Internet infrastructure is public resource controlled by private interests.
    That's what makes the DoD's job of defending it difficult. Defense cannot simply issue edicts like
    "upgrade all your router firmware right now."

    I do not propose we retreat back to a paper-based information system. I propose we go back to clay tablets.

  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @10:49AM (#37044128)

    And then in typical American reactive manner we'll dump a bunch of money into cybersecurity and thereby create the military-IT complex...

  • The author seems to be of the opinion that cyberspace is some strange and mysterious entity that is beyond the ken of standard reasoning. From his comparisons to the I-Ching (aka Yi Jing) and Jung's synchronicity, it appears that he approaches cyberspace from an almost religious perspective (the only other alternative being that he approaches it from the perspective of bad pop science...). He even goes so far as advocating the new name of "cyberspacetime" to wrap the idea in even another layer of mystery (o
  • I have worked in several countries in IT, specifically IT security. The author clearly sees things only from one perspective. Other nations IT capabilities especially within small to medium companies is very limited with IT staff's that have very limited experience. This is not to say all countries but many. The problem of IT security is not just a U.S. problem but globally IT security is a mess. Think about this: in Austria a very small European the television is state run and you pay a tax. That state run
  • Wrong tense.
  • Imagine if you could only decide if you trusted a soldier or not, a binary decision, for each and every soldier in the military, at their time of enlistment.
    If you trusted him, he had full access to every weapon and resource at our countries command, until he decided to leave.
    If not, he wouldn't have access to anything.

    Would it be possible to have a classification system in such a regime, when one spy could give away everything to the highest bidder?
    Would it be possible to have

  • I imagine that after losing the cyber war, we would go over and break the victors' computers. nobody can really win a cyberwar.
  • 1. The internet is really complicated and involves quantum something-or-other.
    2. Asian philosophy is all about mysticism, non-materialism and shit.
    3. Therefore, Asians are superior at cyber-warfare, qed.

  • "Be afraid so cyber security analyst Jeffrey Carr is needed and should get paid a lot of money to calm your fears". At least that is what I got from TFA.

  • Those that benefit from suckling at the tits of the bloated pig called the military industrial complex have now found a new and fatter pig from which to suckle. Cyber War is a bunch of BS propaganda to feed to the mindless politicians who only care about lining their pockets with greenbacks. Another way to waste American taxpayer money and prevent it from being used for something that would actually help society, such as Universal Health Care.
  • by istartedi (132515) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @02:05PM (#37046740) Journal

    .We could psychoanalyze the hell out of this, or we could air-gap the stuff that really matters and be done with it.

Physician: One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well. -- Ambrose Bierce

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