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United States

CIA Considering Cyberwarfare 134

An anonymouse reader wrote in to say "This story reveals that the CIA will consider the use of computers to conduct a cyberwar against Yugoslovian President Slobodan Milsoevic, in addition to more traditional ways to destabilize the Yugoslov government. " Information is warfare these days. Its kinda scary.
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CIA Considering Cyberwarfare

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  • I think you forget the "moral" factor. You won't have to remove the 10% of the forces because after some time most soldiers will flee and send Milosevic propaganda to hell. It's one thing to defend your country against an agressor (as they think they are doing), it's another thing fight the whole world with some outdated equipement. They know they don't stand a chance against NATO.
  • That's just part of the scenarios. Some of the scenarios I've seen were very extensive, and very interesting too.

    It would start with a power grid failing, and nobody knowing why. Then the traffic lights in NYC would go haywire for some time. Then a large newspaper would be shut down. Then a satellite would go off course and fall back to earth. A ferocious virus would suddenly pop up and spread like wildfire across the Internet. A Boeing 777 falls out of the sky due to a strange software malfunction. An emergency breaks out at a nuclear power plant due to some software glitch. All sorts of such seemingly unconnected incidents would probably be extremely effective cyberwarfare. It would take weeks, perhaps even months before defence would fully realize the US were under attack. And currently there is nothing that could stop such a scenario from actually happening.

    Personally I worry more about a cyber attack than about Y2K... Not that I worry much about Y2K, but that's a different story :-)


    )O(
    the Gods have a sense of humor,
  • by Chakotay ( 3529 ) <a.arendsenNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday May 24, 1999 @06:23AM (#1881582) Homepage
    I'm sorry, but this isn't exactly news. Well, it's news that they're going to use it against Milosevic, but it's not news that Information Warfare aka Cyberwarfare exists. The Pentagon has been working on it for a long time, and there are also lots of Cyberwarfare scenarios.

    By the way, the country that is most vulnerable to Cyberwarfare is the USA. Literally everything is run by or with the aid of computers. Good Cyberwarfare could criple the US completely. Yugoslavia however is probably pretty much impervious to Cyberwarfare because most of the country is run without computers.


    )O(
    the Gods have a sense of humor,
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Clinton to CIA: "would you guys be able to, like, hack into Milosevic's bank accounts?"


    CIA down the chain of command: "guys, we have a problem. The big guy found another toy he really doesn't understand."


    CIA back up the chain of command: "we leaked a teaser to the press. Any volunteers to beat the President with a Clue-By-Four?"


    CIA to President: "I'm sorry, sir, but the press already sniffed this coming. This tactic can no longer be expected to acheive much."


    President: "awww, shucks..."

  • >I'll try not to flame too much here, but you
    >obviously do not have any experience with any
    >teachers besides your (possible) education.

    The wife of a friend I've known since I was 4 was an elementary school teacher (she's now a stay-at-home mom). She says pay was actually quite good. Note that Maryland (the state she taught in) almost certainly is on the high end in terms of teacher pay.

    My public school teachers were for the most part very good. I made no insults to teachers and their skills, and am offended by your claims that I implied this in any way.

    What *I'm* saying is that teaching and its pay should not be compared to tech jobs, because tech job salaries are inflated by demand and the fact there are relatively few of us with the mindset to do it well. Compare teaching to the average job of the college educated, not to programming. Most jobs aren't cushy, and many single parents (I infer that your mother is one) would have difficulty paying for college for a kid.

  • As the US is once again discovering, simply having the most advanced weapons (lethal or non-lethal) does not guarantee victory. Whether it be a Stealth bomber or a quad Xeon box running Redhat 6.0, NEITHER can go in and occupy territory. At the end of the day, as it's been throughout recorded history, some poor "grunt", scared, dirty and hungry, armed with an M-16, Springfield, Brown Bess, battleaxe, pilum or gladius is going to end up having to go in over someone elses' bodies and say "This is mine now and you f*ckers are going to STOP."
    No geek whether 50,000 ft. in the sky or 10,000 miles away behind a keyboard is going to be able to do it.
    We always think that if we throw enough money and "brains" at it we can make war clean and bloodless. Win without mussing our hair. Sorry folks, it just don't work that way. Why don't we ever learn?
  • I hate to say it, but maybe the world would be better off if we spent the billions of dollars used on the air attacks (and now "cyberwar") on a crash program to just assasinate Milosevic. Instead of killing innocent civillians, often children, let's take out the one person who made ethnic clensing in Croatia, Bosnia, and now Kosovo possible.

    Some people might argue "that wouldn't change anything, worse people might come into power." Then take them out as well. Take full responsibility. Hold leaders personally responsible.

    If we're going to fight dictatorial tyrants, we should fight THEM, not the people they send into war.

  • Another reason why the US should be careful about this is that eastern european countries seem to have an ample supply of highly skilled crackers.
  • Offense none my friend, but one of the primary reasons for the Second World War was the fact that the US wanted to keep out of international affairs. As a result, organizations such as the League of Nations had no real power.

    This is a very creative explanation and very offensive statement, to say the least. Americans didn't help their allies when they were asked to, and this is one of the reasons why war taken that long and claimed that many lives, however I recommend you to study the history of pre-war Europe if you want to know what cause rise of Nazi and WWII. Of course, as a good American patriot, you probably also think that Americans' actions in Europe at the very end of war had significant impact on the defeat of Nazi.

    I probably also have to remind you that KLA is not an US ally, and at least formally is still a terrorist organization, participating in a civil war.

  • The serbian government agreed to all demands except insisted that any peacekeeping force be controlled by the UN and include some russian troops. NATO for some reason couldn't live with this, so now we have a war.

    --

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Lesse.. starting pay in Texas is in the mid 20's, they work 10 months per year, and good teachers work at *least* 50 hours per week. That comes out to $11 per hour. $25,000/(43 weeks x 50 hrs) This is what it's worth to teach future generations? Interesting.
  • Yay Jesuit Schools.
  • Two points:

    1. US laws prohibit assassination of foreign leaders (unless a declaration of war is made). US did not declare war since WW2, and declaring war under international law carries consequences (use of force/declaring war is only legal with approval of UN). Faced with choice of breaking international law or breaking national law, Clinton always choses former, as international law is enforced only in UN where US has veto, therefore, US can essentially escape harmless no matter what they do, even if entire world is against it.

    2. What gives US right to decide whether foreign leader is 'acceptable' leader for that region or has to be assassinated? Isn't the idea of democracy that people elect their leaders? If Milosevic was democratically elected, and he is Evil (tm), that shows that democracy is evil. However, no better option has been presented, other than US ruling entire world, of course, which probably won't be acceptable to say, Russia and China.


    What's the point of this post? Democracy isn't always the answer, nor is dictatorship of single person or even government. Truth is somewhere in between.
  • Not all of them, but the bulk of tehm. And you described exactly the reasons that catholics & noncatholics alike took pay cuts to teach at my jesuit high school.
  • This info warfare stuff is starting to explain why West Point is attempting to recruit me, even with that bungle with the school network last year....
  • the problem right now is that Mr. Mislovec has been sending out groups of army people, who have been roaming the countryside and doing horrible things to ethnic albaninans.

    I assume, this is the example of "cyberwar" -- spreading misinformation on slashdot.

    I'm afraid, after all losses will be counted, it will be found that US/NATO bombing killed more civilians in Kosovo than Serbian army and KLA taken together. AFAIK, Milosevich's goal is to deport Albanians from Kosovo, not to kill them, and while it's still bad and unhuman, it's completely different from killing those people.

    Of course, US propaganda after few weak attempts of calling Milosevich actions "genocide" will never use any other term than "ethnic cleansing" -- it's vague eniugh to imply "genocide" without actually saying it.

  • Teachers get more vacation time than the average salaried technoworker? Wrong.

    I'm a technician in the manufacturing plant. I get every other week free. Calculate how many days that is in one year.

    My dad is a professor/assoc dean at a state university. There are great benefits of that position, but I would not hype the vacation time as one of them. He works often until midnight daily, including weekends. There may be more work involved than you give credit for in this case.
  • If you don't like the mod system, set your threshold to -1. Done, that's all there is to it.

    Rob's mod system is without a doubt the best that I have ever seen. It allows people to see as much or as little as they want, each according to their own desires. The mods are an ever changing group of people that are sampled not from the readership as a whole, but from the group of posters that actually produce the content that is to be moderated. They, these posters, take the trouble onto themselves to make life here at /. easier for those that want to see 'less', and they do it without any cost or hardship for those that want to 'see it all'. This system as it stands today is closer to perfection than any that I have ever seen. Rob ought to secure a patent for the concept.

  • Perhaps I missed it, but I don't remember reading *anywhere* that "attacking Milosevic's bank accounts" meant hacking into the bank and stealing the money. This would be an act of war against the country the bank is in.

    While I dont really disagree with this tactic (I also don't disagree with strategicly aimed sniper rifles) I think everybody is going a bit overboard with this.

    Usually this means applying pressure (via trade restrictions or non-delivery of "goodies") to the countries that the accounts reside in, and have them freeze the accounts.

    We've done this before. No hacking involved. I swear.
  • I think most Americans would see a major cyber-warfare hit as a pleasant "vacation from all this B.S. ...."

    I beg to disagree. I think Americans - myself included - would be very unhappy and frustrated if a foreign power deprived them of their God given, inalienable right to entertainment and time-wasting.

    Consider how frustrated we become when the Cable goes out. How we scramble around, looking for something to do, when the power goes out. Most of us can't even share our frustration in that context, because our portable phones and email are out too.

    If Information Warfare ever came to the U.S. of A, it would have a very demoralizing effect on the general population. It would undermine the populus' faith in it's government - after all, if the Iraqi's can take out CableTV, nothing is sacred??

    We might even be forced to read a book, or [gasp!] talk to our families!!
  • I have just one objection to the above post.
    But what can I expect from the NSA and CIA, which were created to serve the national interest, note I said national interest and not public interest.

    Please don't confuse the nation with the government.

    The entire government of the US (or any other country, for that matter) could be overthrown and the nation could still exist and perhaps be in better shape.

    So the above statement should read:

    But what can I expect from the NSA and CIA, which were created to serve government interests? Note I said
    government interest and not national interest.

    == Buz :)

  • All of this talk makes me wonder...

    Do you suppose all the serbs remembered to apply all the nuke fixes on their most-recent quarterly re-install of Win98?

    How about service pack 5 for NT?

    Somehow I think not. Oh...I think the CIA is calling me...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm curious about what methods the CIA are going to use. I doubt that they would be a full-frontal, all out cracking attempt. This would be too obvious and rather messy. Then again, the CIA couldn't find a certain address in Belgrade...

    Other plausible scenarios include gaining the help of a sysadmin; you know, give the guy a few bucks or *ucks. They may already have a person already in place for this. Remember, this is the easiest way to compromise any system.

    I guess it's also time to use those hidden backdoors that are in place. Furthermore, encrypted files? Hey, no problem. We have key escrow.

    Or they could use that fancy laptop computer from "Mission Impossible", the one with the thinking machine processor with AI.:)
  • Well yes, but they still are in a dead-end, they know it. And as WWI has shown, living in trenches under endless bombing (artillery at this time) doesn't make a good moral. WWI was famous for all the rebellion that were crushed by mass death-penalty. I think NATO should work more on psychological warfare, it's cheap and painless. No army likes having to hide endlessly without even the possibility to fire-back.
  • by gavinhall ( 33 ) on Monday May 24, 1999 @08:12AM (#1881619)
    Posted by mgegqekk:

    The Big Question:

    How long will it take for us to destroy Yugoslavia's military? According to Albright we are 33% done and it has taken 2 months and 60k sorties. Assuming the same rate of destruction per sortie and a constant rate of sorties we should be done in 6 months and 180k sorties (from the start of the "war").

    Of course, those are big assumptions. Since I don't have access to military plans, I'll have to stick with the old adage that "it takes 90% of the time to get the last 10% of the work done". So we should reach 90% in 5.4 months (162k sorties). But that was only 10% of the needed time, according to our rule of thumb. Therefore we should be done with the last of Yugoslavia's military in a mere 54 months and 1.62 million sorties. Fall of 2003 anyone?
  • I've been wondering for a while how exactly CmdrTaco stumbles into all of these gems. Is he really clueless enough that he fears a "cyberwar" waged by the CIA?

    The CIA is probably the most inept intelligence agency in the history of this country, if not the world. Their idea of "CYBERWAR" is sitting around trying to hack BBSs in Kosovo running FrontDoor 2.12, so they can post "disinformation" and "propaganda" and make it look like it came from the SysOp.

    Wow!

    Gosh, it sure is scary, CmdrTaco.

    Clearly CmdrTaco is suffering from toxic shock syndrome, having kept the Star Wars tampon in for so long that he refuses to remove it, even though he knows how bad it really is, but he can't bring himself to, so he just has idiot Toxic Shock.

    Perhaps he will wage "CYBERWAR" and bring this post down to -1.
  • by Verence ( 145084 ) on Monday May 24, 1999 @10:07AM (#1881622)
    Wired News just sent out a story about this same topic:
    http://www.wired.com/news/ news/politics/story/19836.html [wired.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 1999 @06:25AM (#1881624)
    What the US needs to consider is this:

    Premise: We are entering the information age. This means that information is power.
    Premise: To utilize information effectively, we need education.
    Conclusion: We need better education in order to succeed in the information age.

    So remind me, how much do we pay our teachers???

    How does this relate to cyber-warfare? Well, if all the tech jobs suck up our techs because there aren't enough of them due to poor education, then there aren't enough spooks (=information age soldier) to defend our country and our networks.

    -B
  • (An excert from 1968, by Joe Haldeman.)

    In some outfits, like Spider's, you were
    encouraged to forget your comrades' actual names,
    and only use codenames, even in everyday communication. Then you couldn't slip up and
    use a person's real name in radio communication,
    which was usually monitored by the enemy. Once the enemy knew where you were at a given time and day,
    they could send a bogus telegram fro Washington,
    through the Polish embassy, supposedly from the Army, regretting to inform your parents or your wife that you had been killed in action there and then, thus undermining morale on the home front.

  • by RomulusNR ( 29439 ) on Monday May 24, 1999 @06:36AM (#1881630) Homepage
    When ever in the history of combat has information not been the key? I dare say spying was invented before weaponry. And the same for propaganda. Why is the use of electronic means for espionage, propaganda, and sabotage such a shock to the computing community -- one which is so rarely shocked by the developments of our age?

    As for the usefulness of electronic warfare against the Serbs (proud [now former] makers of the esteemed Yugo), I think you may be slightly underestimating the technology available to and in use by the Serb government and their media machine that rivals MSNBC in jingoism....
    though I agree its usefulness will be about the same as anything else we have done over there so far, which is to say not useful at all.

    But as for American vulnerability to cyber attacks, do you really think Americans wouldn't patiently dive into a dark period without technology? Seems to me that Europeans are generally less afraid of technology than Americans are. I think most Americans would see a major cyber-warfare hit as a pleasant "vacation from all this B.S. ...."

    Regards,

  • Yep. Most of the news in the US is sourced either from AP or Reuters. If some agency or group cracked those feeds, then the US (and probably most of Europe) is totally vulnerable to some pretty subtle propaganda (like it doesn't happen already to push more "media" to us poor brainless idiot newsumers)... At least in the current situation most of the players know who they are as they dance there tete a tete.

  • by clawson ( 5082 ) on Monday May 24, 1999 @08:33AM (#1881633)
    Hmm... you *could* pay me enough to teach. But my price is probably too high.

    I'd have to be able to grant 'F's. I'd have to be able to not grant any 'A's if no one had earned them.

    I'd have to be able to kick Johnny out of my class.

    I'd have to be able to tell parents what my educational goals were, what I expected of them and their kid(s), etc.

    I'd have to have a school system that backed me up.

    Since the last demand is probably the one that could never be met (Oh, they'd SAY they'd back me up, but as soon as someone whispered, "he did that...yeah, THAT...to studentX", I'd be hanging in the wind)...
  • Why exactly are we spending tens of billions of dollars bombing some country nobody heard about before this fiasco? Why are our military forces (who's only job, as far as I know, is to safeguard the interests of the general population - including defense) over there? Why are American lives being sacrified?

    For humanitarian reasons?

    Please. If I want to be humanitarian, I'll contribute to a charity. There's alot of better places that money could be going - like education or cancer research.

    So I ask again.. why are we really over there?



    --
  • War is the US' equivalent of an international trade convention for the defense industry...

    After all... the US gets to show the world how its new toys perform. War is good for business, after all.
  • Dunno about you, but none the better hackers I know learned what they did from the American school system, public or private.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This really reminds me of the Pentagon's testing of anti-satellite weapons. By doing this kind of crap we are only provoking other countries into developing similar capabilities and thus, with us being the most voulnerable to these types of attacks (satellite and computer), we naturally must spend billions on securing ourselves from such attacks. Good thing, too, as it keeps the great military-industrial complex churning.

    It's great to be an American.
  • you don't have to take down the computer systems, just add wrong information, different configurations for telcos, propaganda in web sites, deception from news sites (in other words all the sites from .yu will see a different cnn.com, bbc.co.uk, etc.)

    And there is no way to avoid that.

  • Why exactly are we spending tens of billions of dollars bombing some country nobody heard about before this fiasco?

    It's the government's way of teaching us geography. It's good for the economy, it keeps the teachers from getting too rich, and it makes for good press.
  • I think this whole moderation stuff is wrong. The only thing that needs moderation on the Internet is advertisement. As for flamebait and such, if you don't like it, don't read it or don't reply to it.

  • You're neglecting the fact that time is working for Milosevic for several reasons:
    • Domestic support for Milosevic is getting stronger with evey bomb dropped over a Serbian city. (If you doubt this, then ask yourself who you'd rather hate: The guys who have just bombed your house or your local administration, which, after all, takes care that you get medical treatment and gets you quatered somewhere else)
    • The NATO alliance is weak, the reluctance to send ground troops and the obvious lack of political commitment nullifies any actual military advantage (strategic bombardment is pointless if not followed by an invasion)
    • The "marketing" problem in explaining a continued war if the self declared goal is peace (and not victory).
    • Every embarressing mistake like the destruction of the Chinese embassy will futher limit the alliance's political options.
    • With the main targets destroyed, it will be increasinly difficult to destroy military targets without unacceptable ammounts of collateral damage.
    • And last but not least: The cost of the campaign exceeds the caused damage by at least one order of magnitude.
    Remember that the purpose of war is not the destruction of the enemy but the enforcement of a political goal and as far as politics go, Milosevic is the clear winner so far.
    My bet is that there will be a cease-fire RSN followed by a token peace-treaty (after all, Milosevic's political goal - the expulsion of the Albanians - is almost reached) that allows the NATO to somewhat keep it's face but will basically fix the status quo.
  • by mattdm ( 1931 ) on Monday May 24, 1999 @06:31AM (#1881647) Homepage
    More here [yahoo.com]. And probably at newsweek.com once the print edition goes online.

    The part I find disturbing is the bit about attacking Milosevic's foreign bank accounts. Which I assume is illegal in those countries. Way to set a good example, government. *sigh*


    --

  • Consider how frustrated we become when the Cable goes out. How we scramble around, looking for something to do, when the power goes out.

    That's extremely short term. Sure, we get frustrated when the cable goes out, but after a few hours we just get by with it turned off. Maybe we read a book, maybe we play Civ, maybe we go out somewhere. TV is something most people only crave when they know they can get it.

    If Information Warfare ever came to the U.S. of A, it would have a very demoralizing effect on the general population. It would undermine the popul[ace]'s faith in it's government.

    Well, yes... so would [and does] any other form of attack. That is, essentially, the point of civilian-directed warfare. Already people are demoralized and crying foul over China's unauthorized tape-trading of our nuclear secrets.

    Hitting people with rocks seems more inherent to our species than the higher-level sneakiness involved in spying.

    Perhaps, depending on what counts as spying. But rocks weren't really invented by us, were they? They were just handy aids -- like say our fists. I was thinking stone knives and arrowheads...

    Regards,

  • by Ignatius ( 6850 ) on Monday May 24, 1999 @07:43AM (#1881649)
    I think that the US again makes their usual error of judging military options on the effect they would have on themselves instead of the enemy.

    While even a partial breakdown of the IT infrastrucure would have a devastating effect on a country like the US where you even pay your hambuger by creditcard and most economic transactions involve the exchange of information instead of actual goods, this clearly isn't the case with the more traditional economy of Yugoslavia.

    The same hold true for the strategic bombardments: The Americans never had war on their territory and therefor react very senitive to own miltary losses (remember the 3 three captured GIs), while Europe and esp. the Balkans have a long tradition of warfare and won't get demoralised so quickly by a high-tech air campaign.

    IMHO the NATO alliance would have done better in systematically arming and training the UCK (and maybe offering them tactical air support) than, after months of ineffective bombardments, being drawn into a guerilla war that they are unprepared and unwilling to deal with.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    the problem right now is that Mr. Mislovec has been sending out groups of army people, who have been roaming the countryside and doing horrible things to ethnic albaninans.

    so, our strategy so far has been to think of things that might help the serbian army, then blow those things up.

    if blowing stuff in cities up hasn't stopped the army from killing kosovars, i doubt that disrupting satellite television in serbia or causing mr. mislovec's windows box to be |\|UK3D or screwing with mr. mislovec's ATM account is going to stop the army from killling kosovars.
  • It's
    http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/wr/story.ht ml?s=v/nm/19990524/wr/yugoslavia_usa_cyber war_2.html

    Slashdot seems to be really excited about adding whitespace to the url in the link, making it not work.

    --

  • All I have to say is, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    Computer security in the United States is horrible and shows no signs of getting better. On the other hand our dependency on computers in everyday life is quite a bit higher I would guess, than most countries. Who benefits in this activity?

    -Jon
  • August 12th 1999

    Anchor:One of the worst power outages in the United States just got cleaned up this week. Unfortunately this power outages was during one of the worst heat waves recorded in the state of California and many ave suffered from heat exhaustion and stroke. Hundreds suffered from the unbearable heat, resulting in dozens of heat related deaths. Several hospitals lost power for much longer than expected before backup generators came on-line, resulting in 12 deaths.

    News reporter:The body of Gregory Hill a.k.a IzeMa|\| was found early this morning by friends coming to pick him up for work. He had been shot in the back of the head assassination style. Friends say he had no enemies and they have no idea who is respocible. Nothing in his apartment was stolen or vandalized. It is rumored though that Gregory was part of a CIA assembled team of "hackers" that fought a clandestine information war against the Serbian army in Kosovo.

    Headline:Attacks by hackers have crippled several national banks causing the loss of nearly 2 billion.

    This is what cyberwar means, it isn't just attacks from us to them, it's also retaliation. Think about how vulnerable the US is to a cyber attack of any kind. I don't have to write up a scenario for all of them, there are just too many. This is just another weapon for some armchair general to tell someone else to use. Cyberwar is NOT by any means a clean business. Many people will die if there is ever an all out war. The destructiveness isn't measured in number of deaths or cities destroyed, its measured in the destablization of an economy, local or national. And its things like that which cause the powers that be to rescind the rights of the constitution in order to "protect" the American population. We become a powerless military state "for the duration". How many books and movies have been written about this sort of scenaro happening? TONS. You know why? because it's a very valid fear these days. This sort of espionage has been going on as long as there have been networks of any kind, except now those networks are much more crucial to our way of life. Before the Cold War ended i had to worry about a nuclear war that wipes out life as we know it, now I have to fear a war that will destroy the technology that our society depends on. Imagine all the Y2K hoopla coming true, except the culprit isn't a bunch of date errors and roll over problems, but intentional attacks on our infrastructure.

    But what can I expect from the NSA and CIA, which were created to serve the national interest, note I said national interest and not public interest. The NSA for years has been logging decrypting and reading e-mail in Europe, the CIA regularly practices their cyberwar capabilities on foreign computer systems and networks. The NSA also collects as much information as they can about ANYONE they want. You think the FBI is bad about information gathering, I would love to see some of the files in the NSA libraries. These two organizations have become so far removed from the public interest they are practically whole new branches of government. But you think "oh well no one would work for the NSA unless they were a die hard patriot" or some crap. Well what happens when they come to you with a naughty piece of dirt from you past that would ruin your life if someone found out, or you were majorly in debt and they promised to get you off the hook if you helped them out on a "project". The CIA used to do this to get foreign nationals to betray their own country, what would stop them from getting hackers to work for them the same way. But all casulties would be a result of war therefore justified.

    The reason this is so long and I'm so pissed about this is because when I saw the Berlin wall come down I figured that we were going to enter a more peaceful time. No more mutually assured destruction, no more wondering how far you have to be from ground zero to survive. Now we have to fear our technological infrastructure being threatened. Sure, a few lives lost in a power outage or plane crash isn't the same as a nuclear holocaust, but cyberwar uses a very old and tried form of warfare: terrorism. People become afraid to use the technology we've become accustmed to because there is the fear that it will be the next cyber terrorism target.
    p.s. I dont know anyone named Gregory Hill, it was the best name I could think of on the spot. no offence to anyone.

  • Well, 'tis true that our teachers are underpaid for the job that they are asked to do, but since nobody could do a decent job under those conditions does it matter? If decent education is desired, then the class size needs to be reduced to below 20 children. According to the study that I saw the point of inflection was at 17, but on theoretical grounds I believe that it should actually be closer to 15.

    As it is you couldn't pay me enough to try to teach.
  • Posted by Bastard Operator From Hell:

    At the time Pearl Harbor wasn't even US soil, wasn't a state until the 50's.

    Shaun
  • Jesuit-shmesuit... The Brothers of the Christian Schools, who run Manhattan College and La Salle, are cooler than the Jesuits. hehehe. My Catholic high school is better than yours!
  • The Americans never had war on their territory and therefor react very senitive to own miltary losses

    Go back and check your history books. There have been plenty of wars on US soil - the American Civil war, for one. I believe more American soldiers were killed in the Civil war than in WWII.

    Yes we are sensitive to losing our own, but it would be more noteworthy if we weren't.

    -c
  • Actually, a few weeks ago, a story got out about just this. Some organisation (either the name wasn't given or my memory fails me) had people in place who would make this possible. They asked CIA for funds to go ahead with this and the CIA apparently turned them down. There was some speculation on why the CIA did this, the general consensus being that a leader was needed in Serbia to negotiate with, someone who would have the power to stop whatever the Serbs were doing. Killing Milosevic would destabilize Serbia and that would make negotiating an agreement and enforcing it very difficult.

    Message on our company Intranet:
    "You have a sticker in your private area"
  • by jabber ( 13196 ) on Monday May 24, 1999 @06:28AM (#1881662) Homepage
    This story didn't say anything the first time it was on the CNN homepage. Why should now be different?

    Here's the techie synopsis:
    The CIA is authorized to investigate means of distabilizing the Milosevic government.

    Nothing cyber, nothing tech, nothing new.
  • Oh please, we pay our teachers enough. The union looks out for them. They don't need you.
  • The serbian government agreed to nothing in the beginning.... no not right, it agreed to some parts, then did not, then did to some parts... and the NATO stood there watching for I-dont-know-how-many- months doing - NOTHING. Going in there with bombs now seems to me the only possible solution, although I can understand when American say: "hey, what's it got to do with us?". But the question is, if such a big country has an obligation to keep the peace around the world or not. That's something I still haven't figured out for myself.


    However I think that we can't do anything than try to force them to accept whatever we offer, then help rebuild this country.

  • The "ban" or assasinating foreign leaders is actually by executive order 12333, which can be overturned at any time by the President [house.gov].

    And what gives the US the right to assasinate foreign leaders? Well, if we can send cruise missiles into Belgrade and kill innocent children, you think we'd have an even more valid right to kill someone who has actually ordered children to death in Kosovo.

    What is the point of this post? US policy has FAILED to deal with the leadership in Iraq and Yugoslavia. "Cruise missile" diplomacy does not work.

    Let's either stop wasting money (ob geek: which could be going into Internet 2, or could be going into our pockets to buy more Linux boxes), or cut off "the head."

    You're right that dictatorship is never just the actions of an individual. But tyranical dictatorship is driven by worship and political power of an individual. Especially in situations like Yugoslavia, where I believe the average person is reasonable, but the military power is in the hands of very greedy people. The Yugoslavs I have chatted with for the most part hate Milosevic, but hate getting bombed even more.

  • I kinda doubt it. Hitting people with rocks seems more inherent to our species than the higher-level sneakiness involved in spying.

    --

  • Anyone in their right mind should not be surprised with this announcement...in fact I am surprised that it was made at all. The US government is a notorious information gathering body, you need only look as far as basic Senate practice for confirmation: "Well before we make a decision, let's perform a few studies".

    Throughout history spying has been an integral part of warfare, and as such it has grown with the times. The CIA has long employed any means at it's disposal to achieve its goal of national security, which has included everything from simple bribes for information, to the planting of moles in important government positions, to the extremes of assasination. Why would they stop there?

    Also, look at the NSA. What is their purpose? It is "support of U.S. Government activities to protect U.S. communications and produce foreign intelligence information." Hmmm...and how would they do that in an electronic world? The massive amount of mathematical and computing experience, not to mention raw computing power, has not been (presumably) sitting idle since it's conception in 1952...it has been put to the task of intercepting and decoding information that may be strategically useful to the US government. The CIA is simply taking this information gathering process one step further...right to the systems where the information originates.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 1999 @08:19AM (#1881676)
    Politicians want to mandate that secure products use key escrow. Who's going to buy a product when a government that openly engages in "cyberwarfare" holds the spare key?

    Not that key escrow or this war are right in the first place...
  • by apilosov ( 1810 ) <alex@pilosoft.com> on Monday May 24, 1999 @07:25AM (#1881677) Homepage
    I consider this as scary fact. If US Government legitimizes 'hacking' as form of warfare, there will be nothing to stop any other country from doing it.

    For example, report talks about 'attacking Milosevic's bank accounts'. Presumably held in countries other than US, since in US, Clinton can order the funds frozen or seize them. Now, US is not at war with those third countries (most likely it will be Cyprus), but will be actively trying to rob those countries banks, while maintaining complete diplomatic relations.

    Consider following. Lybia trying to break into UK banks to steal money held by (whoever) in UK. It will now be perfectly legitimate to do that without declaration of war or anything. Scary thought.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 1999 @08:42AM (#1881678)
    Why exactly did sources within the CIA leak this to CNN? If this is supposed to be classified, why are elements within the CIA talking to a press organization that is closely watched around the world?

    Maybe this is just a feignt? It makes no sense to say hey Mr. Bad Guy better look out we are gonna hax0r j00r computers. I think this is more a leak just to frighten Milosovic and his government and force them to waste resources trying to defend their informational structure against a non-existent attack.

    The true story here is that CNN, Slashdot and others were the actual weapons here...spreading disinformation. We all know how powerful a weapon FUD is... This time its the CIA doing it instead of Microsoft.

    And if I'm wrong, there should be some people thrown into jail for compromising a classified operation during time of war.
  • Mods are allowed to speak. They just can't ID themselves. Even if the guide is so interpreted that mods are not allowed to speak as mods at all, then the guide should be changed. Explanations of why a mod did what are constructive.

  • >I'm a technician in the manufacturing plant. I get every other week free.

    Do you really consider yourself an average salaried worker in this respect? While some people can certainly get jobs with more time flexibility (contract programming comes to mind), or you can part-time for less money, I'd bet your average salaried worker gets about 3 weeks of vacation per year plus holidays. And if you change jobs, you tend to get reset to two weeks per year again.

    Most slashdotters know about salaries for tech experts and take that as a baseline. Salaries for the majority of humanity are rather lower. Starting salary for a Baltimore area police officer (the only vaguely relevant number I have off-hand) is $28k. I know a public schoolteacher who is not yet 30 who makes substantially more than that.

    Teachers are also extremely hard to fire for incompetence. Job security is a perk.

    >My dad is a professor/assoc dean at a state university.

    (I believe we were mainly talking about pre-collegiate teachers, esp. since salaries tend to be substantially higher in collegiate settings.) My dad is a professor and was department head. He had a lot more schedule flexibility than my mother ever did. Time pressure on profs is usually for getting grants for further research, not obligations from their immediate employer.
  • Modern americans have not had a war on our soil, I suspect was the point. Our ancestors have ... but unlike almost all Europeans, none of us have memories of our homes being threatened by advancing armies, of foreign troops in our cities telling us what to do. We don't have the memories of bombs dropping in the middle of the night, of our industry and transit structures being destroyed, of mass graves to bury those who died fighting or just died for being in the wrong place.

    War, to most Americans who haven't been in the military, is an abstraction. It isn't real to us in the way it is to someone living in countries that have fought wars on their soil in recent memory.

    Except for Pearl Harbor, the last war fought on American soil ended in 1865.
  • As the child and grandchild of multiple public school teachers, I find it very difficult to admit that I would not be willing to tackle the challenge myself. Personally, I find teaching a joy, but I'll stick to the collegiate level.
    I have witnessed some of the rewards of teaching, but for me it is not worth the trials. For my son's sake, I just hope that there are those who feel differently than I do.
    To go back on topic:
    I find the most frightening aspect of our technological dependence (not use, but dependence) to be that to most people who log on to a computer every day it is a black box, as is every other appliance in their home and office. We need to be educated into how our world WORKS, not just how to use the tools. The better that we understand every aspect of our technology, the more able we are to function should someone attack it.
  • If (a) I had moderator access and (b) I wasn't already posting in this thread, I would have moderated it down.

    I don't know if I agree with the war. But messages that post "stop the war" don't add anything, and look like a troll --- they aren't arguments as to WHY we should stop the war, they aren't discussions, they're merely slogans shouted into the wind.
  • How about if someone from outside the US hacks a US website? That would be an act of war then.
  • So remind me, how much do we pay our teachers???

    Far too often you will see the government pondering how to improve governement education. And it amazes me that they always miss the simple connection that providing higher salaries to teachers would bring up the quality of teachers in the schools.

    Instead they throw around meaningless policies like teacher testing, student testing etc. Ugh.

    It pleases me that /. is approaching the question from the right angle.


    -Snoot
  • Posted by generic kewl tech reference:

    the same CIA that can't get a map of Belgrade less than five years old? The same CIA that was of negative worth in the Cold War?


    This should be interesting....
  • Looking on how the "stupid war" is going on, it seems to me that this "media-slip" of supposed secret information is just a form they found to say they will intensify their infowar against Serbia.

    And that's scary. We have seen what have happened since NATO started to talk about intensifying the bombing. First were a few people, then some civilian transports and buildings, then TV centers and embassies. And recently an unfortunate shot "at a human shield".

    Now let's think what will happen if CIA goes the same way. Internet has no borders. serbia-info.com is not located even near Serbia. beograd.com is a mix of mirrors everywhere. This is only what concerns web servers. There is a lot of other things around.

    Now imagine that CIA tries to "damage" Milosevic's financial channels and makes a full-shot on... Russia! It will be very interesting because it is probable that a significant group of the Russian Internet community will not ask the president to push any buttons or issue any orders.

    In general I think that many other groups even in America, will react very negatively to any "oops" in cyberwarfare. But in some countries any sideshot may turn things into a boiling pan.

    From CNN's article
    "If they pull it off, it will be great," the magazine quoted one government cyberwar expert as saying. "If they screw it up, they are going to be in a world of trouble."
  • Those statements achieve two goals:
    1. Pretending that US is "doing something about Kosovo" except bombing.
    2. Making software and us, computer geeks, look "dangerous".

    First one fixes at some extent the impression that CIA and Pentagon did a horrible job collecting military and political information about Serbia/Kosovo and planning current attack, second ones helps getting more money for buying "military" software (from minesweeper to Quake II), paying for "advanced" military projects (Yorktown), developing more advanced "military" intelligence (to steal commercial secrets), and pushing laws about encryption, reverse engineering, development of security tools, etc up to the death penalty for the use of traceroute and queso.

    Cool :-\

  • they are doing a good job so far with their trenches, hiding troops and weapons in churches, hospitals and with refugees while NATO is too scared to send in Apaches let alone ground troops.
  • Whether the CIA is actually yelling,
    "Smithers! Release the skript kiddies!" or
    not, the public threat of using crackbabies
    against Serbia could make all hackers legitimate military targets.

    McLuhan had a quote about this along the lines
    of "WWIII will be a geurilla information war
    with no differentiation between military and
    civilian participants." I'm not sure this
    is what he had in mind, but this could expose
    the civilian net.geek population to military
    action from domestic and foreign threats.
  • I'll try not to flame too much here, but you obviously do not have any experience with any teachers besides your (possible) education.

    My mother is an elementary school teacher. I know exactly how much vacation she gets. Ask yourself these questions:

    1: How many 10 hour days do you work a week?
    2: How many times have people threatened legal action against you because they did not understand the documentation on that last app you put out?
    3: How many times have you had to listed to people say "Why should we pay you more? You suck at your job!"

    My mother works 10 hour days by habit. Contrary to popular belief she does *not* have a 3 month party during summer. She is lucky if she gets enough time to actually manage a garden since she has to teach summer school to pay the bills.

    She drives a 10 year old car that is falling apart because the school district doesn't have enough money to give her a raise.

    I am paying my *own* way through college. I get very little help from her or the government. I loan *her* money. Sounds pretty reasonable in my view.

    She has to deal with parents/children who feel that students have a *right* to get A's, and if little Johnny does not, then it is her fault.

    She has to be a role model to all children, and in many cases a parent, since few parents seem to take an active part in their childrens' lives nowdays.

    And most of all, she has to deal with numskulls like you who feel that teaching is a cushy job just because you disliked the teachers you had.

    I would love to teach people what I know. But I refuse to because people like you seem to think that it is so simple that any idiot can do it. I have seen the hell teachers have to go through every day. I guarantee you, it is twice the stress of any tech job I have seen.

    Talk to a teacher once. Not a research-professor, aim for one of those insignificant lowly second grade teachers. Tell them what you just said. See if you can honestly say that you understood.

    Maybe you should try to understand before you talk next time.
  • Information is warfare these days. Its kinda scary

    This is scary? Getting bombed or shot is scary, having your computer hacked kind of pales in significance, don't you think?
  • ...or cut off "the head."

    And then what? Pray to all imaginable gods that new leader will be better? Try to establish diplomatic relationships with Yugoslavia after that? Explain such actions to NATO members and, worse, UN?

  • >So remind me, how much do we pay our teachers?

    Last I checked, most teachers get much more vacation than your average salaried technoworker would ever get to take. And actually, the pay generally isn't that unreasonable in many areas.
  • That's what I do - setting the threshold to -1 . Yet the whole idea of "moderation" is bugging me. I agree with you that this is the best moderation system around, yet best is not perfect.

    It's a little like the Web content rating. Making it optionnal and on a voluntary basis sounds a good idea at first : people who want to filter can filter, those who don't want don't. People who don't want to rate their pages don't have to either. Problem is : what if a governement (China/Iran/whatever) decides to filter it's big Web gateway using this system ? People who don't want to filter end up having filtered (= censored) content, and people who rated their page thinking they participated into an open/free filtering system end-up helping bad guys censor information "by force".

    My point is : the less easy it is to censor the Internet, the better it is. Keep this moderation away !!!
  • by cswiii ( 11061 ) on Monday May 24, 1999 @07:46AM (#1881710)
    Since its inception, arguably some of the 'best' (if such a term can be used), most devious, and damaging cracking has its origins under instable and/or repressive european regimes; Germany, Bulgaria come to mind. Repression has always, and will only promote cracking.

    This said, is the US prepared for possible repercussions from any 'cyber-warfare'?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Offense none my friend, but one of the primary reasons for the Second World War was the fact that the US wanted to keep out of international affairs. As a result, organizations such as the League of Nations had no real power. And from that weakness came the Facists. There is no way to stay above the rest of the world. And when push comes to shove, I want to see something DONE before there's another general war.

    Tarnar, TLTL (Too Lazy Too Login)

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