Anglo-American Cyberspace on War

Interesting though, after ‘accidentally losing’ thousands of accounts containing private data throughout the last year, the UK seems to be at least somehow interested in what’s going on on the Internet. Unfortunately, if you are reading something about a government noticing the Internets values it’s either caused by media companies’ pressure groups or by threats to national security. This time is not different. The UK announced its cyberwar squad called Cyber Security Operations Centre at at the GCHQ. Good thing about it: More work for unemployed hackers and teenagers studying informatics. About this, why not protect the ‘UFO hacker’? Seriously, he managed to hack into the Pentagon security system, is an English citizen and if the US governmet gets grip on him I doubt that they will put him into prison rather than make him working for the institution he hacked into. Why waste his potential?

Okay, news show that the US are one step ahead, they are not worrying about the their squad anymore but about something more useless but unavoidable in an intellectual and bureaucratic part of the world: the definition of cyberterrorism – something the cyberwar squad should fight. Now, and I excuse for that, it might get a bit unprecise but I can’t remember for sure who said that (I think it was Bruce Hoffmann) – he argued that the definition of terrorism is at least as blurred as the definition of the Internet. Great, now we have both terms and an even more useless term. In order to avoid confusion this article dedicated some paragraphs the right definition of ‘cyberterrorism’. Loving theoretical debates I quote the conclusion of this discussion:

‘Cyberterrorism refers to attacking computers, networks, and other electronic technological capabilities to either damage the cyberspace infrastructure itself or to damage some other target, motivated by terrorism. Cyberterrorism may grow depending on a cyberterrorist’s perceived benefits of using such tactics. One way it may manifest itself in the future is by applying cyberterrorism tactics to Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, creating the potential (or fear of the potential) for damage to the integrity of the critical infrastructures such as water supply, electrical grid, transportation systems, and financial systems. Such attacks could undermine a population’s faith in its government and in the security of the nation’s critical infrastructures

I can really recommend this article. It is one of the first time it seems that officials have realized that cyber attacks are not about some scary DoS attacks which aim to shut down servers containing governmental website. Oh my god I can’t do my tax return on time. What a mess. No, this time it is about the the physical systems which are attached and relying on the communications medium Internet and which could be damaged or shut down by cyber attacks. Seriously, who cares about the website of the DoD if he got hit by a car due to a hacked traffic signal system?

Another interesting point, the article states that ‘They will attack what we will have in the future. For example, as we evolve more toward virtual worlds, disc-less workstations […]’ and I personally think this is right. Now, let’s think about the discussion on RFID passports. We realize that we can defend against cyber attacks if we use more secures and sophisticated technologies which anticipate cyber attacks. Tell me about it. Anyone of you looked up this website? Hacking US RFID passports in less than ten seconds. Mhm, yeb I know RFID passports have been and are developed to help fight terrorism. I don’t think that works properly.

Good news at the end: The US has already realized the urgent use of cyber war squads, deployed them and used them in the past, from 1999 on. A new way of warfare? Not without the US! It would be foolish to think that the own country should only be defended in that way. Why not split the scarce resources in this field and use half of them to run offensive operations?

Harris tries to compare the use of cyber weapons to the use of the nuclear bomb several times. Don’t know why but I feel the comparison doesn’t work out very good. Anyway, this sentence is interesting: ‘
Because of the widespread damage that cyber-weapons can cause, military and intelligence leaders seek presidential authorization to use them”

Oh thanks god, I’m not worried anymore – I thought the military could use it without the permission of the president because it makes it better. Reminds me of the covert operations in South America, the US conducted. I guess, it didn’t help the people in these countries that the military and the covert ops where in need of the presidents permission.

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