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United States Government Security The Military IT

"Cyberwar" As a Carrot For Those Selling the Stick 115

Posted by timothy
from the always-been-at-war-with-elbonia dept.
New submitter sackbut writes with a story at Wired about the often-discussed concept of "cyberwarfare," and the worst-case scenarios that are sometimes presented as possible outcomes of concerted malicious hacking. According to Wired, which calls these scenarios "the new yellowcake," "[E]vidence to sustain such dire warnings is conspicuously absent. In many respects, rhetoric about cyber catastrophe resembles threat inflation we saw in the run-up to the Iraq War. And while Congress' passing of comprehensive cybersecurity legislation wouldn't lead to war, it could saddle us with an expensive and overreaching cyber-industrial complex." Writes sackbut: "Perhaps good for programmers, but not so good for rights."
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"Cyberwar" As a Carrot For Those Selling the Stick

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:17PM (#39034517)

    Does the phrase "Wartime President" or "Wartime Government" still have any meaning when you're never again NOT at war?

  • Don't you mean (Score:1, Insightful)

    by eternaldoctorwho (2563923) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:21PM (#39034545)

    "Cyberwar" As a Cyber-Carrot For Those Selling the Cyber-Stick

    FTFY

  • by forkfail (228161) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:22PM (#39034571)

    You should know that Eurasia is our friends, and that we've always been at war with Eastasia. Or do you need a reminder?

  • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:32PM (#39034669)
    Do civil rights have any value when they are suspended during wartime and we're always at war?
  • Y2K (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stevegee58 (1179505) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:33PM (#39034685) Journal
    Whip everyone into a frenzy about a scary, ethereal threat.
    Sell products that play into the new fears.
    Profit!
  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:35PM (#39034721)
    The problem is that right after you don't buy into the hype (and expensive products), some less-than-cluefull employee will give out his/her password over the phone, or download and run some malicious attachment.

    Please note that the expensive solution being sold won't work any better than your leopard amulet, but you might be able to keep your job if you bought the "Industry Leading Solution", because, hey, how could you have done better than that?
  • by plopez (54068) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:37PM (#39034745) Journal

    A waste of money. We have have no money for education, the elderly, the infirm, veterans, community development, R&D, or infrastructure. But we have plenty of money to sink into DHS, DoD, the secret police, the weapons industry, and the intelligence black hole.

  • by plopez (54068) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:41PM (#39034783) Journal

    Orwell tried to warn us. See also his work on the use of language and using it as an agent of control (Chomsky says basically the same thing).

  • Still waiting - (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darth Snowshoe (1434515) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:46PM (#39034847)

    I was expecting all the hordes of commenters from the recent NASA/Mars/fed. budget thread to also show up here, to again say "hurf durf, you guys, we just can't go on spending money we don't have!!!1! Don't you understand?!!?! Budgets!! Deficit!! Taxes!!! Entitlements!!!46% (or whatever)!!"

    What? Oh, this is Department of Defense? Oh, well, never mind then.

  • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @01:43PM (#39035563)

    The problem is that right after you don't buy into the hype (and expensive products), some less-than-cluefull employee will give out his/her password over the phone, or download and run some malicious attachment.

    That is not really the problem. The problem is that too many congress critters subscribe to the Legislator's Fallacy: "Something must be done. This is something. Therefore, we must do this." If not for that, the existence of dim witted federal staffers could be resolved by firing them (or not hiring them in the first place) rather than spending a trillion dollars a year fighting an imagined enemy.

    One of the things people have the hardest time accepting is that sometimes Bad Things Happen and the cost of preventing them exceeds the cost of allowing them to happen. In other cases the problem is a legitimate problem but the solution offered is totally irrational because the better solution requires goring the wrong constituency's ox, and with the rational solution taken off the table for political reasons, people are unhappy that the problem is not being solved and demand the outrageous and ineffective solution.

    Of course, in this case it isn't really any of those things: This is just garden variety corruption. If you want to divert a trillion tax dollars into your own pocket then you need to pretend you're providing something of value to the general public. Saving them from imaginary cyber attacks (or whatever) is as good an excuse as any -- and hey, if there are no cyber attacks, it must mean they're doing their job. And if there are cyber attacks, it must mean they need more tax money.

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