Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stop Calling Electronic Espionage Cyberwar

from the because-it's-not dept

Cyberwar. Cyberwar never changes, mostly because it has never existed. Since the dawn of the new millenium, when the movie Hackers was still Congress's best approximation of the threat of compromised computers, thoughts have been spilled in the name of expunging this stupid hyperbole, this made-up threat with a trumped-up enemy. We're told the threats are everywhere, from an Iranian government that provides more laughs than danger, to a pirate wing of the Chinese military, to simple psychotic terror-hacking wings. Sadly, it is left to a pathetically small few media members to push back against the nonsense.
If stealing secrets is an act of war then America is currently at war with all of its allies. Espionage is what governments do so they don’t have to go to war...directly. What appears to be upsetting the Congressman is that the Chinese are using espionage to make money in a way that the United States didn’t think of first.
In the year 2013, after millenia of technological progress coupled with man's fear of it, the tidal wave of a complicit mainstream media could hold itself back no longer. As such, the world has been plunged into an abyss of cyber-nuclear threats, and bullshit.
The Times wasn’t content with using other peoples’ reports based on circumstantial evidence so it went out and got one of its own. The study by Mandiant has come under some fairly withering criticism.

-It doesn’t appear to say anything new. CEO Kevin Mandia: "Mandiant’s not the first company to blame China for the hacks, but it was our turn to carry the ball for a little bit." Translation = “We were working for the NYT and that’s some golden PR.”

-Did I mention it was based on circumstantial evidence? Jeffrey Carr does a superb job of explaining why Mandiant saw exactly what it expected to find and then offers several other equally valid possible perpetrators, including Russia, France and Israel.
But this threat has not, as some have predicted, caused the end of the world. Instead, the fake apocalypse was just the prologue to another crappy chapter of human history. For man had succeded destroying the fourth estate for the betterment of the cyber-defense industry.
Here is my boilerplate response on the security weakness of U.S. utilities in regards to cyber attacks: "Yes, there is a problem. It is not a crisis. To do any significant damage any such attack would most likely have to be associated with a physical attack." (The sky is not falling, Chicken Little, but I bet I could make a whole lot of money convincing you otherwise.)
Cyberwar. Cyberwar never changes, because it has never existed.

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