cyberwar threats

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The WSJ article about US planning a "Cyber Shield for Utilities, Companies" could either be sensible or Big-Brotherish, depending on its scope and implementation:

The federal government is launching an expansive program dubbed "Perfect Citizen" to detect cyber assaults on private companies and government agencies running such critical infrastructure as the electricity grid and nuclear-power plants, according to people familiar with the program. [...]

The U.S. government has for more than a decade claimed a national-security interest in privately owned critical infrastructure that, if attacked, could cause significant damage to the government or the economy. Initially, it established relationships with utility companies so it could, for instance, request that a power company seal a manhole that provides access to a key power line for a government agency.

With the growth in concern about cyber attacks, these relationships began to extend into the electronic arena, and the only U.S. agency equipped to manage electronic assessments of critical-infrastructure vulnerabilities is the NSA, government and industry officials said.

Bruce Schneier's CNN op-ed on cyberwar threats (also available here at his blog, with several updates) notes that "[c]learly we're not talking about real war here, but a rhetorical war: like the war on terror:"

We surely need to improve our cybersecurity. But words have meaning, and metaphors matter. There's a power struggle going on for control of our nation's cybersecurity strategy, and the NSA and DoD are winning. If we frame the debate in terms of war, if we accept the military's expansive cyberspace definition of "war," we feed our fears.

We reinforce the notion that we're helpless -- what person or organization can defend itself in a war? -- and others need to protect us. We invite the military to take over security, and to ignore the limits on power that often get jettisoned during wartime.

(See Raw Story for more information.)

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on July 9, 2010 10:26 PM.

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