DefDog: Cyberwar is the New Yellow Cake

DefDog

The same has been said about the War on Drugs, the War on Terrorism, et al…..and nothing seems to back up the dire rhetoric, but the spending of tax dollars rolls on just the same.

Wired Opinion: Cyberwar Is the New Yellowcake

By

WIRED, 14 February 2012

In last month’s State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to pass “legislation that will secure our country from the growing dangers of cyber threats.” The Hill was way ahead of him, with over 50 cybersecurity bills introduced this Congress. This week, both the House and Senate are moving on their versions of consolidated, comprehensive legislation.

The reason cybersecurity legislation is so pressing, proponents say, is that we face an immediate risk of national disaster.

“Today’s cyber criminals have the ability to interrupt life-sustaining services, cause catastrophic economic damage, or severely degrade the networks our defense and intelligence agencies rely on,” Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said at a hearing last week. “Congress needs to act on comprehensive cybersecurity legislation immediately.”

Yet evidence 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.

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Feb 14

Robert Steele: Intelligent Management of Intelligence Agencies, and the New Craft of Intelligence

Robert David STEELE Vivas

I have begun drafting my portion of the new Handbook of Intelligence Studies (Routledge, 2013), it is a chapter early on entitled “The Craft of Intelligence.”  I pick up where Allen Dulles and Sherman Kent left off.  My graphic on Intelligence Maturity captures the essence of my thinking at the strategic level, but of course there is more to come, including the desperate need to restore integrity to all that we do.

In 1988 I ghost-wrote for the Commandant of  the Marine Corps an article that he enhanced and signed, “Global Intelligence Challenges in the 1990’s.”  At that time my focus was on the difference between the conventional threat and the emerging unconventional threat.

Now my focus is on the purpose and process of intelligence as decision-support.  We must — we will — move from secret intelligence for the few to open intelligence for the many; from expensive centralized largely worthless intelligence to free and low-cost distributed intelligence relevant to every person at every level on every issue; from intelligence as window-dressing for channeling $80 billion a year to banks and corporations, to intelligence as an integral element of every aspect of a Smart Nation.

Today Owl sent me a link to an article, Philip E. Tetlock and Barabara A Mellers, “Intelligent Management of Intelligence Agencies,” American Psychologist, 2011, pp. 1-12.  I  respect Owl, so I printed it and read it twice.

This article is completely out of touch with reality and the authors have not bothered to familiarize themselves with the literatures pertinent to their endeavor.  Out of 89 cited sources 12 are non-intelligence-related prior publications of the lead author, 1 is a prior publication of the second author, and 11 are ostensibly about intelligence but truly marginal selections.  So 12% sources on the subject, 13% self-citation, and 75% escoteric psycho-babble irrelevant to the actual challenge.  As an intelligence professional, I am offended that two ostensibly erudite individuals would dare to publish this trype without even a semblance of understanding of the subject under discussion.

See Also:

Robert Steele: The Craft of Intelligence – OLD vs. NEW

Here are a few comments and additional links:

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Feb 10

John Robb: Four Sources of Trust, Crypto Not Scaling….

John Robb

Why The Global System is Killing Trust

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 03:35 PM PST

Trust is an essential building block of any economic and social system.  Systems that attempt to operate without it inevitably fail.  A loss of trust typically preceeds a collapse in legitimacy.

That’s our future.  Here’s why:

Let’s start with a philosopher “king” of crypt0-security, Bruce Schneier.  He has a new book out called Liars and Outliers: Eneabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive (Wiley, 2012).

The book is all about the mechanisms for building trust.  There are four mechanisms:

  • moral controls,
  • reputational pressure (shame),
  • institutional pressure (legal system), and
  • security controls (encryption, locks, etc.).

He contends (rightly) that in the modern world, we don’t typically make/have the personal relationships required to build moral and reputational trust.  We typically make impersonal relationships when we interact with a global economic system (you buy stuff made by people you don’t know).  As a result, we rely up on institutional (legal compliance) and security (to guard against bad behavior) to provide the level of trust necessary to make the global economy work.

There are two massive problems with that.

Legal compliance is increasingly a farce.  Take the mortgage settlement the US government and the financial industry reached over rampant fraud in mortgage lending.  I wrote a bit more about it on the Resilient Community blog if you want more detail.   What does this mean?  That even at the national level in a “developed country” it is impossible to use legal means to enforce trustworthiness (let’s not even talk about compliance at the global level).  It’s doesn’t work anymore.  It’s just too easy for anybody with financial means, to buy off country’s legal system for pennies on the dollar (to the damage caused).  The compliance system is broken.

So, that leaves us with security as the only way to prevent bad actors from running away with the global system.  This leads me to a great presentation I heard yesterday by Dan Geer.   He’s another philosopher “king” of crypto-security (but for the CIA).  Very smart guy.   He made a convincing case that security is scaling slower than data, bandwidth, node, and user growth.  It is falling behind and will continue to fall behind as the global system grows.

Upshot:  it’s already nearly impossible to secure big organizations. Every Fortune 500 company has and will continue to compromised. The government’s systems are already a sieve.  There’s almost nothing that can be done about it and it will get increasingly worse. Forget about securing a single person trying to connect to the global system.  They are just sheep ready for slaughter.

So, what happens now?

The global system will continue to grow.  Trust will continue to leak as attempts at compliance and security fail to work effectively.  The economic depression we have already started gets worse and worse and worse.  Disorder erupts.  It grows….

Is there a solution?  An alternative form of social order that can provide a scalable global solution?

Yes.  Resilient communities.  Resilient communities rescale your life down to a rational level.  They make personal relationships with the people that economically interact with you possible (again).

Hey, let the rest of the world sink into the squalor of a trust free world.   It will make that system easier to trounce in head to head competition for people.

See Also:

Robert David Steele, THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth, & Trust (Evolver Editions, 5 June 2012)

and

Robert Garigue at Phi Beta Iota

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Feb 10

Berto Jongman: Cyber-Space and the State Plus

Berto Jongman

Cyber Space and the State (Adelphi Papers Special Issue)

Cyber War Will Not Take Place (Journal of Strategic Studies)

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Feb 3