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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Government no match for individual cyber warriors

Part of my justification for licensing and bonding cyber privateers is the assertion that tax dollars and big government programs are no match for individual initiatives. Today's New York Times story reports how about 500 hackers banded together to shut down Egyptian government Web sites. This wasn't a bunch of teenage "script monkeys" launching a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack for which they could be easily traced and prosecuted. These were real hackers using sophisticated tools in a targeted attack. No government will ever be a match for this. Not now. Not ever.

LARRY ELLISON'S DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A JET FIGHTER AND AN ASSAULT RIFLE:  Years ago, during one of our afternoon ad-creation meetings, Larry Ellison made a point about government-funded defense efforts and tactics.  I have since expanded that discussion to include the reality of cyber war and the futility of ever-increasing federal budgets to address cyber crime and, yes, even cyber war. But thanks to Larry for the analogy:
If you had a modern jet fighter, it might take you the better part of a year to learn to fly it, but you could kill everyone in your neighborhood in one pass. On the other hand, you could learn to use a machine gun in a few minutes, but it would take you the better part of a week to eliminate all your neighbors. Also, you would undertake the slaughter at great personal risk to yourself (Can you spell SWAT?). It takes the resources of a government to produce jet fighters and weapons of mass destruction, and that’s why those things easily fall under the realm of disarmament and the United Nations. But anybody with a machine shop can build an assault rifle, and no serious United Nations effort can or will ever be mounted to include such weapons in under the disarmament umbrella. Cyber warfare can’t possibly fall under the realm of the United Nations and disarmament—nor should it be trusted to a government-only solution—because single individuals with nothing but laptops and Internet connections can (and will) create and launch weapons of mass-cyber destruction.

My old friend, the late Frank Herbert (Dune), wrote many science fiction novels in which advanced technology became so generally available that any single, determined individual could destroy an entire city or even planet. In many ways, his vision is becoming a reality where cyber warfare is concerned. You can see why military science fiction has had such a big influence on my cyber privateer thinking, and why Pier's Anthony's Macroscope pointed the way to my Perfect Virus principle #7, Black Box Portability.

From another news story in today's Network world, the DoD has defined what they call an "Advanced Persistent Threat' to cyber security. In my opinion, this is just another bit of marketing justification for bigger budgets and more tax dollars to be spent "shoveling sand against the tides" of cyber reality.

Licensed and bonded cyber privateers are the only workable solution. If ANYONE has a better one, I'd sure like to hear it.

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Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?