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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Significant criminal innovation: automation

Every once in a while, we need to consider cyber privateering with a greater sense of urgency, before the wheels come off the Internet completely. Consider the following "data exhaust" from recent news stories:

  1. A recent study of concludes that cyber attacks take place every two minutes. I can verify those numbers from my own "honey pot" Linux servers. The final paragraph of the article says it all: "The way hackers have leveraged automation is one of the most significant innovations in criminal history. You can't automate car theft, or purse stealing. But you can automate data theft. Automation will be the driver that makes cyber crime exceed physical crime in terms of financial impact."
  2. Our head cyber spook just threw in the towel. No reason given. No reason necessary, as we are truly losing this war.
  3. Hacker groups are taking on governments with more impunity. Latest casualty: Italy.
  4. The hackers themselves are basically anarchists who are as likely to turn on each other as on perceived external threats. To understand their mentality and devotion, you've got to go back to, well, me, in the 1960s.
  5. The SpyEye online looter of people's bank accounts is alive and getting smarter. So much for Microsoft's "best and brightest" having any lasting effect taking down this very sophisticated botnet.
To paraphrase Harold Hill in The Music Man, "We've got trouble, right here in cyber city…"

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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?