Friday, August 12, 2011

New cyber warfare equation

The U.K. Register headline reads: "Q: Why do defenders keep losing to smaller cyberwarriors?" In the article, San Francisco author Dan Goodin reports on a particularly inane reports on a "prominent security consultant" trying to debunk the new order of cyberwar battle. Goodin accurately reports on the consultant's talk, and then astutely (as would any reader of the quotes he uses) points out that the speaker "…seemed to digress into asides that undermined his premise." I agree. Defenders keep losing (and will keep losing) to smaller cyberwarriors. Which means the whole warfare equation has changed.

Whether you're playing the board game RISK or spend time online playing SOCOM on your PlayStation (or PSP), conventional warfare wisdom is that the attacking force must outnumber the defender by a 3-to-2 margin. Not so in cyberwar, where a pimple-faced/if-you-catch-me-you-must-charge-me-as-a-minor kid and his buddies can (to name just a few recent examples) deface the CIA, shut down a credit card operation, pwn a major news organization with fake stories, or release personal information on law enforcement officers. As I've said before, my old friend and science fiction author (the late) Frank Herbert perfectly predicted our day and the new order of (cyber)battle

It used to be common wisdom that one well-dressed man who didn't care about sacrificing his own life could kill the president. Today's reality and the corollary anticipated by Frank Herbert is:
One sufficiently intelligent minor can bring down The Man without much to fear in the way of consequences.
Given this new cyber warfare equation, I propose an axiom for the new order of (cyber)battle:
Licensed and bonded cyber privateers are the only salvation for our modern age.
Yes, there will always be that penniless anarchist, kindred spirit to the FTW motorcycle gang, who sets out to destroy things just because he can. Ditto for the emotional pygmy dictator who wants to take the world down with him. After all, North Korea really has nothing to lose. But the brainpower and technology unleashed by legalized cyber privateers armed with The Perfect Virus could not only mitigate against the above referenced freaks, but that brainpower and technology could bring all other cyber misconduct to a screeching halt.

Taman Shud.

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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?