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[ NNSquad ] "When is a cyberattack an act of war?" + my comments

"When is a cyberattack an act of war?" + my comments
http://j.mp/SpL9vi  (This message on Google+)

 - - -

http://j.mp/SpLqOV  (Washington Post)

   "But what does an act of war look like in cyberspace?  And perhaps more
    important, what does the U.S. government do when cyberattacks fall
    short of that - assuming it can identify the perpetrators in the first

 - - -

I must comment regarding this new Washington Post piece.  As I've
noted before, I view much of the panicky cyberwar talk as being
largely the self-promoting propaganda of what I call the
cyberscare-industrial complex.  Big bucks to be made there.  And much
of the rest is jockeying for position among various government
agencies.  Also not to be discounted, the major degree to which
"cyberattacks" can be used as excuses to attack back at pretty much
whomever you wish -- since true sources may be difficult or impossible
to discover or demonstrate.

But this particular article demonstrates another class of fallacies
about "cyberwar" where it says, "If a major cyberattack happened - a
computer virus knocking out air traffic control, for instance, and
sending planes crashing to the ground ..."

That statement is pretty much nonsense -- because ATC systems already
crash -- a lot -- and we don't have planes "crashing to the ground" as
a result.  There are backup radar systems, backup radio systems, and
the main thing that happens is that everybody gets spaced farther
apart and operations slow way down.  And obviously, we need to make
sure that more advanced systems now coming online also provide
suitable manual backups.

But this is an example of the fallacy that it's straightforward to
knock out power, water, and other key infrastructures with viruses in
a manner that would be prolonged and not subject to manual overrides,
controls, and restarts.

And in the vast majority of cases such a supposition is not accurate,
though it plays into the fear scenarios that the big money and "big
control" boys of cyberwar desperately want to promulgate as widely as
possible.  They must do this to justify enormous expenditures and
(respectively) to establish more government control over privately
owned Internet systems.

This is not to say that cyberattacks and cybersecurity aren't real
issues.  They are.  They're very important, and we have a lot of work
to do toward properly securing all manner of systems.  But a great
deal of what we're being fed about "Cyber Pearl Harbors" and the like
is self-serving nonsense.

Lauren Weinstein (lauren@vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren 
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org/pfir-info
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org 
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com/privacy-info
 - Data Wisdom Explorers League: http://www.dwel.org
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Google+: http://vortex.com/g+lauren / Twitter: http://vortex.com/t-lauren 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com
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