October 14th, 2012

Look on my work ye mighty and despair

Cyberwarfare is now becoming increasingly serious business:

In another illustration of how, given any sufficient length of time to develop any new technology, humans inevitably seek to develop its potential to harm others, especially other humans, cyberwarfare is becoming a topic not just for nerds but for US media as a whole. This all began with this:

[this is a spoiler link]

http://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/automated-toolkits-named-massive-ddos-attacks-against-us-banks-100212

A string of DDOS attacks on US banks, by as I understand it still undetermined leaders of these attacks. These things failed, but the scale and depth of the attacks took US leaders by surprise. The USA, however, does adhere to a policy that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and is carrying out these attacks, and noting this publicly (either hubris or simple stupidity, depending on which you prefer to believe) against Iran.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/obama-ordered-wave-of-cyberattacks-against-iran.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

So with these two incidents as a starting point, it's worth considering a new aspect of this. The USA is preparing, evidently, to inaugurate more sophisticated use of cyberwarfare, presumably on a much larger scale than is currently ongoing against Iran:

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2012/1012/Pentagon-s-Plan-X-how-it-could-change-cyberwarfare

However in doing this, the Pentagon seems to have all the security and understanding of security in military terms of a sieve, as this article shows. What it shows is that the USA evidently is incapable of developing computer viruses and the like for this purpose without its authorship of them becoming known. Which in warfare is a really stupid move, as the concept of attacking an enemy ready and waiting for you makes only two people happy: the enemy and the local mortician.

The Pentagon's even noted its major target is, without any real surprise, China:

http://news.yahoo.com/u-cyber-warrior-accuses-china-targeting-pentagon-011916520.html

As to why this matters? This is a post to a site that's regularly had instances of downtime from DDOS attacks motivated by the eb and flow of politics in Russia, so the reason this matters is obvious: cyber warfare is going from inconvenience in some countries to a full-scale aspect of Internet use. This, coupled with things like the new attempts to impose new bills like the ones that produced that hue and outcry a while back and further attempts to break Internet neutrality means that the Internet may be unrecognizable in a few years from what it was.

If I had my druthers, I'd like to see an international treaty de-militarize the Internet in the same sense that space is de-militarized (even though the use of military satellites technically renders that treaty null and void), and enforced strongly. The Internet, whatever it is really for (it starts with p, ends with in, and has four letters), should not become the latest battleground for armies, as I see it. What do you think?
3d

What does a president (need to) know about science?

In just a few weeks, the title Most Powerful Person on Earth may or may not change hands...

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/07/19/obama-romney-science-debate-why-it-matters/

Now this shall be interesting. A list of questions concerning scientific development and its application in the policies of a future president - it's not like these issues don't matter. I'm not sure in what form the Scientific American and these other organizations will be able to put these questions to the two candidates, and how the hell they're going to "inject more discussion about critical science issues into the US presidential election campaign" where neither side apparently intends to have them injected... but still, I wish them good luck with that.

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