Merchant of Death
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The Cybersecurity Debate
The Obama administration is about to unveil its cybersecurity review, and the turf battles are brewing. What is seldom mentioned in the debate is that this is perhaps one of the most important issues the Obama administration will face.

The cypersecurity issue is an important part of the broader counter-intelligence effort, an effort that was woefully inadequate in past administrations, and one that is costing our nation dearly. As noted in the article above, the Chinese have stolen every single advanced weapons system design we have made in recent years, through human intel operations and electronically.

As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, our entire electrical grid has been mapped for foreign powers. Not just for the fun of it, and not to steal vital state secrets that will benefit them right away.

Rather, it is an embedded program that could remain passive for years, but could be activated in a second if to disrupt the entire electrical supply should they feel the need to. It is not a targeted effort at some parts of the country, but rather an ambitious effort to map the entire grid. Talk about thinking big!

We are only beginning to understand how penetrated our systems are, and the need to push back are figure out what the other guys are doing, why, and how to disrupt it.

The Russians spend millions of dollars hacking into our national secrets, and the vast majority of the cyper security breaches in come from Russia. We are vulnerable enough that people in Asia and elsewhere hack our national secrets for fun rather than profit.

I am not a technofile, nor do I know needs to be in the technological world to fix these gaping vulnerabilities. What I do know is that there are plenty of smart people who do, and the longer we delay, the higher the cost.

Yet we muddle on. The FBI has wasted tens (hundreds??) of millions of dollars trying to create secure systems, without much success. Three or four years ago, while the Chinese were happily stealing our missile designs, the FBI's Washington Field Office was still using dial up modems and were largely unfamiliar with the use of Google. I know this through painful personal experience.

This technological imbalance, where some states attack others in the cyber world, is a form of asymetric warfare. The weaker force (militarily) uses the weapons it has (computers, viruses, etc.) to cripple the larger and stronger opponent.

This all sounds like science fiction, but one of the things the Obama team has brought with it is a broader understanding of how the new technological world works and how it is used.

The narrower debate on cypersecurity must be placed in the context of overall counterintelligence, and both must be strengthened and revamped considerably if we want any state secrets to be secret at all.
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